July 18, 2011

Music Review: Across the Sun - Before the Night Takes Us

Before The Night Takes UsPrior to getting my hands on this, I had never heard of Across the Sun before. Now, after listening to Before the Night Takes Us, I cannot shake the feeling that I have heard them before. There is something strangely familiar about their particular mash up of genres,  but I cannot quite put my finger on it. In any case, the album is perfectly listenable, easy to get into, and they show a good deal of technical skill. However, with that said, I do not feel they are living up to the skills hinted at across the album.

This quintet display a chameleonic technical prowess that crosses genre boundaries. While they  definitely have the ability to turn out hard hitting riffs and melodic atmospheric passages with equal aplomb, it just seems like they are holding back. It never feels as if they are pushing through the genre barriers to truly create something. It is more like they are playing everything down the middle. I don't want to say watered down, that isn't quite right, just nothing is terribly memorable. It is cool while I am listening but it doesn't stick. I feel as if this could be a lot of different bands and not Across the Sun specifically. Of course, this could turn around in a heartbeat and I would love to see what these guys could really turn out.

Across the Sun lives at the crossroads where Dream Theater, Killswitch Engage, and Opeth meet. They have the proggy elements of Dream Theater, mash them with the -core elements of Killswitch, and blend in a little European melodic of Opeth. They take that and filter it through their sensibilities with a resulting music that is certainly attractive. It is not "true" to any one genre but makes a good use of the variety across the board.

The keyboards amp up the prog elements while the guitars team up for some crushing riffs and technical leads, the drums are always there keeping pace. If anything, the vocals don't fit all that well. There is just something about them that seems to be more melodramatic than emotional and I found them to be a little off. He has a good growl, but the clean singing does not always mesh with what I am hearing and sort takes me out of the experience.

In the end, Across the Sun is a band that has the goods to deliver something unique and they have demonstrated their skills quite admirably, for the most part, on their debut full length for Metal Blade Records. Although, I think they could have roughed the production up a bit. It strikes me as a bit too clean and studio sounding, I like a touch more of a live feel.

I don't want to sound like I am complaining about these guys, they are definitely skilled. I just think they have the potential to go to the next level.

Mildly Recommended.

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