Hey there tech fiends, it's that time of the week again. Once again, I've got another sick exclusive for your ears today, and for the next three weeks to come so be sure to check back each Tuesday. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual weekly reminder that if you're looking for even more sick bands, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
I'm very happy to bring you an exclusive early stream of Sutrah – Dunes today, not only due to it being an impressive slab of progressive minded tech death but also because the band holds a special place in my heart. Their 2015 two song Demo was one of the very first bands and releases I covered here in this space about two years ago. Even then I could tell they had a unique sounding going on, so it's cool that things have come full circle and here we are talking about them again now that their debut album is set for release this Friday.
The project was started by guitarist Claude Leduc, whose playing many of you all heard on last year's Chthe'ilist album as he is a member of that band. Claude then joined forces with bassist Alex Bao and vocalist Laurent Bellemare to form the core of the band. Joining them on Dunes on session drums is none other than the supremely talented Frenchman Kevin Paradis of Svart Crown fame. Some of you may also have heard his drumming on another fantastic 2017 tech-death album, Virulent Depravity – Fruit of the Poisoned Tree.
In a way, it's nice that both "Effervescence" and "Akrasia" from their initial 2015 demo are present on Dunes, but as someone who knows them well, it doesn't add anything new to the experience for me. The same could be said for the albums two short interlude type instrumentals which come across pretty much like filler, and likewise, do not add any real value to the album. So for me, it's more like 4 new songs instead of the full eight listed. But, that's not an issue per se for the bulk of people checking this release out who won't already know those two 2015 songs and jammed them endlessly as I have. Your feelings on the instrumentals may differ as well, but I can at least acknowledge and understand their purpose as ways to break up the space and flow of Dunes which is otherwise full of incredibly dense songs and could use a short interlude from time to time as such.
Those four fully new songs though are so jam-packed with complex ideas and endless creativity that buying Dunes just for them alone is absolutely worth it. In total, the four completely new songs (excluding the two short instrumentals) adds up to over 35 minutes of incredible material, and it's certainly the best portion of the music on Dunes. And for everyone else, Dunes will be an even better experience hearing all of this as fresh new material. In essence, what you get on Dunes is a band crossbreeding the more atmospheric and atonal side of technical death metal like Gorguts and Ulcerate with more conventional influences like Beyond Creation, mixed with some progressive death metal elements that remind me of the legendary group Martyr. The combined sum is composed on an epic scale, the sheer scope and weight of the mammoth-sized tracks here are astounding to behold.
Dunes is an ambitious release, frequently jaw-dropping and mesmerizing, and definitely one of the more impressive debut albums I've heard from an up and coming act in awhile. My only real complaint is that the few clean sung parts on two of the songs don't sound very good and come across rather jarring and ill-fitting. But that's a minor quibble I can easily overlook with how damn sick the music is from start to finish as a whole. So jam our early exclusive stream below, and if you dig what you're hearing, Dunes can be pre-ordered through the Sutrah Bandcamp page. Be sure to follow Sutrah over on their Facebook page as well.