Sunlight’s Bane’s debut album – The Blackest Volume: Like All the Earth Was Buried – has got to be one of the best examples of individualistic filthed-out extremity that I’ve heard in quite some time. Put simply, it’s fantastic.
Nick, the band’s vitriolic singer, gave us some more insight into his hugely impressive band…
Introduce us to Sunlight’s Bane
We’re five individuals from across the state of Michigan who have known each other for a few years now. The band started in the metro Detroit area, but now the members span across a two and a half hour radius within the state.
What are your influences?
I could list an array of grind/death metal/etc. bands, but just as much as other bands over the years have influenced us, so have various other types of art. Most of the direction of our sound is a perception of emotions like fear, anger, and revenge and much of that is influenced greatly by films and literature, namely horror and thriller. I would say we owe just as much of our sound to films like Event Horizon and Zombie as well as Richard Matheson, Stephen King, and HP Lovecraft’s catalogue.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
Tell us about your debut album
The album is a collection of eleven songs that we wrote across the span of two years. The album, named The Blackest Volume (Like All the Earth Was Buried), was written out of order as the direction of each song was decided as they were written, but it was then arranged in an order that felt as though while not being a concept, it had an identity and scale of emotion. After recording with Andy Nelson, we sat on the record for nearly seven months as we shopped it around, waiting until we found someone to put the album out who shared the same vision for it that we did, which we found in Innerstrength Records.
What are your aspirations for this album?
They are quite simple. To do whatever we can within our power to put the album and its sound (perhaps even forcefully) into the ears of anyone willing to listen.
How were the songs written?
Though written in numerous locations across two years, most of the material was written in our drummer Cody’s old home. He lived in an older house in the middle of an isolated farming community and we often practised late in the evening. We usually practice and write in near dark or lit by a single low bulb. It often removes distractions and sets an appropriate tone for the approach.
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
The song I tend to revisit the most and enjoy performing live the most from the record is the second song on the record “Begrudging Soul.” Lyrically and sonically, I feel it’s the best representation of our band as a whole. The lyrics were, as with much of the rest of the album, written during a very troubling and tumultuous time in my life and I feel that the frustrations of that time were effectively captured in the song as I relive those moments every time I hear or perform it.
If you were describing your sound to someone, how would you do so?
If I were to remove genres or comparisons to other bands and solely base it on the description of the sound (which I realise is rarely what is expected), I would describe it as the sound of fear. Whether it is born of personal fears from phobias to failure or something more like an apprehensive, dreadful fear of the future, of the current state of the world; a primitive fear of those around us, or of those who wish to oppress by penetrating and changing us from within…I would say that the intended atmosphere and sound of the music is the sound of fear.
What do you think makes Sunlight’s Bane different from any of your peers?
I would first have to know who are peers are, to be completely honest, as we have always felt like a fringe lurking on the edge, not quite welcomed. We do have numerous bands that we consider to be close friends, but I feel it is possible to not be one and the same. Maybe that is what I could consider to make us different, that we have no sense of security or position as a band and therefore we are never comfortable settling or relaxing with what is simply within our reach.
How do you feel you fit into the extreme metal scene in 2017?
I feel and hope (maybe naively) we have reared our ugly head at just the right moment, at a time when people have had their fill of various other safe productions and are perhaps in search of satisfying a thirst for something a bit more unkempt in sound and presentation.
Tell us about the cover artwork
The cover of TBVLATEWB was painted by our friend Patrick McDonagh, an accomplished painter and tattoo artist (and also guitarist and vocalist of the band Mutilatred). We wanted to have a cover that was a painting, but did not want to simply grab an irrelevant stock image from the internet. We wanted something that was not only an original work, but something that had its own identity, something that in an immediate instant conveyed the sound of the record. I gave Patrick a brief description of what I imagined summed up the entirety of the record (I believe I mentioned someone nude performing what could be both a drowning and simultaneously a baptism) and let him do the rest. When he gave us the image, which we were greatly please with, we had our friend Brian from Legerdemain work the painting into a full layout for the CD which included the banner and grain around the painting.
Playing live – essential or pointless?
It seems entirely pointless if the live performance has no meaning, substance, or purpose (even if the purpose itself is simply enjoyment). Without any of those aspects, it seems utterly pointless to me.
What are the next steps for Sunlight’s Bane?
Preparation for numerous mini tours in support of the record over the spring and summer as we plan for an off-continent campaign in the fall, which we hope will be announced within the coming months.
Any final words?
Listen to our friends in Geist, Anagnorisis, Mutilatred, Falter, Deadbeat, Fell Ruin, Dead Church, Like Rats, ACxDC, Iskra, Pure Hiss, Dead Hour Noise, Pig Champion, Great Reversals, Spit Spewing Snakes, Funeral Chic, Pissed On, Problem of Pain, Steamroller, Sekkusu, and Forever Grey.