Another totemic release in a year crowded by exceptional post-metal albums, Glare Of The Sun stand out from the crowd thanks to intuitive songwriting that keeps the listener engaged in their often brutal but brilliant music.
Occasionally I wonder what it must be like to be my friend sometimes, because all I really talk about is blockchain and atmospheric post-metal. That being said, if they were to hear the multitude of exceptional records that pass through my ear canals they would probably understand my love for the latter, especially if they were to hear the latest Glare Of The Sun record. It is absolutely ferocious at times, whilst taking you on an introspective trip at others. Often those two extremes collide, and the band bring them together with a calculated vision into something smack in between Deftones, Mastodon, and Yob.
Theia is the band’s second release, with their debut Soil released in 2017, and it’s a marked improvement on the first, predominantly on the production front. The tones of the instruments are much more present, and the orchestral layer that persists throughout Theia helps to add an extra element to the sound. It creates a more theatrical and dark, gothic layer to the songs that really amplifies the feeling the band have set out to create, as evident in the album art.
Music reviewers worldwide rejoice when getting albums like this too, as the band helpfully listed all tracks in roman numerals. Orchestral intro track “I” leads into a colossal opening to “II”, a track that always sticks with me after each playthrough, despite being followed by nearly an hour’s worth of metal. You’ll immediately pick up on the Deftones vibe I mentioned once the metal fades to a thick atmosphere, with whispy vocals teeing up the next round of brutal assault from the guitars and drums.
“III” is the kind of track that I’m sure a few of our readers must know. It’s the kind that is so earth-crushingly heavy it makes you feel intoxicated. I could even go as far as to say that it’s the kind of track that I’ve heard at festivals numerous times, the one which reminds you of how many beers you’ve had by 4pm, and that you should probably slow down if you want to see the headliners – it is that heavy.
The band take a turn towards a more epic sound in “IV”, channelling Pallbearer into grandiose choruses and riffs, showcasing much more of what the band can offer. They move fluently throughout different veins of the genre, effortlessly pulling in elements of post-rock and various forms of metal, especially in the vocals. Sometimes the raspy, whispered vocals sound more hardcore, other times very decidedly black metal.
Tracks flow smoothly from one to another, helping in wrapping you in an immersive blanket. Oftentimes you don’t even notice the difference, thanks to the songwriting and effects being so smooth. Sometimes you’ll hear birds chirping; on other occasions it’ll just be some nice distortion from the instruments. This style really helps to keep your attention – Theia is a long record, after all. It did take me a while to listen to it in one hit; however, that is not to say you won’t have an easier time of it.
“IX” is another of my favourite tracks, presenting a really experimental and, in a way, folky climb-down from the heavy metal in the middle. This album has a strange way of transporting you to a medieval-sounding headspace – you feel it would have a certain gravitas whilst playing a hack’n’slash game. The extra synths and strings used really do help achieve that atmosphere, something which was sorely missing from Soil. Glare Of The Sun employ them really well on the album, and it makes it easier to differentiate between tracks sometimes, because they often fade out in huge blazes of glory.
I could not recommend picking up Theia when it releases on June 21 more, to supplement what I hope is already a burgeoning collection of post-metal albums from this year. I’ll be keeping my eyes out for Glare Of The Sun tour dates in the UK, but I will certainly be remembering not to get too drunk before their set, lest I get blown away and knocked unconscious by their outrageous metal.