Under The Sun – Man of Sorrow   2 comments

Before getting this review into top gear, the question has to be asked. How can a doom super-group come along like this and get almost zero press. I think Hellride Music might have reviewed it but apart from that, this release has been met with a deaf ear. How can this be so when you have a band with people in it like Mike Smail (Penance, Cathedral), Dave Roman (Penance) and Dennis Cornelius (Memory Driven, Dwell Within, Place of Skulls and Revelation). This album is a contender for the Christian doom-metal album of the year as the only other album that comes close is Place Of Skull’s, newbie. I will say from the outset that I rate this album higher than that album as this album has something going for it in the warm guitar playing that the Victor Griffin outfit hasn’t got and what that is I really can’t put a finger on it but “Man Of Sorrow” might just be one of the finest releases of its kind ever produced. The album succeeds at being doomy and atmospheric without being all that heavy but what it lacks in doom-laden crunch, it makes up for it in sheer dynamics and quality song-writing. I will mention some of the highlights on the album but this start to finish is a pure joy to listen to with no filler. The album flows beautifully and is based on solid musicianship and vocals and that is where I will begin.

Vocalist Dennis Cornelius has a wonderfully, rich voice full of soul and feeling. His delivery on this album is about as passionate as anything released in the last few years and seeing as he is known more as a bassist, this is a surprise performance he gives on this recording. Dave Roman is also another underrated musician, his guitar skills are unquestionably great as he plays with feeling and taste throughout this album. Coming from the also underrated band Penance, he is already appreciated by a select but dedicated few but he really should be seen as the guitar-wizard he really is. His style of playing blends jazz, blues and good old-fashioned Sabbathian riffing into a package that makes for a mesmerizing listening experience. Add to that, the warm guitar tones and some blistering solos which catapults some songs into the majestic realms of classic dark hard rock. On drums is the also excellent Mike Smail who delivers what must surely be his best work to date. He can pound the hell out of the drums when needed but he also has a great diversity by blending in jazzy techniques. For the most part, this is old-school doom metal with elements of sludge and 70’s proto-metal thrown into the mix for a fairly diverse album and then there is the lyrics. Yes, it is an issue for some but this is some of best lyrics of its kind since the early Trouble records back in the 80’s.

So what about the tunes themselves ? One of the more doom-laden moments is the opening track “Stride” which takes all the classic trad-doom elements and gives it a real shot in the arm. Hardly original but that is hardly the point with a song that is so immediately infectious and memorable. Same can be said for “To Sleep With Anger” that threatens to crush itself underneath its sonic musical weight. You can use all the usual clichés when describing these songs, crushing, immense, pulverizing and all of those are true but again it is back to the timeless, quality of songwriting that ultimately wins you over. At other times the doom is more subtle as in a tune like “Forgiveness” which is more about dynamics than blasting your head off with down-tuned guitar work. The lyrics are obviously heartfelt and honest and I don’t find it preachy as you get lost in the emotional element that the vocal performance supply’s. This is an album to be enjoyed from start to finish and you won’t want to press the stop button while listening to this, more likely you will go back to this album time and again for many years to come. It has been released just in time for the “best of 2010” lists everywhere and this deserves to be right up at the top. The only negative for me is the packaging and artwork which didn’t impress me much but who cares anyway as this will be on a steady rotation in my CD decks for the next year or so, great album……..9.5/10
Buy It Here
Read A Interview Here

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Posted December 14, 2010 by doommantia in Under The Sun

2 responses to “Under The Sun – Man of Sorrow

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  1. Äh,…
    no way, it isn't exactly “doom”, it is a terrible combination between doom, rock and jazzy elements, listen to “joy”, “forgiveness” and “man of sorrow”.
    The other songs are at best mediocrity!
    There is no comparison to Penance or Revelation!!

    3 Points out of 10!!

  2. I know some rate it as album of the year, calling it mediocrity is going a bit far. It is not pure doom but to me it is just as doomy as Place Of Skulls latest and people still call that doom but you are right, it is jazzy.

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