Sun Of The Sleepless - To The Elements album review

Heartfelt black metal for when the sun goes down

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A solo venture by Ulf Theodor Schwadorf of German neo-folk duo Empyrium, Sun Of The Sleepless first appeared in the 90s, though there hasn’t been a huge amount of activity until now, this being the project’s first full-length. The increased efforts were justified, though. To The Elements is a slow-growing gem that plays it relatively straight in terms of Northern European second wave black metal, with plenty of 90s overtones and emotion within the compositions. But that isn’t to say it’s entirely an exercise in conservative nostalgia. Earlier efforts demonstrated a greater mix of traditionalism (Burzum and Darkthrone covers) and post-modern experimentation (use of electronic beats, for example) but songs such as Motions have an undeniable post-black metal feel to them that would go down well with many fans of contemporary US acts. Forest Crown, meanwhile, will appeal more to fans of Ulf’s day job, its acoustic guitars and softly sung vocals proving as emotive as the metal compositions. Organic, heartfelt stuff.