Crushing Sun
Tao

Portugal’s Crushing Sun opens their newest album Tao with a Nevermore-ish riff, pummeling the listener right off the bat. While that’s pretty much where all the connections to the Seattle-band end, Tao is heavy – and by heavy, I mean crushingly so.

On all of the promo sheets, the music’s being labeled as ‘progressive death metal’ but I’d say it’s all a bit left of that. Crushing Sun seems to play in the same ballpark as bands like Gojira, with a strong emphasis on stonewall guitars that roll over effortlessly on top of semi-complex but clear rhythms. The Gojira comparison is there for all to see and verify, but Crushing Sun’s take on it all isn’t as compact. The band dances with its musical execution, sometimes sounding more violent than the French and quite often, calmer and slightly less flamboyant.

There are plenty of cues that hint of other musical spectrum and the music does, indeed, tornado through wide variety of stages. The soundscape alters a bit with each song, but it never strays away from the big picture – none of it ever comes off as irrational or out of place. The finisher “Strip and Deceit” has a strong Southern vibe to it, whereas “Jane’s Trail” brings forth post-metal elements (wasn’t it called simply ‘sludge’ at some point?) The band has a lean towards painting atmospheres, rather than simply swinging a wrecking ball at sandcastles. Without a doubt, Neurosis is another band that seems to have gotten airtime on the band’s playlist.

Tao isn’t a pure home run though. Vocalist Bruno Silva maintains a decent growl, but at times he ventures too far into hardcore/metalcore in his delivery and pacing (see the otherwise excellent opener “Rain”). I’m sure those moments could have been replaced with something a bit more interesting. The length of the album is another issue, as not all of the 50-minutes are of the best of quality. For example, the song “T,hatcher” seems like a throwaway Gojira-track. It has few nice parts towards the end, but overall it doesn’t seem to go much anywhere, unnecessarily breaking up the momentum. Luckily there are songs like “Grey Scent” that make up for it.

Whilst Tao didn’t have the same 12-gauge effect on my brains as From Mars to Sirius, it’s still one of 2010’s better surprises as far as new music goes. The group performs admirably and despite the minor lapses in songwriting and vocal performance, it’s clear that what we’re dealing here is a band capable of doing things – excellent things. I’m quite positive, though, that even at this stage the band is pure murder in a live situation. But, be that as it may, hopefully Crushing Sun take the time to hone their art further, as I’ve got a gut feeling that the next one might be something even more forceful than a shotgun blast pointblank.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
July 29th, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    I might have to check this out


  2. Commented by: Mark

    this sounds pretty good, I think I’ll put it on my cd list


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