Rusting Sun [Germany]
Behind the Shadows
Black Devastation Records
Rusting Sun is a new band out of Germany, playing black metal with numerous avant-garde references in their songwriting style. Behind the Shadows is their debut full length album, released under the same label that brought you bands like Wolfsschrei. Having already heard the more aggressive side of German black metal in the form of bands like Endstille, finally getting a chance to listen to more expressive and emotional black metal was definitely in a way welcoming, taking a break from all the themes of war and chaos that their countrymen prefer.
Titled simply I to V, Behind the Shadows presents listeners with 40 minutes of an emotional black metal journey. As the album opens with I, the atmospheric aspect of the music of Rusting Sun is immediately obvious, with the heavy atmosphere and ambience that shrouds the music. The vocals of Taaken (who also handles drum duties) alternate between a desperate howl and growls, while the clean vocals of guitarist Coldfog adds a separate emotional dimension as well. I breaks off unexpectedly in the middle of the track, with all the instruments suddenly going silent, almost leading the listener to mistake it for the beginning of the next track, but it is only a display of one of the band’s many transition from more aggressive/conventional black metal into softer, acoustic sections, bringing the listener through a more calming and soothing journey.
Instruments-wise, there is little wankery or particular attempts to display the abilities of the individual members, as all focus is placed in ensuring that Behind the Shadows remains an emotional journey for the listener without having to try too hard to figure out what the individual members are doing on their instrument. Subtle lead guitar lines on tracks like II are almost hidden behind the heavy presence of the rhythm guitars, though these lead guitar lines end up complementing the mood of the music rather than steal the limelight. The mournful melody on V is also further proof of the usage of lead guitars on the album. The vocals of Taaken and Coldfog are also utilised as additional instruments of the band to push their message of their music further, and this is certainly with positive results, as they manage to bring out and emphasise the desolation that is felt in the music, and this is especially evident on V. The sorrowful sound of the violins of A.D.D. on IV further pushes that emotional edge. Finally, there is also the heavy usage of a piano on V, and while it provides a soothing effect, it is hard to ignore the sadness that in emanates at the same time.
The band also incorporates some progressive elements in their music, such as the slightly awkward introductory section of II, though the awkwardness quickly blows over as the song progresses. There are even some melodic death metal moments on IV, providing some variation in the music. However, there are times when drummer Taaken get slightly off-beat, though moments like these are few and do little to affect the enjoyment of the album, making Behind the Shadows a commendable debut effort.