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Sumerlands - 2016 Sumerlands

ARTIST: Sumerlands
ALBUM: Sumerlands
LABEL: Relapse Records
YEAR: 2016


LINEUP: Arthur Rizk - guitars, synthesizers, mastering * Phil Swanson - lead vocals * John Powers - guitars * Justin DeTore - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Seventh Seal * 02 The Guardian * 03 Timelash * 04 Blind * 05 Haunted Forever * 06 Spiral Infinite * 07 Lost My Mind * 08 Sumerlands


WEBLINKS: Sumerlands FB Page

Occasionally I get reminded about how the hard rock and heavy metal industry keeps delivering the goods time and time again. Even in the latest year of our Lord: 2016, new bands keep arriving on my virtual doorstep and continue to keep blowing me away like Florida hurricanes with names derived from the alphabet. This time it's American HM band Sumerlands, and thanks once again to RKBLUEZ for alerting me to these guys. You may have seen our little teaser on Sumerlands in our Forum section last week, and now we get to listen to their majestic self-titled debut in all it's glory.

The main guy here is producer and guitarist Arthur Rizk, who knows a thing or three about heavy metal. Though his major kudos have been in the underground metal scene, the Sumerlands project is more about traditional 70's and 80's HM, and I guess this hits home for most of the guys in the band who were bought up on large doses of Black Sabbath, Dio and Fates Warning, as an example. And you hear this in the Sumerlands debut track listing, which is turning a few heads in the 2016 metal scene as we speak.

The Songs
Sumerlands kick it off with the impressive 'Seventh Seal', which has its roots in the 80's. Great start. 'The Guardian' is an off-take of early 80's Queensryche, quite moody, but Sumerlands really shine on the fast paced trio of 'Timelash', 'Blind' and the awesome 'Spiral Infinite', though the last track, the self-titled 'Sumerlands' was a strange at-times cinematic affair laden in murky soundscapes and disturbing ambience.

In Summary
For me though, the best comparison I can make are Swedish metallers Hellfueled, who themselves are hugely influenced by Ozzy Osbourne. There are slabs of guitar power all over this disc. If I can say though, the production sounded a bit murky overall, while the drum-work suffered from a tub-thumping mix. I enjoyed Phil Swanson's vocal work, though it did sound like at times he was a Satanic Grand Master giving a sermon to his disciples. As a debut, 'Sumerlands' is pretty good, and worthy of a listen if underground metal is your thing.

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