SUNWALTER – ALIEN HAZARD (Sliptrick Records)
You know, I just don’t get to cover enough bands from Russia. I was glad to pick up this album to review. With an odd name like Sunwalter, it sort of stuck out.
Sunwalter are an epic metal band, but don’t let that fool you. They’re epic in scale, though not in genre. While they have what some would call the token melodic female singer, Sol (who is drop dead gorgeous), they also have Alexio hammering out some seriously kickass harshness. And he’s not like a string player singer, this band has TWO SINGERS, which, as we all well know, is tough to keep going. Most bands – rap metal, most notably – who’ve tried to do the dual vocalist thing have fallen victim to the “too much, too little” vibe, because people inevitably think that a band is trying to cram too much into their stage show.
Thankfully – very thankfully – Sunwalter isn’t like that at all. They’re definitely not rap metal, and they’re also NOT epic metal. They label themselves- and I tend to agree with it- as sci-fi metal. Along with the tones of Epica and Dream Theater – and this’ll throw you for a loop, are tones of (no shit) JAPANESE METAL, like Dir En Grey.
The second I heard it in the song “Green and Grey,” I immediately had a huge grin on my face. I didn’t know what to expect, and then, the double bass and chugging guitars kicked in, and Sol’s voice sounded amazingly like DIG’s Kyo when he would do his weird sort of jerky kind of melodic, and Alexio matches her melody with a scathing gutteral low (and high) that effectively brings the sound to a whole new level.
Another song that really sticks out is the album’s sixth track, “Message from Nowhere.” It reminded me of something Soilwork would have on their earlier work, which I really dig.
I am happy to say, and I rarely say this, that I couldn’t find a single thing wrong with Alien Hazard. Where a lot of bands that have keys and/or more than one singer can easily fall into using their gimmick as a crutch, Sunwalter has somehow catapulted themselves into musical vision, and I fucking love it.
One thing I love about working for BRM is the constant influx of new music; it’s like a drug that is a cheap fix. But I get so much that rarely does anything really stand out. Alien Hazard is DEFINITELY going in my car. For this (let the fireworks begin), I give Sunwalter’s Alien Hazard a 5 out of 5! Nice fucking work, guys (and gal). Keep it up!
FFO: Epica, Sonata Arctica, Soilwork
Olga Sol – melodic vocals
Alexio – harsh vocals
Myutel – guitar
St.Odium – bass
Miran – drums
01 – Intro
02 – Green and Grey
03 – Birth Machine
04 – Drilling the ice of Europa
05 – Forbidden Sun
06 – Message from Nowhere
07 – Planetary Protector
08 – Red Shift
09 – Fermi Paradox
10 – Nibiru(techno remix)
Written by Hobbes Caltous for Bloodrock Media on October 25, 2017.