Extreme music is an odd and fickle thing, constantly changing and moving through various trends and phases, constantly picking one subgenre has it’s acceptable choice to get in to the group, before slowly fading them into the background of life when it becomes apparent. You then name drop the band, letting people know that you knew and liked a certain band and a certain type of music before it was cool, making you cool for a time, until ultimately that band falls behind the curve, leaving you to find another band and another subgenre to exploit for selfish gains. I mention this because we are all guilty of it, and at the same time, it is the way we expand as people, learning about new ideas and bands, and help to create cornerstones for what we create ourselves.
Sunflo’er was created by Jimmy Doran (bass), Ethan Shantie (drums), and Carter Jones (guitar), with all three handling vocals. The band used to be a 5 piece, but these three are the core and central players of the band, helping to form the band’s sound. They have released an LP titled “1963,” a few EP’s and songs to a few tribute albums (including ones for Helmet and Pink Floyd!), and now are set to release their newest LP “No Hell.”
“No Hell” is hard to explain and hard to contain really. It is a throwback to when hardcore and extreme music was bands trying to say so much on an album and show that they have more influences than the ones they wear on their sleeves. This type of variation creates a schizophrenic vibe, with the members of the band singing individual verses or singing entire songs all at once and the music changing deftly. The vocals are a chorus one hears when possibly having minor dementia or psychosis. Goddamn, it works. It creates a massively frenetic feeling out of every song, a sense of urgency, of need to say what is said. I guess I should have expected this with grindcore fanatic Topan Das at the helm of the mixing board and helping to steer this band in a direction.
The album continuously moves through various genres, all while staying firmly rooted in a genre of hardcore. It ebbs and moves between various types of music and sounds, going from spastic d-beat, grind, hardcore, and math metal. It is a battleground of genres, rooted firmly in the hardcore genre: spastic and well done, tight while loose feeling, serious with a bit of fun and sly smiles. This album name drops other bands with its performance, but does so not as pride that they know more than anyone, but as pride that they had great influences.
The weak point about this is that the album can be overwhelming if you are not used to this genre of music. Their work is piecemeal but flows, working well together and definitely showing. There are times when you can tell the band wrote parts individually. That is not to say there are not catchy tracks, with the song “San Kalpa” being stuck in my head for what seems like forever, rearing its ugly head in the most ridiculous of times and events ( I sang it while waiting at court this week.).
But in all seriousness, this is a throwback and it seems to be what the genre used to once offer, with the musicians having a knack for writing everything under the sun, but letting it have a fast and loose feel that may be needed overall. An album that was heavy without needing to be “br00tal and fucking flashy technical or overly complicated. It is also the throwback that seems to be needed for this day and age. An ADD fueled bender throwing music in a blender and doing it very well while nodding to their influences and showing that they can do anything, while deciding to walk their own path and giving all naysayers a big ole middle finger.
It is a fantastic effort and one that shows that there was time spent on it. There are a few blemishes on the album, the main one being stated before that it can be overwhelming and can be disjointed. But the good totally outweighs any bad as this…this is a band bringing the goods and can back themselves up with the chops to fucking prove it.
Release Date: September 28, 2018
Label: Noise Salvation Records
Favorite Songs: Loup Garou, San Kalpa, Dead Letters Sent
For Fans Of: Circle Takes The Square, La Dispute, your own disconnected and disjointed voices that consist of things called “thoughts”