Released: 2017, STB Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Like the suffocating heat of a South Florida morning in August, the 8 songs on Shroud Eater’s long overdue sophomore full length STRIKE THE SUN radiate with stiflingly heavy sonic weight. Consistent with the Miami trio’s body of sludgy EPs and splits, STRIKE THE SUN revels in murky, speaker cabinet rumbling jams, but ups the ante on the uncomfortable, darker tones teased on the “:th:ree: :cvrses:” single from earlier this year.
Following a dreamy King Woman-esque buildup, the hulking riff that opens “Iron Mountain” straight up knocks the wind out of your chest. The tune slowly drags itself forward from a primordial crawl into a piston like charge, all the while slowly enveloping you with the vocals of Jeannie Saiz and Janette Valentine, like a python smothering its prey. I’d call that a pretty good start. Other tracks like “Awaken Assassin” and “It Walks Among” are more traditional wandering in the desert while on psychedelics type stoner explorations, but the band’s use of melody elevates them into so much more. The layers of vocal harmonies that drive the former recall what the Beach Boys might have sounded like if Brian Wilson was raised on Black Sabbath, while the latter lets softer atmospherics and wah wah pedals take turns driving the bus. The sinister sounding “Futile Exile” balances roaring distortion with angelic softness and black metal dissonance, while everything in between does a solid job of hypnotizing you with buoyant riffs and Davin Sosa’s relentless percussive salvos.
As much as I love the genre, doom/stoner/sludge/whatever albums are in no short supply and a lot of them are pretty interchangeable; it’s tough to sift the gold from the muck sometimes. But Shroud Eater have delivered a monster record that proves that you can still create new and exciting music in this familiar mold. STRIKE THE SUN is one of the best doom related albums I’ve heard this year so far, fans of the heavy, HEAVY stuff should definitely pay attention and check this out.