In a year chalked full of incredible technical death metal Minnesota’s Sunless present their second full length album Ylem.   If you are not familiar with Sunless, they are a three piece that features former members of the group Australis and The Body Beneath.  What make Sunless unique are their arrangements.  I cannot think of too many bands that combine influences like Cynic, Gorguts, Psycroptic Mastodon and Opeth.  The production values have grown since the group’s debut Urraca. Ylem was recorded at Signature Tone Studios with Adam Tucker and Mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts).

Kicking things off with “Spiraling into the Unfathomable” these gentlemen paint a beautifully dissonant start the album.   Schooler and Scott worked unbelievably well together as a two-piece string section.  Everyone in Sunless has their own room to add their own colors to the song arrangements.  Drummer Taylor Hamel really does tie the whole room of the album in together with his ambitious driven percussion.  “Ascended Forms” is my favorite track on the album that starts with incredibly jilted riffing into one of the best groove sections on the album.

“The Unravelling of Arcane Past” is another fantastic example of how Sunless can create unique textures and atmospheres with incredibly hypnotic riffing and drum work.  There are times throughout this album where parts remind a lot of Gorguts Colored Sands Album. The Marston touch. Yleth has a fantastic flow to the album that makes it very difficult to turn off once you start it. “Atramentous” has a gorgeous acoustic section in the middle that is where I hear a bit of Mastodon influence.  “Flesh-Particle Amalgamation” is another of the strongest songs on the album.

Sunless may not be a 260-bpm arpeggio laden type of technical death metal band but there in lies the greatness of their compositions.   In this genre of music, it is incredibly difficult to play with the type of conviction and maturity that Sunless do.   This is by far one of the top albums of the year for me and I would put this up against any other technical death metal release this year. This really is one of the strongest releases of 2021.  Willowtip does it again.  Order this now!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
November 18th, 2021


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