Sundr are about to embark on a whirlwind tour through Japan, performing next to an impressive list of the country's heavy acts in the process. Japan has always been a hotbed for darker music, each with own unique, refined twists - yet uncovering these bands is a mild struggle unless you do your homework or have a few friends in the know. Thankfully, Sundr has gone ahead and done the digging for you. Plug in your headphones and have a listen to a couple of hot-takes from the tour's supporting acts – you might be surprised at what you find.
NoLA’s Dead Beat is gritty, nasty and unrelenting. The distorted, layered howls really complement the singer’s vocal range, plus the combination of a tight start-and-stop rhythm structure creates a unique sound – something jagged, serrated and refreshing to hear. The drawn out finish hits with an aching sense of slowness before returning into catatonic noise, followed by pummelling drums, a riff reminiscent of ‘Killing In The Name’ and a sharp cut into silence. It’s a big track for sure.
Palm are relentlessly grindy, combining D-beats and a fiery sense of energy which results in formidable and tight song structure. By the time you reach the catastrophic mid-section of gritty chugging and cyclic drum patterns, one thing becomes evident – Palm has fangs. It’s the kind of music that could hunt you down in the woods, every instrument hounding you like an individual member of a wolf pack. The closing of My Darkest Friends rolls out to an uncharacteristically high bass riff, coupled by a droning guitar that simmers over the top.
Of all the bands on this tour, Sundr may find themselves best matched up to Wombscape’s atmospheric, cold and precise music. The addition of field recordings, cleanly sung vocals and calmer instrumentals creates a mix between beauty and tension. There’s a feeling to it all akin to an uneasy confidence – it evokes a sense of anxiety. The song picks up into a post-hardcore midsection, full of interesting riffs and excellent tone. It seems to become more and more pained as the song climbs, the vocals copying suit while giving a subtle nod to Deftones style wailing. A focal point for the song is the bizarre noise riff at the tail end of the song, seemingly coming out of nowhere. Up until this moment, the song seems so heavily steeped in progression and feeling, making the change somewhat genre defying and dissonant. It kind of works - listen for yourself.
There’s a lot to take in when listening to Stubborn Father. The cleaner, punkier production style gives a lighter feel to riff structures that, with the right pedals, would sound heavy as shit. It’s a nice blend of spaciousness, force and fury. Winning points include the elements of hardcore and riff dissonance that sits bare-chested compared to other, similar sounding bands – possibly sitting around the emotional alternative hard/metalcore scene. A lot of similar sounding western acts run the risk of homogenising their noise in that booming, high-gain ballou-esque produced sound, so for something different and clear in comparison while still offering a throwback to that style of music is a refreshing change.
Forgiving the Papyrus font on the album cover, Nibs’ fat bass tone and Sabbath-esque riffs make for a satisfying listen. Full of warm tones, slow pacing and killer hooks, this is pretty meaty doom/stoner stuff worthy of a slow head-bang. There’s a lack of lyrics which in turn becomes replaced by unexpected twists and turns in the song structure – there’s about four or five different paced riff segments in the song as it plods along. There’s a jam band ethos at play here, paying homage to acts as diverse as the previously mentioned Sabbath all the way through to Neurosis. A stalwart addition to your doom library for sure.
While the mixing on the drums is a little strange, Redsheer’s drummer cannot be faulted for skill – the talent at play here is incredible. Big hits of the toms create a bass heavy feel to the drumming, using high toned guitars to counteract this in a balance of extremes. Instrumentally and pacing wise, everything that’s going on here is on point. The music feels drastic, tumultuous and seething. As the song paces on, a middle riff cuts through the track like a dagger before jumping to an Envy-esque clean segment and taking one more leap into a thrashy black metal riff. Very impressive, in your face music.
Terror Squad have a defining element that pulls them apart from the other bands on this list – they’re unashamedly thrash. Employing a grindy riffwork that puts them close to Pig Destroyer with a bit more of a crust-oriented veneer, there’s plenty of noodly sections holding together an interesting song structure. However, it has to be said that of all the bands here, they sound the least like Sundr and it's hard to imagine the pair on the same bill. Variety is the spice of life though, right?
For whatever reason, the Terror Squad Youtube link prevents embedding. Listen to them here.
Take a dash of Trap Them, dial the drumming down, mix in a bit of doom-paced riffwork and you have The Donor. In a nutshell, this track is metalcore mixed with doom. The intricate droning guitar segments are a real asset to the music, sprinkled like salt over crunchy, drawn out riffs. It’s big, crushing and doesn’t head anywhere too fast, but offers its own intricacy that’s well worth exploring further.
SUNDR begin their tour of Japan on Saturday, August 12 before returning to Australia in late August to commence their east coast tour.
Catch Sundr at one of the following dates:
Saturday August 26 - The Brisbane Hotel, Hobart w/ DÉPARTE, CASCADES, BREAK THROUGH
Saturday September 9 - Fat Louie's, Brisbane w/ SIBERIAN HELL SOUNDS, EMPRESS
Saturday September 16 - The Crown and Anchor, Adelaide w/ TOMBSEALER, SWAMP LUNG, FAITHEATER
Saturday September 22 - The Old Bar, Melbourne - SUNDR/CASCADES Double LP Launch
Facebook events for the shows can be found here.