Rating: 4.5/5
Distributor: self-released
Released: 2014
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Second to SunBand Lineup

Vladimir Klimov: guitars, misc. instruments
Anton Danilevski: bass
Theodor Borovski: drums

Track Listing

1/ The Trapper
2/ Merämaa
3/ Barmaley


Instrumental bands are always a bit of a tough sell: you either love them or hate them, right? Today’s subject for review are indeed an instrumental band. An experimental/blackened/hardcore instrumental band, in fact. If that combination makes you want to run screaming for the hills – wait! STOP! Lend me your ears for just a few minutes.

Second to Sun are a Russian trio who formed in 2012. Shortly thereafter they released an EP (The Gods’ Favourite Whore) and then an album in 2013 entitled Based On a True Story. This latest EP, Three Fairy Tales, was released just a few months ago, but if their Facebook page is anything to go by, the wait for album number two won’t be long – they have already released new music since this EP’s August release!

Their story is quite exotic sounding, particularly for those of us here in grey old Britain. Their influences, listed on their Facebook page, include acts such as Catamenia, Pryapisme, Suicide Silence – and ‘ethnic Finno-Ugric music’. Goodness, eh?

So what does this all mean in terms of their sound? Well, anyone who read ‘experimental’ and thought ‘floaty and self-indulgent’ would see that thought turned smartly on its head from the opening seconds of track one, ‘The Trapper’. A soft violin intro is stampeded upon by a grinding, pulverising riff that echoes throughout the song, which pulses with black metal’s gloom and power. With its abrupt time signature changes and heavy doses of electronica, this could well be the soundtrack to some terrifying Japanese horror film – one directed by Rob Zombie, that is. An impressive opening salvo, indeed!

Second track ‘Merämaa’ is equally splendid. This highly charged, almost industrial-sounding number rattles along at a punishing pace, with more time signature changes and a HUGE wall of guitar sound. And again, it’s all set to that grinding heaviness.

Last of the ‘Fairy Tales’ is ‘Barmaley’. Its tense intro gives way to blastbeats and cymbals galore, with a modern ‘quiet/loud/quiet/REALLY loud’ pattern employed to devastating effect. Then it’s all siren-like guitars and a pounding outro (if indeed there can be an ‘outro’ in an instrumental song) and it all just…fades to black.

So you see boys and girls, ‘instrumental’ doesn’t always have to equal ‘dull and unengaging’. Second to Sun certainly prove that in spades on this EP. Each song is a short, sharp shock, clocking in at four minutes or less, whilst pulsating with such bruising heaviness that they simply don’t NEED vocals (although we wouldn’t be averse to them giving it a go one day!). In short? Blackened, instrumental perfection.

Review by Melanie Brehaut