Back in early 2014 Elder Giants dropped like a bomb in the midst of the black metal scene. The German outfit had previously released a couple of splits (with Earth Chaos and Unru) as well as an EP and a demo, but their debut album found them on a whole different level. Their work managed to encompass different aspects of the black metal realm, as well as the tendency to slightly move outside of its boundaries.
The first instance where the black metal outlook rises to the surface is after the initial sample in “We Sleep,” immediately letting on a pessimistic quality. Even though the parts are fast and aggressive, the guitars do contain a certain amount of melancholy. The track slithers through this point of view, progressing and evolving through the blasts and digging deeper into despair with its lead work. The title track is also infected with this saddened essence, again in a blazing contrast with the faster and more aggressive parts, resulting in the band's ability to produce a great atmospheric cover for their black metal core.
But that does not limit them when it comes to taking on a more direct approach. “We Sleep” makes switches to parts that are more destructive in their approach, with bitter riffs filling the space. Then, there is also the cyclonic start of “The Absolute Is Becoming,” easily the most devastating moment of the album in terms of its aggression, with the blasts and riffology revealing the absence of any remorse. The parts are just so punishing and relentless, while the vocals leave scars with their edge. The track undergoes a couple of changes, moving into an imposing form at moments, while there are even instances of chaotic outbreaks with the dissonance at a high. That approach reaches its pinnacle with “Elder Giants,” especially the start of the track with an all-devouring form, the guitars becoming monstrous, building expansive soundscapes and making everything else appear belittled in their presence.
Still, there are tendencies towards a more straightforward groove domain. Sun Worship do not constrain themselves in the black metal realm. There are moments in the album where the pace will take a drop, resulting in moments of heavier groove. The manner in which the guitars in the opening track first appear is an example of that mentality, while the initial mid-tempo drop in “We Sleep” does let on a completely different aspect of the band, with a more solid groove, becoming easily one of the more catchy moments of Elder Giants. And then both the ending of “The Absolute Is Becoming” and the first part of the title track have something of a doom-enhanced black metal vision.
That does not mean that they leave the old-school black metal ways behind. The addition of the ghostly, eerie spirit of the early '90s is dominant in the music of Sun Worship. The lead work in “The Absolute Is Becoming” and the dissonant edge in the leads of “Elder Giants” reveal that tendency of the band. As a result they are able to construct a really cool ambiance for their music, aided as well by a couple of other twists. The samples at the start of “We Sleep” aids in the construction of a bleak scenery, while the big sounding drums in the desolate intro of the title track alongside the feedback, build a towering manifestation. And then there is also the closing track of the album, “Transneptunian (Infinite Gaze)” seeing the band applying noise and introducing synths, creating a rich sonic texture and building an intriguing ambiance in the process.
The debut album of Sun Worship is a big statement. The band might be walking down on a black metal path, but certain extensions of their sound make the final product that much more interesting. It will be very interesting to see what their next steps are going to bring.
7.9 / 10
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