Dark Suns
Everchild

Germany’s Dark Suns created a minor classic to my ears with Swanlike in 2002. That album boasted gothic doom/death with ethereal acoustics so powerful for a debut, even Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth commented on how impressed he was with the bands ability. Eagerly, I awaited more from the band, and what came over the next decade was a metamorphosis and the talent within these lads really started show. The band basically revitalized itself on each release, leaving the death metal aspects behind, exploring much more complex progressive arrangements, and utilizing clean vocals.  In 2016, Dark Suns have honed in on the concepts they have explored on past records and delivered a wonderfully melancholic prog album with Everchild.

While Orange (2011) was an “anything goes” art/rock affair, Everchild revisits styles and ideas the group handled on Existence (2005). This album is atmospheric, dark, and much more wistful than its predecessor, yet the basic method of progressive rock is still in play. One can easily hear similarities to bands like Porcupine Tree, Opeth, and Riverside.   Searching for eternal childhood and yearning for the past, Everchild is a retrospective release that lingers and unfurls over many listens.  Youth, innocence and reflecting on oneself are enduring themes.

Everchild flows elegantly between songs with enough diversity to keep interest.  Horns can be heard (“The Only Young Ones Left” “Spiders” “Monster”) and piano/keys are littered throughout.  “Escape with the Sun” is a personal favorite with a bluesy guitar riff that leads the song. A standout track for sure. There are no hard hitters on the this album but “Codes” is sonically one of the heavier songs the band has delivered in years, whilst title track “Everchild” displays darker distorted guitars in its finale. Again, nothing really “metal” on this record but a more ominous feel has been embraced much like the ambience of Existence.

Each Dark Suns release has been a forward thinking venture and no album in their discography sounds the same.  However, the one aspect of the band that is always prominent and lets you know you’re definitely listening to Dark Suns is the vocal stylings of Mr. Niko Knappe .  Now purely focused on vocals (his former drum duties now taken by Dominique Ehlert), his voice has been strikingly diverse over their career and he is a grossly underrated singer in my opinion.  His delivery has ranged from doomy death metal to falsetto over the years and his control with soft cleans is amazing. Just check out “The Fountain Garden” and “Torn Wings” for examples of how suspended he sounds in the music.  Everchild effortlessly showcases how beautiful Nikos’ voice really is.  Closing track “Yes, Anastasia” is a reinterpretation of a Tori Amos song that I have not heard before but nevertheless, it’s a dramatic piano driven song with a progressive flare thrown in, and again, vocally it’s amazing.

The band financed the production of Everchild via crowdfunding and the end result is one of the best albums to come out of 2016.  Dark Suns truly is a progressive band and we can only imagine what their next release will sound like. Much like Opeth and Katatonia, Dark Suns is very comfortable in their evolution and arguably they may even be doing it better.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shane Wolfensberger
July 26th, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Man, Swanlike was so good, but i lost interest in these guys when they dropped the growls.


  2. Commented by: Stiffy

    I liked Existence but didn’t care for Grave Human Genuine. Still can’t seem to grasp that one. But I’m on board with this new stuff. Still, would have loved a proper Swanlike follow up.


  3. Commented by: E. Thomas

    yeah grave human genuine is where they really lost me


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