As twenty twenty draws to a close, its easy to look back on a ridiculous year, and wish it good riddance without hardly thinking of taking anything from it, beyond some great music, and not a lot else. Well, we aren’t quite done yet as in the blink of an eye, a real beauty of an album has been released, relatively undetected, right under the radar, and it’s an absolute belter.
A perfect amalgamation of doom/metal icons Black Sabbath, and modern-day legends Corrosion Of Conformity, ladies, gentlemen, cats, and dogs, I give you Sun Of Grey.
Heading out of Colorado in the United States of America, this stoner doom three piece, are nothing short of the perfect antidote to the winter blues. Infusing elements of two incredible bands, in to one, it is an infectious pot of mind melding riffs, driving drums, rumbling bass, and well delivered vocals, which will definitely set them above a lot of other stoner bands currently doing the rounds.
Outerworld is the debut full length long player for the band, and even if it is only six tracks, it’s still over forty minutes of stoner doom goodness, plenty of time to fall in love with Sun Of Grey.
Throughout the six tracks, there are different elements which still break up the mood, track one, Dark Souls, has elements of space age doom, whereas Outerworld, track four, has me drawing comparison with Faith No More, as its intro has a monologue, which Mike Patton himself would be proud of. As refreshing as a rainstorm on a hot summer’s day, Outerworld really takes a tried and tested formula, and adds a new dimension.
The aforementioned album opener, Dark Souls, takes that doom formula, and interlaces a space age feel, by slamming in some Rick Wakeman style prog synth, and as much as it shouldn’t work, it does. It’s as creepy as it is spooky, while maintaining its stoner sensibilities, and makes for an old school head bangers wet dream.
By complete contrast, the following track, Jar Of Leeches, is heavy and abrasive, and is the perfect contrast to its predecessor. At times it is reminiscent of Mastodon, or even Red Fang, and it has riffage by the bucket load. As track three, Lucifer Smiled, rolls in, I’m captivated. The layers are unexpected and unique. Like a slowed down Soundgarden, its hazy, drudgy, and infectious. There are also those COC tones in the mix, especially on that insane Pepper Keenan swagger vocal. I absolutely adore this track, its filthy, dark, and hypnotic.
It’s as creepy as it is spooky, while maintaining its stoner sensibilities, and makes for an old school head bangers wet dream…
Title track Outerworld opens with that Mike Patton/Faith No Morefeel. Faith No More seemed to corner that whole ‘talking over music’ thing back in the Angel Dust days, but this feels more like the present incarnation, the Sol Invictus years, I guess. That being said, as it progresses, the feel is more Black Sabbath, and I search my mental catalogue to pinpoint what its reminding me of. It takes a moment, but it’s there, Children Of The Grave and a touch of Electric Funeral. It’s so Sabbath it hurts. Bass driven, heavy riffs, and pounding drums. It’s a simple formula, but so, so, effective.
Track five, Silent Screams has me drawing the same comparisons, it’s that Sabbath vibe again, and that’s no bad thing, let me tell you that.The twist this time is that Corrosion of Conformity element in the mix, it makes the whole affair fresher, and I think its that whole COC vibe that makes that happen. As the album concludes with Disease, the tone drops, and a darker, more doom vibe creeps its way in. With its ethereal synth, and distorted guitars, yet another layer comes in to play.
What I come away with is this…
There are so many bands that aim for this standard and feel that fall short. This is everything that Black Sabbath paved the way with, It’s dark and foreboding, and yet dangerously devilish at the same time. It hits all the right spots, at the right time, and for me, it’s an absolute winner.
As a final thought, I would like to add this. Ninety percent of bands find a sound that works for them, and then beat that path track after track, and album after album. The beauty of Sun Of Grey, is that no two tracks are replicated. It’s all Sun Of Grey, but it isn’t so samey that it gets boring.This album is a real gem, and if you’re all about Black Sabbath and COC, this is the one for you.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish