Sunless – Urraca (Review)

SunlessSunless are a progressive death metal band from the US and this is their debut album.

Well, if this isn’t a twisting mass of complex nastiness. Urraca is 44 minutes of progressive/technical death metal full of dissonant, experimental and avant-garde stylings.

To get an idea of their warped agenda, mix elements of Gorguts, Ulcerate, Baring Teeth and Pyrrhon together in a pot. The result is quite the tasty treat, but one that satiates too.

This kind of dissonant death metal can be quite impenetrable a lot of the time, but I find that Sunless are curiously wide open with their music. Although I wouldn’t call their output accessible in the usual way, (this won’t get on the radio any time soon), it’s certainly less-impenetrable than that of a lot of the peers or influences.

This openness is partially as a result of the quality songwriting and partially as a result of the equally quality production that allows everything to breathe. Both have resulted in songs that take a lot less effort than usual to get your mind around and enjoy, despite still being challenging and forward-thinking. As it’s not as closed off as this kind of thing usually is, the songs on Urraca are so much more enjoyable than I was expecting.

Heavy atypical riffs and dissonant melodies are the norm for this style, but Sunless appear to have an easy mastery of both. As mentioned previously, the songwriting is at an advanced level, with a great balance between experimentation, harshness and open accessibility.

Another great thing about these songs is the level of depth and nuance that they have. This is not facile or easily discarded music at all. There’s also much more of an emotive edge here than is the norm for this kind of thing, with light and shade being used well to enhance this approach where appropriate.

I find Urraca to be one of the best examples of this type of Gorguts/Ulcerate-esque progressive death metal. Sunless take their influences and make them their own in such a way that although you can definitely recognise their music as having these qualities and playing in the style that they do, they’ve injected their music with so much of their own personality and character that Urraca stands by itself on its own merits with ease.

Urraca is the kind of album I’ve been waiting to come along for a long time, without even realising it.

Very highly recommended.

7 thoughts on “Sunless – Urraca (Review)”

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