DARK SUNS — Existence (review)

DARK SUNS — Existence album cover Album · 2005 · Progressive Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Sleeper
Dark Suns first album was a clear Opeth clone and for this band to gain any real recognition they would need to develop a style of their own. This is something they have taken to heart because in the two years between Swanlike and Existence there has been a complete change in direction for their music. The biggest change is that they have added a second major influence to the bands sound, that of Pain of Salvation, and worked hard to merge that with the existing influence of Opeth. The result is an album that has the bleak, dark, melencholic atmospheres of Opeth mixed with the emotional delivery and content of Pain of Salvation, or at least that is the clear aim on here. The reality is that they seem to have just fallen short of attaining that perfect blend. The atmosphere is there and so is the emotion but neither mix to a fully compelling degree and as a result the album can be seen more as a work in progress, a snapshot of where the band is developing from and too. I think the biggest reason for this is that the musical ideas on show here just seem to be stretched too far, motifs go one for too long and the impact that the band wanted is seveirly lessoned because of it .

Overall this isn't actually a bad album, there is plenty here to interest fans of progressive metal and there are numerous flashes of brilliance throughout the album, but there is also a case of too much music, not enough material as well that just drags down the experience of listening to it. Hilights for me are the extremely catchy "The Euphoric Sense", a song that I can never seem to shake from my memory, and the perfectly executed "You, A Phantom Still" and "Patterns of Oblivion". These last two songs are perfect examples of exactly what the band was trying to achieve here, an exquiset mix of atmosphere and emotion where the one feeds off the other. Unfortunatly there are a few lowlights to the album as well. Many of the shorter, earlier songs just feel unecessary to me and tracks 8 and 9 ("Gently Bleeding" and "Abiding Space") are good but aren't as fully realised as the aformentioned "You, A Phantome Still" and "Patterns of Oblivion". The final track is the big let down though, the longest song on here but it really shouldn't have been, it distinctly needs to be cut down by about 4 minutes because it vastly outstays its welcome.

A decent album, and one that shows a band developing into being something different, but fails to meet the full expectations set upon it. No one song on here can be pinpointed as terrible for they all have moments of greatness, but only a few hold that throughout their length. In the end though, it would be the next album, Grave Human Genuine, that fully realises this bands potential.
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