Glowsun: Eternal Season

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Glowsun: Eternal Season
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Glowsun: Eternal Season
Stoner Metal, Stoner Rock
Napalm Records
October 9th, 2012
Release length: 54:59
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Formed back in 1997, Glowsun is a French Stoner Metal/Rock group that didn’t really start becoming active until ten years into their existence. Their first demo, Lost Love, was released back in 2006, followed by their full-length debut in 2008 titled The Sundering. In 2011, a split release with Electric Moon named Sun and Moon was issued, bridging the silence between their debut and their second album, Eternal Season. Given the smaller labels the group has worked under up to this point, it’s no wonder very few have heard of them, their next move destined to fall into obscurity once more. However, this new effort finds them signed to Napalm Records, bestowing plenty of additional exposure around the world. But, does Glowsun present an album that will make the newly exposed listeners take notice, or is this an effort that many will pass up on?

Eternal Season has a decent crisp audio quality to it that works to keep much of the material heavy, but best suiting the ritualistic and tribal performances a lot better. The guitars have a cleaner distortion to them that often feels more akin to a Progressive Metal offering when the group focuses on a Rock scenario, but when bringing in a stronger Metal attitude, the riffs do become a little heavier overall. The bass is pretty loud and dominant in the mix as well, though not at the deepest of levels you would hope, nearly matching the lowest tuned guitars in some areas. The cymbals do come through the loudest of all, each bit filling the music nicely without any hint of washout, while the snares have a slight echo to a mixture of tighter snaps and thuds, and a click to the bass kick that doesn’t really offer much bite but is suiting to the various styles incorporated. Vocally, things are handled with a clean singing approach that is common to the style, and these basically become more of a pointless aspect given the simple lyrics, and the number of instrumentals on the release.

This becomes obvious right away with the instrumental “Death’s Face.” The bass shines through nicely after the first minute of layered voices that seem to talk backwards, ushering in a slower performance against atmospheric drums that gradually teases the never to come moment of impact with a creepy atmosphere you might expect in a stylish blockbuster Thriller’s opening score. The music continues to grow, creating a catchy environment that you can not only bang your head along to, but a heavy atmosphere to close your eyes and get lost in, even transported out of a dark and gloomy world into a much more upbeat and even fantastical setting later on, taking you by the hand to travel vast landscapes. “Lost Soul,” however, is a little more depressing to start with, introducing some psychadelic distortions to the liquid-like riffs, but eventually becoming a heavily distorted mid-tempo instrumental with a highly infectious beat. The earlier leads seem to act as the chorus, but the tone they carried is lost. This is fine given how tight the performance is, giving it a highly enjoyable end product that may hit hard, but still has a laid back quality to it that you can just unwind with, even at the end with the heavier tribal-esque guitars that usher in a shift to the music, as well as a fantastic solo.

“The Thing” is another song that is well worth your attention. Once you get past the slower introduction, which seems to be a common bond to many of these songs, the music gradually picks up to an intensity that never really lets up. It’s an infectious song with some additional simple vocal work that is lost in the background. This is no surprise given the louder and more aggressive nature later on. But, before all that, it shows off the group’s early Stoner Rock influences well. The main verses have a little more complexity to them despite the open gaps that follow, but the chorus is a little more on the Metal side, finding a solid drum performance against guitars that weave a crushing tone with a very infectious, yet accessable sound that will immediately hook the listener. Much of this can also be found on “Sleepwalker,” easily one of the best offerings the album has to give. The music takes on a tribal rhythm through much of the performance, and there’s some additional twanging distortion effects in some areas, such as the matching slower paced guitar solo. While the instruments throughout are impressive, it’s the rhythm of the drums that really works to grab hold of the listener and not let go. Near the five minute mark, there is a bit of an upbeat groove introduced against various feedbacks and random riffs that offer a euphoric shift in music that suits the atmosphere thanks to the nice transition in.

But, Of all the songs, “Dragon Witch” ends up a letdown. There’s a bit of a fantastical vibe and slower growth. The pace dies down around the two minute mark to a dismal, almost crushing performance, but picks back up into more of a traditional Stoner Metal mid-tempo performance that concentrates largely on the drums and a louder bass presence. The vocals are kept in the background, which works for the simple lyrics, while many of the bridges manage to pick up additional tension to the hard-hitting performance. This actually isquite enjoyable, but the ending just seems to come out of nowhere qand make you groan aloud. There’s no closure being offered, and seems like a punchout ending to something that still has plenty of untouched potential. There’s plenty of other complaints to be had outside this one song as well, such as the constant use of long, and equally as slow introductions to nearly every song. While they suit the tone of the release, it just seems patterned after a while, and in many cases it’s as if the only purpose is to extend the life of a track that might boil down to maybe four minutes without it, or even mask mild to bland performances. There simply are not a lot of songs that stick out for the better, but end up like typical Stoner Rock or Metal tracks that don’t really bring anything new to the table.

Eternal Season is in no way a game changer, nor does it really do anything unique to grab the listener’s interest for long periods of time. Unfortunately, the introductions seem to weave a pattern throughout the release, some songs seem padded out, or generally just aren’t all that great in the first place. Yes, the audio quality sounds great in the tribal or ritualistic areas, but even that can be a bother, jumping from cleaner to heavier, and all around not being that impressive in the first place. But, when the band manage to write a good song, it’s definitely a memorable one. It’s just sad that not many of them exist in the eight that make up the album, being largely limited to “Death’s Face,” “Lost Soul,” “Sleepwalker” making the most memorable an impact. In the long run, it’s just not enough to really salvage this effort, or even make it one worth tracking down outside of sampling to grab the better songs off your favorite MP3 on-line retailer. Even if you’re a fan of the style, Glowsun‘s second album, Eternal Season, is something you’ll spin a few times, and then find it collecting dust on the shelves.

01. Death’s Face – 7:03
02. Dragon Witch – 6:42
03. Lost Soul – 4:42
04. Reverse – 4:37
05. The Thing – 5:56
06. From the Sky – 8:15
07. Sleepwaker – 8:40
08. Monkey Time – 6:04
09. No ! – 3:00

Overall Score: 4/10
Glowsun (band)
Glowsun
Digital review copy of this release provided by Napalm Records.