The young Grecian band from Athens Burn the Sun made their mark last year by releasing their debut album Le Roi Soleil via Sliptrick Records. Although the band started releasing songs over a decade ago, only now they have matured enough into a mighty creative force, refining their distinctive style over this time.
Positioning themselves as atmospheric heavy rock band, these Greek guys are clearly being sly and feigning modesty, because there are elements of southern stoner, psychedelic fuzziness, progressive technicality, dirty grunge vibes and some mainstream alt. rock allusions. This versatile stylistic palette surprisingly fits into fifty minutes of time, making you forget about boredom or clichéd moves. No, this album isn’t innovative or overwhelmingly avant-garde; it’s even hard to call it experimental, as it is constructed classically and skillfully blends various musical styles. With a broad range of balanced emotions, Le Roi Soleil is aesthetically complex and mature, while adhering to rock canons and sounding extremely natural. It’s one of those cases when it’s difficult to determine whether it belongs to the modern world or is a nostalgic nod to the good old days. Taking root in the climate-changing and free spirit of the 1960-70s, this album envelops the prime time of 80s heavy metal, blossoming in the realm of dirty grunge and rebellious alt. rock of the 90s.
Burn the Sun spent four years working on this album, striving to bring it to perfection, carefully combining a mishmash of styles into one harmonious whole. Thanks to high-quality arrangements, they succeeded in it, and even all the mood changes don’t sound abrupt and frightening but rather smooth and structured, without breaking the common spirit of the album. All the efforts have paid off in full; Le Roi Soleil is to some extent a unique album – not life-changing, but with its little world that serves as a wonderful example of authentic creativity. With numerous sources of inspiration, they don’t get fixated on sounding like their favorite rock legends, instead polishing their own ideas and embodying them in real and flaming forms.
The album starts lively and dynamically; “Wolves Among Us” sounds somewhat disorderly and noisy, but the positive southern rock vibes neutralize the chaos. The typical alt. rock track “This Crawling Flame” pleases with an acoustic beginning and hints at some progressive touch. They often like to make their choruses more mainstream, expressing emotions vividly. This is particularly clear on “Severance” and the grunge-infused “Siren’s Call”. “Severance” is a very diverse song, rooted in heavy sludge; beginning like a ballad, and consistently highlighting the smartness of prog aura. “A Fist for Crows” undergoes many mood shifts, encompassing contemplative psychedelia in a noisy manner and the frivolity of rock and roll at the same time. There are many bluesy guitar parts on Le Roi Soleil, but their melancholy is smoothed out thanks to a vigorous mix of stoner and country. In a sense, this album can be classified as progressive rock, but not in terms of technicality; it’s more about the classy refinement that constantly flickers in the background in spite of the laid-back style. Nevertheless, the album radiates a kind of relaxed pensiveness, despite its robust energy and dynamic vibrancy. And healthy optimism still hides some notes of melancholy and solitude.
It’s clear to everyone how seriously the guys from Burn the Sun consider their work, willingly spending four years in order to perfect the sound. Such meticulous and careful attention to their craft is really inspiring. Le Roi Soleil, undoubtedly named after King Louis XIV, proves that there are no stylistic limitations and taboos. Even in the 21st century, it’s possible to create something unique and sincere. With one foot buried in classical principles of yesteryear and with the other rising to the heights of a futuristic tomorrow, Le Roi Soleil sounds pertinent among AI computer music as well as in ordinary rural garages in the hinterland of America.
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