Dark the Suns – Suru raivosi sydämeni pimeydessä Review

Anyone remember these guys? No? Dark the Suns were part of the gothic melodeath wave that came along in the wake of Theatre of Tragedy in the late 90s and early aughts. You’d be forgiven for missing these Finns though, as their output was never all that memorable. They did manage three full-length releases however, with the last hitting in 2010. After that they faded into the Goth ether. Because they never seemed to gain any real traction in their “heyday,” I was rather surprised to see their name appear in the promo sump. So surprised in fact that I was compelled to find out what could have brought the band back after 10 long years in the grave. Turns out, after a bunch of spins of fourth album Suru raivosi sydämeni pimeydessä, I still don’t know. This is more or less the same third-rate stuff the band was churning out during their original run, sounding like a less cheeky Crematory mixed with a far less polished version of Eternal Tears of Sorrow. This was not a recipe for success in 2007, nor is it any more viable in 2021. Some things just never come into fashion.

We’ve all heard this kind of music before, and when done properly it can be impactful. Opener “Spirit in the Dark” reminds me of any number of successful acts within the genre without ever approaching them in quality. Death metal roars are placed over twinkling Goth keys and classic Finnish melodeath harmonies and things are generally kept upbeat and rocking. It should be more engaging than it is, but it’s such a stock standard take on a tried-and-true style that it just washes right over me. Even the worst of the Crematory material (and they have some really bad stuff) could fall back on a “so bad it’s good” aesthetic. There’s no such failing grace here. Cuts like “Everywhere” and “Hope in Our Hands” lean hard on Eternal Tears of Sorrow symphonic tropes, with bright keys and a spritely, upbeat pace, but only the latter manages to hold my attention, and even then it’s a very near thing. The title track ups the stakes with a more aggressive attack featuring jagged, deranged fiddle lines that sounds like they belong in a horror film, but it ends up more annoying than effective.

There are a few moments that almost reach the level of solid, like the aforementioned “Hope in Our Hands” and “Storm of Fire,” which approaches Draconian territory with female vocals and choral sections, but in the end it all remains consigned to second fiddle status. Closer “Enkelsiipi” also has elements working in its favor with heavier riffs and deeper death grunts, but it’s still a case of “heard it many times before by better acts.” The rest of the album offers little to remember it by and though no song is outright terrible, none are going to demand replay by the average metal fan. Add to the writing woes a muddy, soupy mix that submerges the vocals under a layer of audio muck while bringing the keys too far forward, and you have an uninspiring platter of material in desperate need of an sonic overhaul.

Though once a full band, Dark the Suns is now a twosome, composed of founder Mikko Ojala on vocals, guitar and drums, and Inka Tuomaala on bass and keyboards. Mikko has a serviceable croak, but his riffs are rather pedestrian, rarely sticking out or grabbing your attention. There are a few decent harmonies scattered about, but it’s the keyboards and symphonics that usually end up grabbing the spotlight for better or worse. The keys themselves are overly present and in your face and the symphonics are more annoying than enhancing. It’s all very rote with little capable of shaking some proper melancholy into your sadboi/girl soul. I listen to this and I’m never once forced to face the dark winter of my broken soul. If I’m not getting that experience, why am I standing out here in the goddamn snow in the first place?

After a decade of inactivity, Dark the Suns has returned to form. That’s admirable for consistency sake if little else. I can see this playing in a dark Goth nightclub where little attention need be paid to it, but other than that I don’t see much utility here. If you’re a true Goth melodeath freak and hard up for new material, feel free to add a .5, but no more. Winter is not coming.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Inverse Records
Websites: darkthesuns.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/darkthesunsofficial
Releases Worldwide: April 9th, 2021

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