Across the Sun: Before the Night Takes Us

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Across the Sun: Before the Night Takes Us
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Across the Sun: Before the Night Takes Us
Melodic Death Metal, Progressive Metalcore
Metal Blade Records
March 15th, 2011
Release length: 40:15
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Formed back in 2004, the Portland, Oregon based act Across the Sun has slowly built themselves from the underground up. With three EP releases under their belt, the group has signed to Metal Blade Records to issue their debut full-length release, Before the Night Takes Us. Set to impress with their Melodic Death Metal meets Space Rock approach, does Across the Sun pull it off with this release?

Well, Before the Night Takes Us is definitely a unique experience, there’s no doubt about that. The band has a nice mixture of Melodic Death and Metalcore influences backing them up to create a really strong sound. The music isn’t necessarily punishing or even that heavy, coming off with a lighter atmosphere, but still has a nice amount of distortion on the guitars and fast paced drumming to give it a nice edge. Inspiration from Space Rock acts appear through the keyboards on the first two tracks, then never again, as well as some of the bridges that appear in the songs, such as during “Song for the Hopeless”. Aside that, there’s some pretty strong influences apparent in the band’s performance from many of today’s leaders in the Metalcore sound, especially that of Killswitch Engage, and even some Five Finger Death Punch in some tracks, such as the opening song “Tipping the Scales”, just more along the lines of the sound and attitude, and not necessarily the Groove vibe of that band’s music.

One of the more surprising features of this recording is the clean vocal performance. At first, the sun chorus of “Tripping the Scales” may put the listener off, simply due to the contrast between the traditional vocal performance, and the pitch of the clean singing, and the fact that it doesn’t feel as rich as it could or should be. However, the performance is quite jaw dropping indeed, especially as the songs continue along. “Seasons” is the perfect example due to much of the song being performed with very energetic and well ranged vocals that have plenty of emotion behind them. The lack of richness often doesn’t really become a factor, especially with this song, and while the rhaspier vocals that adorn the heavier tracks and sections of the songs, the gutteral vocals present on here and actually quite deep and as equally shocking as the background high pitched screams the appear in varying other songs.

The only real downfall to the album is that it goes all over the board. While it does help keep the album sounding fresh and far from repetitive, it’s a little annoying to start the album with some Space Rock vibes, and then later in the album have a track that sounds like Five Finger Death Punch on a Symphonic Power Metal kick. The change feels gradual, but the title track “Before the Night Takes Us” just hammers it in bluntly with the rest of the material on the song, which stems as more of a Melodic Death Metal track when that Symphonic Power Metal presence is not shown or felt. “A Moment of Clarity” once again finds the music shifting, going back to the sound of “Seasons”, but also has an odd bridge that takes on more of a Symphonic Power Metal feel, but in a Classical approach, being much slower and lighter, utilizing the keyboards like violins near the end.

It’s hard to really sit down and compose a review about this release due to how often it changes. One minute you have a strong Melodic Death Metal and Metalcore track, the next you’re branching out to Space Rock, Progressive Metal, some Symphonic Power Metal influences, traditional and classical, or even ballads, which happens to be the case for “In the Face of Adversity”. Before the Nigth Takes Us is an album that is just all over the place, and it winds up being one of the downfalls to the recording because you can never really get a sense of what the band is about. However, one of the biggest pluses, as stated, winds up being the vocals, but even these lead to a complaint towards the release, as pointed out earlier with the clean vocals not feeling as rich as they should be. None of these issues really hurt the album to the point where it’s bad, or unlistenable, it just shows that the band still has some room to grow yet.

And given the performance showcased on Before the Night Takes Us, it’s clear that Across the Sun really has the talent to become a rather unique force in the Metal world. The sound here varies greatly, and shows a wide array of ideas and influences from the group, almost like a test for themselves to find the band’s more accepted musical blueprint. If you’re looking for something unique, then this debut offering from Across the Sun will be enough to satisfy that urge for a promising release that just doesn’t sound like everything else flooding the market, and is well worth taking notice of.

01. Tipping the Scales – 3:19
02. Song for the Hopeless – 4:45
03. Seasons – 4;54
04. Descent & Discovery – 4:02
05. Ghost of Grandeur – 4:03
06. Before the Night Takes Us – 3:41
07. A Moment of Clarity – 3:19
08. Blessing in Disguise – 4:08
09. In the Face of Adversity – 4:19
10. Belay My Judgement – 3:45
Overall Score: 8.5/10


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