At the turn of the millennium black metal has entered a new modern phase leaving the legacy of the phenomenon era of the nineties behind. Despite the major shift in sound and the steady process of evolution, the core principles of the second wave of black metal were reformed. As a consequence of these evolutionary epoch bands like Deathspell Omega, Mgla, Blut Aus Nord, Svartidaudi and etc, defined their aesthetics by presenting atmospherics as a characteristic element instead of focusing on synth. However, the modern era of the third wave of black metal, which established in countries like France and Iceland, evoked the unorthodox and modernistic direction to this sub-genre. With a wider range of hypnotic melodies, musical patterns, as well as the innovative aspect, continues to reshape the complete sound of black metal. Hailing from Aarhus, Midtjylland Denmark, Sunken is a unique black metal caliber of higher quality. Through the sophomore album “Livslede”, the quintet wonderfully focuses on the beautiful tremolo-picked riffs and multifaceted elements which elevates their craft to magnificent sonic splendor.
The album begins with a calm and relaxing moment of the piano intro “Forlist”. Sunken emphasizes the emotional and the cinematic soundscapes that soon become ravaged by the surging force of the blistering tremolo lines. The commencing chapter moves like one piece to another remarkable melodic song, “Ensomhed”, which holds fast to the rawness and the harshness of their sound. In the length of forty-three minutes, the Danish outfit showcases innovation in creating ever-changing patterns of dark and icy landscapes. While taking a deep perspective listening to the album, the melodies tend to be graced in constant rotation. The swirling music begins to transition to transcendental bliss. At the same time the atmosphere is being filled with sublime sentiments where the rhythm guitars embed layers of hypnotic melodies to broaden the scale.
Like the grey and shady colors of cold winter, the music swirls in a melancholic mood and provides a gloomy portrait of the lost souls. Even though the songs maintain the heaviness, the effect of the rhythm guitar creates depressing themes. Sunken adds a fair pattern of melodies to romanticize moroseness. The profound aspect of having a deep melodic quality makes each of the five tracks so emotionally unstable. The following track takes an extreme and vehement tone on “Foragt”, which often evokes the furious pace with the drum performance becoming more prominent. The rich shimmering melodic undertones sweep perpetually under the multiple layers of the dual guitars, whereas the splendor of the guitar chords conjures a hazy and hypnotic sense. Simultaneously the guitars present a wider range of instrumental perfection.
The Danish quintet proves to be adepts in capturing the essence of the modern technique, each track shows a creative and unique talent in displaying complex patterns and exploring the breadth of the palpable melodies. Even though the core of the melody structure emphasizes the hypnotic elements like the synth and the guitar chords that create a nebulous effect. In all the complexity of the song structure, Sunken maintains the ability to shuffles to straightforward aggression with ultra-blast beats being unleashed. Take for example the instrumental track “Delirium” and you’ll come to realize how the band can stretch its melodious tone so vibrantly.
In contrast to the drum patterns, the harmonic component of the melodies shine with beautiful undertones. Building up superfine layers. The guitars here are derived from the modern style of ambient melodies, as the pacing of the drums and the buzzing bass guitar continue. The dual guitars provides a freezing atmosphere. The extraordinary ability to integrate several melodies and blistering tempos in one song, is just mind-blowing. Sunken tackles the atmospheric style of black metal in a futuristic and unconventional way.
The closing track “Dødslængsel” begins with an ethereal guitar note that soon retains the rawness and aggression in which the band displayed on the previous tracks. Proceeding at a mid-tempo pace, the band continues to showcase their lush instrumentation. The atmospheric synth dances with the flow of the eerie guitar effect and the shrilling vocals create a melodramatic theme. Sunken has released a magnificent album of a constant atmosphere and tempo changes. “Livslede” is full of twists and turns taking many influences from bands such as Alcest, Der Weg Einer Freiheit, and modern post-metal bands.
Release Date: September 18th, 2020
Label: Vendetta Records