Hey there, tech fiends. It's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual weekly reminder that if you're looking for even more sick bands to hear, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
Every year, each of us has at least a couple of releases from bands we love that we're really looking forward to. For me, Sunless – Ylem, out this Friday, October 29th through the always excellent folks at Willowtip Records, is among that group. With that in mind, it's an honor to help the group with an early album stream today here in this space just as we did last time for their 2017 debut album, Urraca.
If you're new to the group, Sunless is a Minneapolis-based trio playing a very exciting take on dissonant technical death metal spliced with a fuckton of dissonant black metal influences and driven by what feels like a progressive and or experimental focus depending on your perception of their out-there music. If a more specific frame of reference helps, think Baring Teeth, Artificial Brain, or maybe Ad Nauseam and you'll be somewhat close to the ballpark of what Sunless is about. Although I wouldn't say that Sunless sounds like those groups in a specific sense, the idea of deeply focusing on creating a unique brand of music in this style along with an organic production style does bring those bands to mind along with moments here and there where it at least seems like solid points of reference musically.
On Ylem, Sunless continues to create incredibly dense yet not wholly impenetrable music, material that is chaotic and heavy and groove-laden while not feeling utterly disorienting in a dizzying way in spite of its endless shifts and transitions. And yet it's such an odd and fucked up experience in spite of not being as inaccessible as many in this style are, which makes it a hard nut to crack even for people well versed in this type of music. Ylem really is a release that's best heard alone with your full attention, explored endlessly to really absorb the full breadth of what's going on, and then dissected and discussed with others afterward. For those who really dig into it and find comfort in the strange eight soundscapes that make up the album, you may very well find yourself agreeing that Ylem is one of the best releases of 2021.
For a bit more information about the release, it was cool to have Sunless share with us that "Ylem is our first album on Willowtip Records. As with our previous album, Urraca, we recorded in Minneapolis with Adam Tucker, mixed and mastered with Colin Marston in New York, and collaborated with Andrew Notsch on concept, lyrics, and artwork.
It's a transitional album for us. We had a lineup change midway through the writing process which altered our approach to composition. As a result, there are more varied contributions from each member."
Without a doubt, Sunless – Ylem will be ranked as one of the best technical death metal releases of the year. So be sure to check out our early full stream of the album at least five times at a minimum through the Bandcamp Embed below. There's no way you can really even begin to absorb Ylem until you get a couple of spins in so don't play this once and let that be the end of how you view it. You can pre-order the album through the label's website and through Bandcamp. You can also follow the band over on the Sunless Facebook Page.