Worshiping of the sun has been practiced for literally thousands of years and across various regions of the globe. The Ancient Egyptians obviously saw a large chuck of their religion revolve around that big, fiery ball in the sky. Various Native American tribes in North and South America held the sun in high importance, including the Aztecs who would make copious amounts of human sacrifices to the likes of Huitzilopochtli and Tezcatlipoca. Meanwhile, in Japan, the worshiping of the sun goddess Amaterasu was so profound that the sun would be featured prominently hundreds of years later in national displays such as their country’s flag. But none of those long-gone deities offers the same satisfaction, and the same, often otherworldly, experience as Germany’s Sun Worship.
Following up on the heels of their acclaimed debut record, this German, black metal horde has returned once again with the blazing, four-track Pale Dawn album. Once again dabbling in, and now truly perfecting, their ravenous blend of second wave Scandinavian black metal and the more esoteric American brand, Sun Worship are a band that do not fear that dark side of the musical moon where the brutal meets the atmospheric. In fact, they’ve set themselves up quite nicely in that enigmatic part of the black metal landscape where being equal parts entrancing and pummeling is the norm. While listening to this album you are just as likely to lose yourself in the mesmerizing waves after waves of cacophony as you are to be stirred by them.
From the opening salvo this truly is an unrelenting collection of songs. While the occasional dirge-like interlude, such as the one found in the middle of “Lichtenberg Figures” is present and powerful, the overall vibe on this album is one of pure sonic devastation. However, much like some of the earliest masters of the black metal genre, namely Enslaved and Emperor, Sun Worship will on occasion cut through the white noise of blast beats and tremolo picking with vocals that deviate from the norm of tortured screams. Turns out that vocals that are almost moaned in a ghostly manner combined with frost-bitten, black metal aesthetics is still a highly effective way to create music that is downright unnerving at its core.
With four tracks stretched out over 35+ minutes each song on Pale Dawn is truly an experience unto itself. This is less a loose collection of tracks as it is a journey through some of the most uncompromising, yet enthralling black metal this side of the mid-90s. Fans of everything from Wolves in the Throne Room and Krieg, to early Darkthrone and Tsjuder will find a lot to love on this album.
Pale Dawn will be released through Golden Antenna Records on May 6. You can experience and purchase the album through the Sun Worship Bandcamp page.