Sun Of Gaia, a new band out of Australia, are taking a stripped-down and mostly bare-bones approach to their songwriting with their debut EP “Corrode”. There’s no bells and whistles with this group. They stay true to their style and get straight to the point in crushing fashion, not submitting to over-experimentation. And the style documented here on this six-song EP is progressive melodic death with hints of metalcore peppered throughout.
The black and white cover artwork of an old withered face definitely helps promote the somber and melancholic drive of the music, evident from the very beginning of this starting imprint in the band’s catalogue. The title track (and intro) starts us off with ascending and descending guitar notes that turn to forceful riffs with death growls. “Endless Wake” keeps the momentum of the intro track going with competent and driven guitar work which pushes ahead at a good pace, then goes into a lush and serene guitar passage with slap bass in the background to add a bit of punch, then back to the hard edge. “The Cold” and “Haunted Eyes” lurch forward with little in the way of surprise and plenty of heavy, mournful doom-laden metal. “Blinding Light” sees the band adding synthesizers to help accent (dare I say “brighten”?) the background tastefully and with care. Closing track “And The Clouds Cry” transitions nicely into the synth layering that we heard, but it helps start out the song with a more grandiose approach. This is the longest song on the EP at 8 minutes, and it might best represent their sound as a whole when throwing all ideas into the mix. It takes the same approach of their signature sound but adds a melodic depth to it which helps progress the emotion along at a nice pace.
I’ll be honest in saying that while I appreciate the approach and the band’s songwriting craft, I feel that risk-taking would have been something that could help elevate the sound. Perhaps that’s the exact thing the band didn’t want to do, or they possibly might want to do a more natural sound progression in future releases, but that remains to be seen.
Compositionally, this is put together well. A depressing, technical tone is the main attraction and the most noticeable aspect of the band’s sound. However, the underlying problem for me is that the music sounds a little muddy, in the sense that it’s a bottom-heavy technical approach without any huge surprises. The other thing is that it’s a very guitar-forward sound. While all the instruments are played well and with precision, they’re too overly dominated by the six strings (the drums and bass are mixed down too low for my liking). Maybe I missed out on the somewhat simplistic approach they were going for and wanted a bit more out of the sound. My gut just tells me that if there were a few more ingredients added to the sound, I might have taken to this more.
02. Endless Wake
03. The Cold
04. Haunted Eyes
05. Blinding Light
06. And The Clouds Cry
Playing time: 31:25
Release date: 28 March, 2016
Website: Sun Of Gaia Bandcamp