Saturday, 24 March 2018

Sunnata - Outlands (Album Review)

Release date: March 23rd 2018. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Outlands – Tracklisting

1.Intro 00:39
2.Lucid Dream 09:18
3.Scars 06:10
4.Outlands 07:37
5.The Ascender 05:34
6.Gordian Knot 04:22
7.Falling (Interlude) 01:37
8.Hollow Kingdom 12:36


Outlands is Sunnata's new album and it sees the band expand their Psychedelic Sludge, Doom and Grunge sound. Outlands is a very complex sounding album and you may not like the album on your very first listen. Outlands is an album that demands your full attention. As the band create complex sounding rhythms that have a certain YOB-esque quality around them. The album also sees the band channel early-era Alice In Chains on certain parts of the album.

The vocals have quite a trance based effect around them especially on the second song - Lucid Dream. The opening track - Intro - is just a forty second interlude before the real journey begins with heavy grunge sounding guitars of Lucid Dream appear. Sunnata take the listener on a mystical journey with the music being channelled at many different psychedelic levels of heaviness and weirdness. The song becomes heavier with Sunnata expressing themselves through the power of progressive rock/metal.

One of the coolest aspects about this album is how Sunnata merge post-rock/post-metal themes and sensibilities with the heavier Doom/Sludge Metal sounds. The standout songs on the album have to be Scars, Outlands, Gordian Knot and the epic sounding Hollow Kingdom. Sunnata constantly challenge not only themselves but also the listener as the album takes so many different turns on the individual songs. I thoroughly enjoyed the Alice In Chains early grunge sounding dynamic of the album. Though Sunnata manage to create this album on their own terms. The vocals are never sound violently harsh though there are a few parts where the vocals do become louder than the music itself.

Sunnata manage to inject a few Middle Eastern psychedelic sounds on the album and especially on the title track - Outlands. The production is superb with the whole feel and sound of the album being first rate from the start. The instrumental work is another one of the albums strengths as Sunnata have improved immensely as musicians from their last album. They've created a more complex sound from their previous album and perhaps being more creative with their music. Maybe Sunnata have ventured into their Grunge influences compared to their previous releases. However there is still a lot of heavy Sludge/Doom Metal goodness waiting to be discovered on Outlands.

A lot of people have high expectations for this album and I can say they will be rewarded with a deeply complex and heavy progressive album that you will be listening to over and over again. As Outlands has set the benchmark of what to expect from Sunnata for their future releases. 

Outlands is their most challenging and complete album to date.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for the promo. Outlands is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl now.