Dark Suns – Orange

Germany’s Dark Suns are a band that are nothing, if not ambitiously eclectic. Although I would feel secure recommending them to a fan of adventurous metal or prog rock, it will be difficult to nail down their sound in just a few words. Regardless, over the past decade, the band has released a slew of adventurous but progressively less fierce recordings, and their fourth work Orange does not show a sign of sweat. Infusing a cross-section of modern sounds with vintage progressive rock, Dark Suns’ distinctive style is made memorable by the band’s charm and excellence.

Although there are flashes of the band’s prior heaviness throughout Orange, many listeners may find themselves debating if it should be considered ‘metal’ at all. True enough, Dark Suns is more of a haven for proggers, but when was that ever a bad thing? With the quirk- fuelled opener ‘Toy’, the first thing that jumps out are the rich vintage organs. The guitars are beefy, yet not quite distorted, and while the band’s penchant for time signature-bending and jazzy flourishes could have had me wondering if they knew what decade they were playing in, the music on Orange is consciously aware of what has happened in prog since the ‘good old days’. Similar to the art-laden eclecticism of Pain of Salvation, Dark Suns’ music often switch between the laid back, and energetic sides of their palette.

Although Dark Suns are drawing upon plenty of vintage sounds- including Beatles-era psychedelia- Orange is made modern by a fresh batch of modern styles. Although the influence of metal is made clear in the dark atmosphere and crunchy guitar riffs, post-rock is the most modern trend on Orange. This is not to say that Dark Suns perform strictly ‘post- rock’ passages, but rather that the ambiance and attention to cinematic build-up is worked in with the rest of the sound. Jazz works in much the same way; weaving in and out through the use of freak-out saxophones and inventive chord smithing. In a sense, Dark Suns brings the classic prog sound to the present in much the same way that modern legends Porcupine Tree do; by taking the template and ornamenting it with more recent innovations. Although the music is instrumentally complex and challenging, the diversity and tongue-in- cheek energy makes for a consistently engaging experience. An impressive amalgam of prog rock styles, old and new.

Tracklist:

1. Toy (3:53)
2. Eight Quiet Minutes (3:53)
3. Elephant (4:55)
4. Diamond (3:14)
5. Not Enough Fingers (4:59)
6. Ghost (6:26)
7. That Is Why They All Hate You In Hell (4:31)
8. Vespertine (8:26)
9. Scaleman (5:21)
10. Antipole (14:13)

reOrange acoustic EP with 2CD+DVD edition

1. The Devil Fingers’ Peace (6:21)
2. Megalomaniacs (5:12)
3. The Sad Song of the Elephant Man (5:54)
4. Four Quieter Minutes (4:19)

Total time 21:41

Dear Vintage Demon DVD

1. The Orange Session
2. European Tour Footage 2005

Line-up:

* Maik Knappe – guitars
* Torsten Wenzel – guitars
* Jacob Muller – bass
* Ekky Meister – hammond B3, piano
* Nico Knappe – drums, vocals

guests:
* Evgeny Ring – alto sax
* Govinda Abbott – trumpet

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