Enemy Of The Sun
posted on 1/2008 By:
Enemy of the Sun first caught my eye with their choice of moniker; I’m a shameless Neurosis fanboy, and any act who associate themselves with the doom metal gods are bound to pique my interest. Most others probably discovered the band via an entirely different route. This band is led by Waldemar Sorychta, who handled guitar duties in the Dave Lombardo (Slayer) project Grip Inc. Further, the band features Jules Naveri (formerly of the excellent Misery Inc.) on vocals and Alla Fedynitch (of the formerly excellent Disillusion) on bass; only drummer Daniel Zeman doesn’t have history with a notable band. Anyway, this band has quite the pedigree, and their spot on The End Records’ roster led me to expect something interesting at the very least. Shadows is indeed a pretty distinctive disc, to Enemy of the Sun’s credit, but like most such supergroup-type acts, the band isn’t quite the sum of its parts…yet.
Shadows is all over the map stylistically. Though it’s definitely got a firm thrash metal base, the album is a riot of genre-bending tangents that range from industro-metal grooves to upstroked ska guitar work to ambiguously Eastern melody craft. Thankfully, Enemy of the Sun don’t fall into the Between the Buried and Me/Mr. Bungle “three genres per song every song” trap—each track relies fundamentally on metal guitar work and Mr. Naveri’s penchant for catchy choruses. That said, don’t think that this is a rehash of Naveri’s work in Misery Inc. vocally speaking. The man is clearly quite talented, with a full range of croons, barks, and screams at his disposal. He channels, by turns, Devin Townsend (effectively, on “Emptiness”), FNM-era Mike Patton (pretty effectively, on “Clearly Surreal” and “Liar”) and Serj Tankian (annoyingly, on “Carousel”) throughout the course of the album. Nor does Waldemar Sorychta confine himself to Grip Inc.’s (notice the theme yet?) thrash metal trappings as a songwriter. Though he busts out a couple of barnburner thrash riffs and solos (“Emptiness,” “Burning Bridges,” “Lost in Time,” “Liar”), he seems equally content to fall back on Fear Factory-style stop-start grooves and quirky clean chord progressions, with the occasional off-time chugga beatdown thrown in for good measure. Though his clean work veers dangerously close to sing-song and becomes irritating by the end of Shadows’ overblown hour running time, his bag of songwriting tricks helps to diversify an otherwise solidly verse-chorus collection of songs.
Enemy of the Sun may well be on to something here. Shadows is well-written, catchy, memorable, and sports a very respectable production courtesy of Mr. Sorychta himself. More importantly, it’s a distinctive listen among a sea of cookie-cutter metal albums. I’d expect little else from a The End release. That said, this is also far from a perfect album. Shadows suffers primarily from over-ambition: it’s sprawling in the too-long sense rather than the epic sense, and its arsenal of weird musical asides feels more than a bit gimmicky by its conclusion. Ultimately my guess is that Enemy of the Sun will iron out these problems in the future—this is a talented but newly-assembled band who are still trying to work out their unusual sound. Shadows is an intriguing but not quite essential listen that is loaded more with future promise than immediate satisfaction.
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