Taken By the Sun hasn't been the most active band when it comes to productivity. After a five song demo EP in 2013 the band has been relatively quiet. And while their hometown in the Windy City is a pretty bustling place for other greats like Weekend Nachos or Indian, it seems that Taken By the Sun have been more meditative in assembling their twisted self-titled debut.
There's something to be said for the insane flux of nuance mash-ups and general genre bending that modern bands proceed to push forward. Somewhere, sometime along the way people thought it was a good idea to hit the puree switch and throw in everything under the sun and stars. Though there have been bands that have exercised an incredible flow of sounds throughout their histories, the better ones have always had a tendency to exercise control. Knowing what one can get when a band advertises as being five, six or seven different things can raise a lot of red flags.
What's going to decide your, well, take with Taken By the Sun is going to be your tolerance and attraction to the aforementioned puree. The band draws in multiple influences from jazzy sections, atmospheric doom/sludge bits, and shoegaze. What Taken By the Sun nail is their ability to ground themselves and fall back on their strongest sounds: the ability to crush and drone. The energy of the band is breathtaking. If the opener “Scars” has anything to say about your next forty-two minutes with the band, it's that there's going to be plenty of teeth gnashing stomps and dream-like sweeps.
The band's ability to hook you with a simple song or interlude is something impressive. Just when you think you can switch a track or feel like you're ready to move on you're getting drawn in by the soothing leads and melodies of tracks like “Fuse.” There is seldom a section or portion of song that stands out as truly boring or uninteresting. Couple that with heart-stomping bits and sludge-laden pieces like “Red,” which features an excellent guitar section that continues to swell in intensity, and a shadow of Isis and Alchemist emerges.
If there's anything Taken By the Sun is guilty of, it's letting some sections over-extend. Taken By the Sun is only eight tracks and clocks in at forty-two minutes. Despite it being an otherwise great song, the track does feel a padded out. The shoegaze element can also play in to the album's disadvantage bring on the element of sleep more than than that of interest or swelling emotion.
Taken By the Sun haven't set out to reinvent the wheel and aren't presenting anything particularly original. Taken By the Sun is a very strong piece though. The aggressive vocal delivery of Kris Ziemlo is simply staggering. His vicious throat ripping screeches sound like they're gushing blood at times, and oftentimes bring to mind vocalist Brian D of Catharsis. Mix that with guitars that sound more like they cut than crush and bass/drums that boom without sounding obnoxious. This is absolutely worth checking out if you dig bands like the aforementioned Isis, Alchemist, and, yeah, even Catharsis on some levels.
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