Sunseth Sphere - _Storm Before Silence_
(Hammerheart, 2001)
by: Adam Lineker (7.5 out of 10)
The intro sets the mood perfectly; Sunseth Sphere's music is suffused with eeriness. Mournful vocals with a dash of reverb talk over rustling winds before the instruments take up the theme. The guitar sound is primitive in places, conjuring inappropriate images of the '80s. The drums parts are basic and the bass pulses along underneath, adding more layers to a sound that is full of aural picture-painting. It is not as if this is complex, but it has been carefully pieced together. Effects and motifs have been carefully composed and arranged; as on the first track where we hear driven flange carefully administered to mark the identity of a subject. While there are riffs and even guitar solos, the characteristic of Sunseth Sphere is the way everything works with each other. We have distorted male vocals, growling away under clean female vocal. We get keyboard, acoustic, effects and contrasting moods but nothing seems out of place. "Life After Light" is the most upbeat track on the album, and it is here that Sunseth Sphere sound almost like a goth rock band. Yet this is followed by a relaxing and sensitive acoustic piece called "Arizona". The more prominent style is that of slower riffage and thick, semi-canonical layering, particularly in the vocals that sing repeated poetic phrases throughout. There is no aggression or extremity; this is an altogether subtler affair, in which imagery and mood is the focus. And it can be absorbing and relaxing, but only to an extent. For though it is effective in parts, this is not the most inspiring or outstanding music in the world. Lyrically _Storm Before Silence_ can become repetitive, and the poetry either doesn't make sense ("Without a vault I'm yet transcend") or becomes amusing ("I'm pagan and lazy troll" and "Black is the colour of your enormous means"). While it can be relaxing, it can also lose your attention as easily. Some of the musicianship is questionable; it must be said that Kyrah's voice has a very thin texture. I am, however, inclined to believe that that was precisely the reason she was chosen. Sunseth Sphere create music by subtly measuring their ideas. The biggest impression made is that everything seems very channeled. There are moments of passionate soloing, there are dark and moody bass figures and emotive keyboard melody, there is a sense of Egyptian concept but no particular piece of the puzzle is dominant; this is most appreciated on the potentially cloying Egyptian theme. Sunseth Sphere have pooled their creative resources and carefully sculpted music that paints some absorbing pictures. Only being seven tracks long, it doesn't have any time to become boring.

(article published 1/9/2002)

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