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Across the Sun - "Before The Night Takes Us" (CD)

Across the Sun - "Before The Night Takes Us" CD cover image

"Before The Night Takes Us" track listing:

1. Tipping the Scales (3:19)
2. Song for the Hopeless (4:45)
3. Seasons (4:54)
4. Descent & Discovery (4:02)
5. Ghost of Grandeur (4:03)
6. Before the Night Takes Us (3:41)
7. A Moment of Clarity (3:19)
8. Blessing in Disguise (4:08)
9. In the Face of Adversity (4:19)
10. Belay My Judgement (3:45)

Reviewed by on March 14, 2011

"A little ‘core (metal and death), plenty of tech-death, thrash, darkly blackened bits, touches of post-metal and prog just for spice, and we’ve got quite the metal soup."

In the past few years we have seen many sub-genre trends and revivals and whatnot get huge and then get old. The Black Revival got busted. Thrash was trashed. ‘Core was crushed. Death was dumped. But something odd has been happening recently – bands (like Between and Buried and Me and Protest the Hero) have been taking all those second-time-tired subs and combining them together into something new. A little ‘core (metal and death), plenty of tech-death, thrash, darkly blackened bits, touches of post-metal and prog just for spice, and we’ve got quite the metal soup. Every band playing post-tech-death-prog-core has a unique recipe of how much of each ingredient to include, and Across the Sun is no different on “Before the Night Takes Us,” concocting its own intoxicating mix and serving it to listeners hungry for something new.

Between the Buried and Me swings proggy while Protest the Hero skews deathcore, and Across the Sun sits somewhere in the middle. The band has three main modes: 1) ‘core that ranges from thrashy to death, 2) progressive that ranges from extreme Dream Theater style technicality to soothing Opeth-like interludes and soundscapes, and 3) mixing those things together.

“Seasons” is mostly progressive, with Shane Murray’s keys riding underneath alternating quiet guitar and bass noodles accompanied by clean vocals, and chunky death riffs with slit-throat gurgles popping up from time to time. “Descent & Discovery” is based on metalcore with a nu-thrash riff in the driver’s seat, but Murray’s keys don’t let it get too far afield; eventually, though, Sam Hafer’s guitar leads the band to a technical progressive run that is both impressive and inspiring.

The different modes and styles compete for airtime, but that competition is a healthy one - it never lets anything get too old and the different combinations are fun. Toward the end of “Song for the Hopeless” Brandon Davis croons “If the heart is open” over and over as the band shuffles along with easy power chords, but it comes as a surprise because previously Davis was ripping open some fierce hardcore shouting while the band was doing its best Petrucci-Rudess impersonation. Or how about that great trad-metal groove at the beginning of “Seasons”? It only last for 28 seconds, but it cruises like a Maserati and its glistening sheen haunts my dreams. And let’s not forget the beastly breakdown in “Ghost of Grandeur” that has Murray’s keys gliding over top like a fine red wine reduction carefully poured onto a steaming pile of glass shards and barbed wire.

Getting ten tracks up and down in 40 minutes is an impressive feat, particularly when there is so much material packed into each chunk. No song runs over five minutes –Across the Sun’s songwriting certainly is focused - and yet each cut has enough twists and surprises to seem like a ten minute epic.

Across the Sun was founded back in 2004 and released three EPs, but this is the band’s first long-player and it shows, as seven years is a long time to harvest and hone fresh ideas, clear and succinct songwriting, tight playing and the like. There is no reason post-tech-death-prog-core can’t be the new “it” subgenre, with Across the Sun as the head chef. Consider “Before the Night Takes Us” the first triumphant course of a meal we’ll hopefully be dining on for a long time to come.

Highs: The title track is a great combination of big keys, driving riffs, and brutal metal.

Lows: The production is a tad too clean.

Bottom line: Combination of ‘core/thrash/death/tech/prog/post works really well.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)