Behind the Sun - Post SolisWe live in an age where trends tend to follow a very specific curve thanks to high-speed propagation and market saturation. Djent is no exception. The first stage is inception. A creator comes up with an idea, shares it, and becomes ground zero. Sometimes this is subtle and hard to trace back, sometimes it’s Meshuggah. When it catches on it enters the “new kid on the block” stage, where the trend is new, everyone still loves it (yes, Frank, except for you), and plays around with it. Bands like SikTh and Periphery exemplify this stage. Soon the sheer amount of exposure, copycats, and general reduction of dead horses to a fine red mist means the trend becomes vile and repulsive to everyone but the most die-hard fans, and it falls out of favor. After the crash, the trend usually gradually gets back to its feet and finds an equilibrium where it’s used sparingly and appropriately. This is where Behind the Sun comes in.

Let me preface that I am no fan of djent, so I’m hardly an expert. But I certainly recognize the common complaints as paralleled to my own general dislike of the genre. When all the riffs are similarly stuttering palm-muted chords, you’re gonna lose me fast. But Behind the Sun combine progressive death and djent in smart amounts, weaving between the oft-maligned high-gain chugs and more melodic riffing, gaining heaviness without succumbing to the monotone, glassy-eyed boredom afflicting many of their contemporaries.

There are a few stumbling blocks, however. The vocal style most used is a dual layer of harsh hardcore screaming and a deeper sludgy growl. While it sounds positively demonic at first, the lack of pitch variation and overuse of the concept causes diminishing returns fast. While opener “The Fall” kicks off excitingly with all guns blazing, its almost nine-minute length is on the high side, and a more clearly defined structure on each track would certainly benefit the songs to stand apart and stand out more. “Periapsis” is the most given to djent strumming and is consequently the weakest track with the fewest surprises, despite the intriguing plucking in the intro.

Behind the Sun 2017But, the musicianship is undeniable and overcomes the weaknesses with grace and ease. The lengthy instrumental section in the middle of the opener runs through thrashy riffs, melodic finger-tapped solos, a progressive segment with a surprising swing and the kind of heavy tremolo riffing commonly associated with blackened death. The drumming throughout the album is precise and diverse and is accompanied by the solid use of bass. There’re only four real tracks on here (“Scrawlings of the Architect” is an interlude) but the number of ideas presented in each song makes the EP feel like a complete, if short, album. As the cherry on the cake, the production is surprisingly solid, not falling too hard for the trappings of the Loudness War, and featuring a powerful mix with audible bass and forward drums.

Post Solis won’t be heralded as the EP that saved djent from eating itself alive. It’s certainly not flawless in structure and vocals. But through solid musicianship and clever genre jumping, Behind the Sun have demonstrated themselves to be past the “crash and burn” stage of the trend curve. If you look upon djent the way I look upon cilantro (even a little bit ruins the meal) you won’t see your mind changed here. Others will find this a solid chunk of music, and hopefully, a herald of better things yet to come.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-released
Websites: bhndthsn.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/bhndthsn
Releases Worldwide: March 10th, 2017

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  • DrewMusic

    SikTh have been kicking ass since 99, though they did take a 5 year break before returning in full force. Either way, I’ve always lumped them in more with Meshuggah than Periphery, as they are pretty decidedly un-new. Also, SikTh have always been one of the more unique bands in modern metal, period, certainly leaps ahead of any djeneric, sphere-adorned little bastards named after a Meshuggah song (ooooh, and they self-titled the album in Latin, brilliant!)
    This actually isn’t even bad, I’ve just been bitter over SikThs lack of due credit for years and haven’t had a cigarette yet today. It’s entirely possible that, a couple steps closer to cancer later, I’ll be able to forgive these philistine philosophies and resume my status quo of Mildly Agitated Metal Guy without even remembering… what was I talking about?

    • AgonMcDuck

      The Latin’s not even correct though, haha. Solis is the wrong case to use–you want the accusative case, so it should be something like Post Solem. :P

      • DrewMusic

        That’s right, feed my spite with knowledge! I’m citizens arresting their rating, 2.5 it is.

        • AgonMcDuck

          Haha, glad the few years I spent studying Latin have been good for something after all.

          Also, forgot to say this in the past comment, but SikTh rule. Funny thing is that some people assume that just because I’m a mathematician I’m a super fan of djent. While I do like some bands (I had a Sumerian phase a while back), I don’t listen to a whole lot of it–regardless, SikTh is one of the first bands I send them to because they’re so good.

          • DrewMusic

            SikTh rule most unmercifully, and were doing so pre-djent. You’re not missing much by avoiding djent, and listening to SikTh remains an excellent choice on any given day.
            …but not today, it’s snowing so Agalloch.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I still remember Meshuggah being referred to as Thrash Metal. People only started calling them Djent after the “new kids on the block” influenced by Meshuggah started referring to themselves as Djent. Them Meshuggah got lumped together in the same box.

    • DrewMusic

      Meshuggah will always hold a soft but glorious spot in the desolate heap of chaos and spite that passes for my heart. They were my first ever concert, and back when I didn’t even like metal to boot. I went for System of a Down (and P.O.D. if I’m being unnecessarily honest – it was a mini festival-type deal) but left forever in awe of whatever the fuck it was that had just happened once ‘that bald guy’ hit the stage. Much more of an atmospheric/post black metal lad these days, myself, but I will probably never not love Meshuggah.
      Pointless nostalgia aside, thrash was never really accurate for them either, their occupational genre has always been Meshuggah. Some albums are more Meshuggah than others, then there was that one that was all Meshuggah-meets-Meshuggah, and the last one was just straight up Meshuggah, but that’s pretty much it for them genre-wise.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I guess they have to be put in a box. First it was the “Thrash Metal” because there was none better, then it was the “Djent” box likely because most of what gets put there borrows from Meshuggah.

    • GardensTale

      Yeah, Meshuggah doesn’t even totally confirm to the djent characteristics much of the time but it’s rare that a whole trend can be retraced to a single band this way.

    • Wilhelm

      Was this after the TNKoTB reunion? I am ashamed that I dismissed this!

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Oh, I’m talking about some different new kids on the block! ;)

    • Reese Burns

      Up until I was recently corrected, I had them pegged as a tech death band… guess it shows how much I know about djent.

    • Jeffrey Dean

      Meshuggah’s early releases like Contradictions Collapse were pretty thrashy.

  • Wilhelm

    With different vocals and a slightly different sound to the guitars (throw in some kick ass lead work as well) this could be a Testament song.

    I’m not 100% sold on this, but the mastering is very good!

  • brutal_sushi

    This is the most un-Djenty “djent” release… I hear more groove and post elements than time signature weirdness that djent is know for.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I don’t hear much djent on the embedded track.

      • By-tor

        I have the whole EP and until I read this review I wouldn’t have thought Djent. A decent amount of Opeth worship yes, but that’s about it.

  • Gabriel PérezMolphe

    That opening paragraph reminded me of the genres as pejoratives article from amg. The majority of good djent bands are refered to as prog metal (animals as leaders, tesseract, etc) and not djent, usually when a band is named as djent one can expect it to be gimmicky deathcore with weird rhythms and 8 string guitars.

  • Josh

    Personally don’t think the embedded track sounds like djent.

  • Mr T

    Expecting someting completely different soundwise but this was alright. Not djenty.

  • Noobhammer

    Whenever I hear the word dent, I instantly harken back to, what is to me, a classic Townsendian lyric from ‘Deconstruction’: “While we all have lots of bands who influence, still we all rip off Meshuggah”.