The beauty of Second to Sun lies in how scathing their sound remains. The St. Petersburg, Russia-based quartet’s music has plenty of what most folks love about metal — churning riffs, eerie moments of atmosphere, pummeling drums, and harsh vocals. And yet all of these are touched by a withering hatred, a sense of acidic darkness that makes the band feel just that much more deadly than so many like them. In this way, it makes sense that Second to Sun hail from a country known for its bitter winters — these guys are making metal for the masses, but they’re not trying to pander to anyone who can’t take the icy gale.
While the band’s upcoming new album may share its name with a much-loved release by Atlanta’s Mastodon, it shares none of that record’s wood-paneled warmth. Instead, Second to Sun’s Leviathan examines the chilling depths in which the beast swims, bringing heavy doses of black metal shadow to the swinging riffs that make up its relentless nine tracks. This doesn’t mean that the band are as nuance-less as early Mayhem and Darkthrone, as evidenced by track titles like “I Psychoanalyze My Ghosts,” “The Engraving of Gustave Doré,” and “Black Death, Spirits, and Werewolves.” It’s just that they never sacrifice the steepled evil and old-world supernatural elements that made black metal so exciting in the first place. These are tracks you can pump your fist and drink beer to, even while they make you think about that famous woodcut of Vlad the Impaler. If you wish Gojira sounded more like Carpathian Forest and vice versa, then look no further — that sound is hear, and it’s just as brilliant as you imagined it would be.
Listen to our exclusive advance stream of Second to Sun’s Leviathan below:
Second to Sun’s Leviathan drops September 29th, and is available for preorder.
Words by Chris Krovatin