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Sunrunner - Ancient Art Of Survival Award winner

Sunrunner
Ancient Art Of Survival
by Kevin Burke at 09 December 2018, 5:06 PM

SUNRUNNER is a breeze of cool air drifting slowly into the spectrum of metal music as we know it, instead of a pale recreation of what went before they are knocking down the framework and rebuilding it one riff at a time, a reinvention of the possibilities within the genre, what adventures are still there to be had while taking us along for the ride, strap in this is not just an album, this is a sonic roller coaster of epic proportions.

A short ten-years into their career the band from Portland in the United States have unleashed their most accomplished offering in “Ancient Art Of Survival” by all standards it is a breathtaking landscape of sound, painted with broad strokes of dense guitar riffs.  Yes it is heavy perhaps their heaviest offering to date but it is also experimental, simply put SUNRUNNER refuse to be categorized, the added fire breathing from new vocalist Bruno Neves has given the band a fresh approach as a follow-up to 2015’s “Heliodromus”.

Maybe a nod to JETHRO TULL with flutes and folk leanings to open the album which transmits a more European flavor more so that the States.
“Inner Visions” is a blast of hard-working METALLICA, the band are plunging into a heavier design for sure, the guitar work of Joe Martignetti is definitely a showstopper of excellence as he hits the distortion pedal more frequently.

The name of the game is Prog-Metal and lengthy tracks abound, “Stalking Wolf” flows nicely into the twenty-minute mark with ease, reminiscent in ways of “Terrapin Station” by the GRATEFUL DEAD only given a greater depth and a very large set of balls.  In contrast, “The Scout” is a traditional metal number but elongated with the most obscure lyrics you are likely to find on any album, not just in metal circles:

“Mud, mottled char and ash,
Camouflaging scent and mask”.


“Prophecy of the Red Skies” is a monster of epic proportions, twisting and turning as the bass lines of David Joy drills further into its skull, the arrangements are the key to the overall impact of the album, odd time signatures are in abundance throughout making the abilities of Ted MacInnes shine, although even on the instrumental “Arrive, Survive, Awaken, Thrive” it manages not to disturb the album as it unfolds, hints of jazz and perhaps late-sixties folk definitely enter the frame.

SUNRUNNER have definitely hit a stride above their contemporaries, certainly retro sounding at times in their style and approach to the production, without knowing it, they could fall easily into a late-seventies or early-eighties vortex of construction, it is a massively enjoyable album as it offers such a variety of themes.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production:7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Sunrunner
2. Tracking the Great Spirit
3. Inner Vision
4. The Scout
5. Prophecy of the Red Skies
6. Distorted Reflection
7. Palaver
8. Arrive, Survive, Awaken, Thrive
9. Stalking Wolf
Lineup:
Bruno Neves - Lead Vocals
David Joy - Bass and Vocals
Joe Martignetti - Electric/Acoustic Guitar/Bouzouk/ Flute/Focals
Ted MacInnes - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Record Label: Minotauro Records
     


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Edited 24 January 2019
 

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