ALBUM REVIEW: Colours Of Faith – Sisyphean

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Since changing their moniker from DIVISION back in 2014, Lithuania’s SISYPHEAN have established themselves as one of the best underground black metal acts out there. Leaning more heavily into the genre’s furthest, borderline atonal edge, whilst still being able to create catchy and imaginative hooks, the band first garnered international attention with their debut album, Illusions Of Eternity, a record that had one foot firmly planted within a classic black metal sound, whilst also harbouring plenty of hints at the bleaker and more rabid direction in which the band would ultimately head. Nearly five years on, and with a reinvigorated line up, the band are back with Colours Of Faith, an album that sees them fully embrace a more expansive and acerbic sound, establishing their pedigree within the wider black metal scene even further than before.

After the dark, industrial-tinged Before The Light sets an ominous tone, the album proper begins with Scorched Timeless, a dark, mid-paced piece of black metal with lots of great chaotic flourishes from the vocals and drums. The guitars shift from dense rhythmic sections to grating ones smoothly, adding further to the harshness of the music. It’s an ambitious, eclectic track which goes straight for the jugular as opposed to easing the listener into the album. Hearts Of Mercury takes the dissonant elements that lay at the core of the previous track and applies a tighter sound to proceedings, with thunderous drums and plenty of melodic motifs peppered throughout, all without stripping away any of the acerbic energy.

Sovereigns Of Livid Hope is a slow burning track, initially starting out with droning hooks and incredibly layered guitars, bass and drums, before heading towards some great, cavernous moments interspersed with a biting freneticism that makes great use of catchy riffs and the vast drum sound. Much like the album’s opening song, there are a lot of different styles incorporated, with this making for an incredibly engrossing and interesting offering that keeps listeners enthralled throughout.

The Descent opens the second half with the same palpable, minimalist industrial sound as the opening instrumental. It acts as a great preamble to Exiles – a brilliantly discordant, speed-driven affair that sees the guitars and vocals at their most caustic, and the album at perhaps its most aggressive. In amongst the fierceness that makes up the bulk of this track, there are plenty of lighter moments, courtesy of slick leads, showing that even at their most unhinged, SISYPHEAN are capable of peppering their music with fantastic displays of punchy musicianship. Open Wounds heads in the opposite direction, with the pace reducing to a relative crawl and the music feeling more reserved, resulting in an ethereal quality that lets the vocals come to the fore as they cover everything from acidic howls to harsh, bellowing barks. It is, not unlike many of the preceding tracks, a magnificently coarse and bombastic take on black metal.

Conqueror departs quite starkly from the rest of the album, with polished, crystalline guitars marking a significant lurch away from the visceral sound that has dominated the album thus far, giving this a heavier ambience. Booming, primal drumming, thick basslines and disjointed leads all push the music back into familiar territory, although it’s clear that this is going to be another slower effort from the outset. This serves to make it all the more suspenseful, with the song seemingly heading towards a crescendo that doesn’t come, instead gradually getting more frenzied and claustrophobic as it reaches its closing moments. It’s an epic, immersive climax to album that positively drips with atmosphere from the first note to the last.

With Colours Of Faith, SISYPHEAN have taken a significant step forward, both in terms of their songwriting and in terms of musicianship. The band’s debut album, Illusions Of Eternity, which is a good album in its own right, is more firmly rooted within a classic black metal formula, and although some of the dissonance and visceral energy that is present on Colours Of Faith is certainly present on their debut, it’s clear that the band were still establishing their own niche, and hadn’t fully realised it yet. This album sees SISYPHEAN becoming far more confident as songwriters, covering a wider range of musical influences and embracing their darker, more discordant side in a way that works extremely well.

Rating: 9/10

Colours Of Faith - Sisyphean

Colours Of Faith is out now via Transcending Obscurity Records.

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The post ALBUM REVIEW: Colours Of Faith – Sisyphean appeared first on Distorted Sound Magazine.

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