The Bringer of Sun

April 13, 2020


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When one thinks of symphonic leaning black and death metal, a specific sound often comes to mind that emphasizes sweeping keyboard arrangements while the vocals stay entirely on the harsh end of the spectrum.  Slovakia’s Vortex Unit have challenged that notion with their debut full length The Bringer of Sun, which weaves elements of black and death metal with operatic and harsh vocals to create a sound that feels unique.  It’s the type of album that has plenty to discover underneath the surface and is a hidden gem in what has already been a crowded year for just about every genre of metal.

The realms of symphonic/operatic don’t always click with the black/death metal audience, but the way that the two are intertwined on The Bringer of Sun may draw them in, nevertheless.  You’ll find out right from the beginning if that’s the case or not, as opening track “Into the Saturnine Realm” starts off with Siren’s softer singing before transitioning into harsh screams and soaring operatic singing.  It’s the type of combination that instantly grabs your attention, as the ranges are polar opposite yet they complement each other perfectly and create a whirlwind effect that suits the aggressive and raging instrumentation.  Unlike other bands that have attempted to incorporate this type of singing into a harsher base, Siren’s an equal part of the material rather than an occasional flourish and it really goes a long way in making Vortex Unit feel different from the norm.  The harsher pitches hit raspier tones that are reminiscent of Ihsahn as well as lower growls that make some of the most violent passages hit that much harder.  Siren doesn’t merely stick with the operatic ranges either, as her voice shifts with the instrumental tone and stands as a powerful entity on songs like “I Speak With Verity”.

When it comes to the instrumentals, Vortex Unit is split evenly between black and death metal, with some of the drumming and shifting riffs bringing some of the more progressively slanted death metal bands to mind.  The Bringer of Sun rarely stays in the same place for long, and while there are a few songs that have similar patterns of blasting the listener into submission the transitions give each one a feeling of their own.  It’s impressive how everything flows together, as songs like “Visions” channel some of that immense, bone chilling second-wave black metal blasting only to lead right into “The Cruise of Sanity” where the drum patterns and constantly shifting grooves bring the ideas right back into the death metal realm.  Despite how often the styles change it never feels like Vortex Unit is pushing themselves too far, and they’re bolstered by polished production values that add to the force of the instrumentals without cleaning things up too much.  With equal amounts of melody and brute force that complement the sheer amount of vocal range while also providing individual riffs and solos that stand on their own, there’s a lot to like about the breadth of extreme metal that has been captured on The Bringer of Sun.

Vortex Unit’s debut seems to have slipped under the radar for many, as while it initially saw release in early January I haven’t seen too much coverage while preparing for this review.  The group definitely deserves exposure though, as while there are a few lulls the record impresses with its harsh and operatic vocal combination and instrumentation that has a flair for the progressive as it seamlessly shifts between black and death from one moment to the next.  It’s clear that this is a band pushing off in their own direction and they’ve built a very strong foundation with which to go even further in the years to come.  The Bringer of Sun is available from Slovak Metal Army.

-Review by Chris Dahlberg

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