Anyone who has ever looked at a map of the world at least once is aware that Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of area. Stretching across Europe and Asia with a total area almost twice the size of Brazil, Russia is home to lots and lots of peoples and cultures who have lots of differences amongst themselves. Amidst this kaleidoscopic cornucopia of cultures that is the Russian population lives an estimated 2.3 million Finno-Ugric people. They consist of different groups spread out from northern Sweden, Finland and the Baltics to Hungary to western and central Russia all with cultural and linguistic differences.

This prolific umbrella of cultures is the main source of inspiration for the instrumental Russian trio Second to Sun which also draws in influences from death metal and Scandinavian black metal. The band’s second full-length is entitled The First Chapter, which is a glaring hint that it is a part of a bigger plan, and comes with a very modern and crisp production with a liberal use of immensely down-tuned guitars. The opening track “Spirit of Kusoto” has this weird balance of heavy chugging riffs and slightly futuristic sounds while “Red Snow” plays out like a typical deathcore piece for a minute then immediately dissolves into something light and delicate out of the blue. The intensity of the blast beats and the frenetic guitar trills clearly point towards a black metal influence but there’s a bit of deathcore coming through all the clever layering on cuts like “Me or Him”, “Virgo Mitt” and “Chokk Kapper”.

The overall impact of The First Chapter is unfortunately weakened by the album’s very short play time of just thirty minutes, which makes it more realistic to consider it as an EP. This prevents the album from fully blossoming into a wholly memorable listening experience. It does however succeed in creating a rather unique atmosphere thanks to its discrete use of Finno-Ugric music elements and blending them quite subtly into a very heavy framework; one imagines the addition of vocals sung in a native tongue could add another dimension of uniqueness here. Regardless of what the future may hold for this Russian trio, Second to Sun definitely has the potential to become something very interesting in the metal world and it sounds like some refinement is needed to push the band towards an individual sound; they’re not there yet though.

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Second to Sun – The First Chapter gets…

3/5

-AN

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