Sumac is slduge/post-rock supergroup featuring a trio of phenomenal artists: Brian Cook, bass player with Russian Circles, Aaron Turner, guitarist and singer of Isis, and Nick Yacyshyn, the drummer of crust-punk band Baptists. Formed in 2014, the band declared from the very beginning that one of their main objectives was to play the hardest and heaviest music that could be ever conceived. Today, after three LPs, one EP and another couple of collateral publications, the band has for sure consolidated its position in the world of extreme metal. But to tell the truth, their approach is so unconventional and creative that their style goes well beyond the mere expression of absolute heaviness. Listening to Sumac, however, is not just a walk under the sun.
Let’t consider their latest album, Love in Shadow. 66 minutes of total lenght, four tracks, each one without any hint of a basic structure to guide the listener. We may start listening to a rhythmic section punctuated by heavy chords, which then becomes an hurricane of sounds and distortions with the three artists that seem to play ignoring each other, until we arrive to a more “post-rock” atmospheric moment where all the noise stops and distant echoes of guitar color the scene, and then again a loop of heavy bass and drums, and then again free improvisation, and a final blast of heavyness with all the three instruments playing in unison. In short, it’s not the album that you can put in the music player just to have some nice background, and even the diehard fans of sludge and post-rock could have some issue in getting into it.
On the other hand there is really a huge amount of material and ideas in these four songs, another band could have developed with it an entire discography. For those wishing to approach the album without being permanently damaged, I suggest to start from the third track, Arcing Silver, which is the shortest (only 12 minutes) and – to some extent – the most “normal” song of the album, enriched by interesting references to the works of industrial metal giants such as Godflesh.
Highligths: Arcing Silver and the final track Ecstasy of Unbecoming.