Five years is a pretty long gap between albums, especially when so many groups follow the traditional two-year cycle. But for Italy’s While Sun Ends, they have a pretty good reason for the longer incubation period. Original vocalist Serena Caracchi departed in 2013, and it wasn’t until 2014 that newcomer Stefania Torino was brought on-board. With this new lineup in place, While Sun Ends has continued to expand upon their take on the progressive/death metal genres, and their sophomore effort ‘Terminus’ is sure to appeal to fans of a wide range of metal. Set for release on August 26th via Wooaaargh, today we’re pleased to premiere the second track from the album Cycles.
Tagging something as progressive/death metal can mean a lot of different things, but I think that earlier Opeth before they decided to fully head into the prog-rock direction would be a good starting point for describing While Sun Ends. Cycles starts off on the heavier side, with a slower dense groove leading the way. There’s a slight bit of metalcore or modern thrash/groove metal influences present in this earlier section, particularly with regards to the tonality. But there’s a lot more happening than your usual chugging riffing, as the instrumentalists start to layer sweeping melodies over top of this heavier base, eventually transitioning completely over to softer instrumentation that has a more melancholic feel. This is where the progressive slant of the band’s material really starts to break through, and around the halfway point of this six and a half minute track is where everything really starts to click.
Following the acoustic sections where While Sun Ends completely mellows out and explores a somber, introspective tonality that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Katatonia record, the rest of the song weaves in and out of these heavy and melodic passages. I believe this is where the band really excels and has pushed themselves further since their last full length, as the heavier base keeps things intense and high energy but the melodic guitar leads give the material a significant amount of substance and keep you wondering where the song will go next. While the instrumentals twist and turn, the vocals alternate between abrasive growling and soft clean singing. Stefania Torino’s vocal work adds a lot to what While Sun Ends has to offer listeners, as her softest moments have that hypnotic vibe that some of the best European gothic metal bands can capture while the screams and growls bring over that harsher metal edge. Add in some back-ups from bassist Carlo Leone towards the end of the track, and you have a versatile approach that works perfectly.
With forty-five minutes worth of material, ‘Terminus’ finds While Sun Ends covering a lot of ground and falling into territory that could appeal to fans of everything from Opeth style progressive death metal to European gothic metal. It’s hard to manage this balance of soft, engaging melodies and heavier grooves without the individual pieces feeling half formed, but this group has accomplished just that. If you like what you hear, ‘Terminus’ is out on CD and digital formats August 26th.
While Sun Ends | Wooaaargh