40 Watt Sun: The Inside Room

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40 Watt Sun: The Inside Room
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40 Watt Sun: The Inside Room
Doom Metal
Cyclone Empire, Metal Blade Records
July 19th, 2011
Release length: 47:35
Website
40 Watt Sun is a relatively new band in the Doom Metal scene, and with the style really picking up steam as of late, hearing of any new bands or signings becomes more of a worrisome thing. There’s plenty of new bands and albums coming out for this style of music, and the shocking thing is most are really good, leaving the bar pretty high for any new acts to come and raise it one notch further. However, this UK based Doom Metal group may have done just that with a highly surprising debut effort. The Inside Room marks the first recording from the band, and is issued through Cyclone Empire, a label that has really been picking up steam lately with newer acts and impressive material. So, what makes 40 Watt Sun an act that is storming into the style to challenge the many others that already exist with their brand of Doom?

The Inside Room is only five tracks, but the whole effort clocks in around forty seven and a half minutes. This is going to be the amount of time you’ll be in absolute awe of this recording. First of all, the production quality on this release is perfect. The release is rather clear, but the music and vocals are at just the right levels to give the recording a very intimate atmosphere, as if the band were playing these songs live right in front of you in a hole-in-the-wall small venue or even a cafe. The guitars have a nice distortion, and don’t quite come in too deep or too high a pitch, ultimately coming off between those two levels to work well with that dimly lit atmosphere the recording gives off. The bass is present and while it can play along with the guitar, it can sometimes go slower in the background and offer a deeper, more depressing atmosphere when necessary, which is enhanced by the drums that carry that passion in their performance while working with the guitar’s pace. The vocals, however, are what really tie everything together. The more Rock style approach similar to Pearl Jam or even Lynyrd Skynyrd approach with real passion and devotion in them just completes the overall atmosphere of the tracks.

Right away you realize there is something special about 40 Watt Sun with the opening track, “Restless”. Anyone who has heard a decent amount of today’s Alternative or Modern Rock bands will immediately pick up on this recording and sense some similarities between this band and the more ballad songs of that style, and even classic Rock acts. However, this is what it really should sound like instead of generic rehashed material from the likes of Nickelback. The song’s intimate atmosphere and passionate music really creates a depressing sound that can bring a tear to the listener’s eyes with it’s sorrow filled music and vocal performance. “Restless” will have the listener hanging on every note and word from the start of this song until the very end of this ten minute forty six second track, and immediately leave you wondering why it is this type of material isn’t infecting the local radio airwaves with it’s soft, depressing, and passionate material. “Open My Eyes” actually starts off in a manner that slightly contrasts from “Restless” thanks t a stronger performance from the bass making the material sound heavier then it is, but as it progesses past those introductory riffs the song takes off in a similar sorrow filled path, but has enough of a unique sound to the slower material that it does have a unique sound to it.

The only real issue with this recording does lie within that passionate vocal style. During “Open My Eyes”, you will notice some off-key singing and even a crack of the vocals. You won’t really pick up on it all that much with this song, but during Between Times” it can become pretty obvious. Eventually it starts to work out for the song, but this performance just does not seem as strong as the others. Even the audio sounds a little different, coming off a bit lighter then “Restless” and “Open My Eyes”. This is also where that really passionate atmosphere starts to die, though the performance itself doesn’t really change any tactics and does remain fluid. But, this doesn’t mean that “Between Times” or any of the following tracks are bad. “This Alone” makes for a stronger emotional track as well, being slower then the others to give off a very gloomy and far more depressing sound. The vocals on this track, however, feel a little more energetic and ranged then other tracks, coming off more as what “Between Times” should have been. It works well here either way, and again has that atmosphere like “Restless” has, though not as strong, but still can bring an emotional state over the listener that once again has the potential to bring a tear to his or her eye. This track, however, does end in the most abrupt manner, clearly setting up to climax with a long ringing out of a guitar note, allowing it to just fade, or perhaps hold the note for a bit then transition out somehow. Instead, the song is just cut off, as if someone just hit the stop button before it was done, and that doesn’t sit well with the atmosphere and the many strengths this album has.

The Inside Room is a great album that will leave the listener in awe a good majority of the time. While “Between Times” and “Carry Me Home” don’t have as strong an atmosphere as you would expect them to have, the songs are still well done and retain enough of a passionate feel to their sluggish pace to leave the listener feeling burdened through the depressing music that just feels simply burdening. 40 Watt Sun put together a simpler album in the Doom Metal vein that any fan of the style will eat up, and even if you don’t enjoy it that much, it’s well worth a listen to check out the talent that is brought onto this recording. It has it’s faults, such as some off-key singing, music that isn’t as passionate as the album started with, and even a closing that is so abrupt it will anger you, but overall it’s a mindblowing experience that plays on your emotions and will have you coming back for.

01. Restless – 10:46
02. Open My Eyes – 10:44
03. Between Times – 6:55
04. Carry Me Home – 9:39
05. This Alone – 9:31
Overall Score: 9/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Cyclone Empire via Metal Blade Records.