Taken By the Sun
Taken By the Sun
It has all the earmarks of a local metal scene: certain venues with a reputation for featuring the best local metal, promoters who arrange shows not only for money but for the love of the bands they promote, and enough bands to make sure Chicago’s metal audiences have enough local metal to keep them interested. Many subgenres are represented in this Chicago scene, from doom to djent and every microgenre in between. But it seems fair to say that within the city limits itself, a dominant tradition has emerged from the influence of bands like Minsk, Pelican, and Russian Circles and from the production sensibilities and attitudes of local metal hero Sanford Parker. Called post metal, stoner metal, doom metal, experimental metal, sludge metal, or some combination of those and other descriptors, these bands have influenced their neighborhood devotees to make crushing, massive metal which is at once modern yet rooted in vintage tones and textures. Standing squarely in this tradition, yet seeking to move it forward, is Taken By The Sun. The songwriting sensibilities of guitarist Patrick Auclair (ex-Fire Is Born) and drummer Nicholas Lorenz form the core of the band’s sound: thick, wooly, often atonal riffs over polyrhythmic beats.
No doubt Auclair and Lorenz seek to challenge listeners and aim to show technical prowess. But Taken By The Sun’s songs always bring relief and closure out of chaos. Take, for example, the conclusion of “Demons Tempt The Dying Man With Crowns.” It is a classic, massive stoner riff which shows their debt to an Isis or a Neurosis. But it is all the more satisfying as it emerges from the mathcore complexity and tonal experimentation which comprises the majority of the song. The throaty roar of frontman Kris Ziemlo should, in one sense, be familiar and comfortable to listeners of various post-metal subgenres.
But a closer listen reveals a distinguishing characteristic: Ziemlo’s scream sounds a bit more modern than say, Aaron Turner’s (Isis) or Steve Von Till and Scott Kelly (Neurosis). Tonally, a listener might expect to hear Ziemlo’s scream in a metalcore or deathcore band. The juxtaposition of the modern textures of his voice over Taken By The Sun’s vintage fuzz-based guitar sound provides a new experience for those familiar enough with the genre to perceive it. Guitarist Mark Cichra and bassist Bill Arroyo (both ex-Denial Machine) each bring their own performance and composition sensibilities to the band’s sound. Cichra has a distinct preference for melody, which he uses to provide the aforementioned breathing room in the band’s otherwise dense, complicated songs.
Arroyo has a jazz background; fans of Intronaut’s Joe Lester will recognize a similar approach to bass performance in Arroyo, whose basslines seek to provide the correct complement for each song: complex but subtle and never inappropriate. Taken By The Sun seeks to make the magnitudes of tension and relief in its sound even more prominent through its live show. Typical of post-metal genres, the music is best experienced live, where audience members can not only hear but feel and see the force of this band, and likewise feel and see the relief provided by the band’s digressions away from this forcefulness. The band members especially enjoy performing with their peers in the Chicago metal scene. It is exciting to see so many musicians expending such great effort to explore the possibilities of metal as an art form.
It is this effort which defines the Chicago metal scene; it is an effort with which Taken By The Sun are proud to be involved. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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