The Sunwashed Avenues – Cult Of The Black Sun   Leave a comment

Swiss anarcho-rockers The Sunwashed Avenues can be labeled a lot of things but predictable isn’t one of them. The music on this full-length is not what I expected and in some ways, that is a good thing but for the most part it is a disappointing album that makes me think they should have sent it somewhere else to get reviewed. This has been described as a “melodramatic masterpiece” by someone at their label but if that isn’t steering you in the wrong direction, I don’t know what does. What this is though, is an curious but confused attempt at some-kind of death-rock by blending punk-rock, stoner-metal with those horrible genres known as metalcore and screamo. The band is highly theatrical and from that point of view, I get what they are trying to do but I found this more irritating than anything else so I will keep this short and straight to the point.

The album begins with a vague attempt at some classic rock sounds with “Ride The Last Wave” and “Grand Torino” but ends up like sounding like an alternative rock meets hardcore-punk version of Led Zeppelin that sounds incredibly forced and unnatural and it doesn’t get much better from here on either. The vocals are over-dramatic and verge on the hysterical at times while the songs themselves are devoid of any real dynamics, most of the time. The title track is at least catchy and some good grooves arise to the occasion in small doses. “Ides of March” is a  atmospheric, dreamy interlude and is at least, interesting. Elsewhere, the album takes some unusual turns as in “Their Faces Turned Into Smiles When the Wind Ate Up Their Brains” where they play in a minimalist, almost hypnotic style which is in sharp contrast to the rest of the album. “Burning Rome” on the other hand gets a little progressive and has some fine playing but once it is done, it is instantly forgettable.

On the plus side, the band have a funky kind of edge which can be infectious but it is neither innovative or exciting in any way as the concepts behind the songs fall flat. Musically, the band are great and they can play with some proficiency but these songs make me want to pull me hair out or whats left of it anyway. The overwhelming flaw is the vocals which are performed in such a way that they sound forced and fake. One minute, it is conventional, next minute overly theatrical without creating any tangible vibe. If you listen to the great theatrical bands of the past, especially the ones from the 70’s, there was a vibe in their songs that painted a picture within those songs. This is not the case here, the band sound un-convincing and any mood created is soon lost by a series of disjointed song-structures and lack of emotion. One thing this album has got going for it, is great production but take away two, maybe three decent songs and you are left with a very average album. Sorry and I can see the hate-mail coming…………….4/10
The Sunwashed Avenues @ Myspace

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Posted January 3, 2011 by doommantia in The Sunwashed Avenues

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