Sunborn by Chaosmic is an album of hard rock, black metal, punk, and all things in between. Each song is intricately crafted and performed.
The two best songs on the album are "Nadir" and "Communion." Nadir is an intricately composed piece of music that starts with acoustic guitar and a rhythmic pattern on the rims of the drums before an excellent bassline enters to lead the song. The song uses dynamics very effectively, building and dividing by adding a fuzzed out electric guitar and a strong vocal. "Communion" shifts between a stoner rock groove in 4/4 to a heavy ¾ instrumental section with an Alex Lifeson-esque guitar melody. The song uses lots of different contrasting sections well to complete the structure.
Another good example of the band’s capabilities is "Phobic" which is a fury of punk and metal thrown together. The melody and guitar line have a System Of A Down-esque vibe to it, and the the drums alternate between a rapid-fire double-time punk and a more thrashing metal accompaniment. There are some balances of humor and sincerity which is pulled off well, and some interesting stereo effects on the guitar that make for a great headphone experience. The opener, "Desert Grave" is a solid song with harmonized guitars, thundering drums and bass, and vocals that alternate between a cleaner almost Rob Dickinson tone to one of Black Metal growl.
In one of the weaker moments, "Elder Moon" opens with crashing guitar chords while the vocals scream and growl an introduction of the title of the song. The first section borders the line of parody occasionally. The song does really come alive with the chorus, both in vocal delivery, groove, and catchiness of the melody. It’s driving and it contrasts with the rest of the song quite well. The song just tends to sit in the opening moments for a bit too long.
"Glass" opens with an ascending line from a dropped-tuned guitar before the screams and buzzing metal enters. Moving through multiple feel changes, the song packs lots of emotion into a short amount of time, but the transitions are effective and well thought out. The singer’s ability to move between singing cleanly and growling tends to be used more effectively when the growling punctuates sections or even harmonizes with the cleaner vocals. "Forever Feast" employs more of the growling vocals. It fits the elements of the style and genre, but the alternation between the two vocal styles can be jarring, especially when the cleaner vocals are performed so well with great pitch and intensity. There is in the song, a fantastic dueling contrapuntal guitar break in the middle that that feels like Tommy Iommi channeling Bach.
The album closes with "Spoils Of Pyrrhus" which opens with a soft guitar line that is occasionally punctuated by low bass punches. When the vocals and drums enter, the song is a powerful screamed performance with grunged out distortion on the guitars for the chorus, flourishing drums, and a bass that holds the whole song together. There’s a nice interplay between the bass and guitar during the reverbed echoy solo and some good vocal harmonies throughout. The song has a strong ending, but then falls into a gratuitous moment of humming feedback that goes on just a bit too long.
The songwriting of the band is good, the performances stellar, and the production very smart. The band offers lots of great moments that incorporate and fuse together different genres.
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