Distant Sun – Of Dark Matter (2015) – After about the fifth time listening to this extremely catchy and positively potent power/thrash record, I decided to look up some information on the act and found out that these guys are basically an unsigned two-piece made up of members of Shadow Host and Starsoup, which you should already know were both spotlighted Russian acts here on The Grim Tower. Well, Alexey Markov is back with an incredible new act here in Distant Sun, which caught my attention right from the start. I mean, let’s talk about some of the highlights right now like the thundering thrasher “Prophet Of The Mean 4:56” replete with harsh vocal elements and as good a guitar solo as we would expect from Shadow Host, yet with obvious world music (in this case Arabic) influence from Starsoup.
Then we’ve got “Dark Matter 5:15” which comes off as a groove/thrasher with a powerful solo and very catchy chorus line. It almost sounds like a ballad in that sense, but it definitely works to differentiate the piece from the normalcy that it might have been. Also we’ve got one of my utmost personal favorites, “Matrix Hacked 5:39” which comes in with electrifying lead melodies that stand out even more when the chorus comes in. I’ve listened to this song about ten times since I’ve gotten a digital copy of the promo and it absolutely blows my mind every time. Especially considering that the band hired a phenomenal drummer in Erland “Death Machine” Sivolapov (Fram, Conquest) as a session drummer. But with a performance this good, let’s hope that they’ll keep him on if the band gets signed. And with an album this memorable, who wouldn’t sign them?
Another notable cut is the folk influenced “Gifts Of Journey 3:46” which almost sounds like it was lifted from The Hobbit. It’s not something you’d expect to hear on this kind of record, but in the words of judge Mills Lane, I’ll allow it! But I’m not finished yet, folks. “Healer Of Souls 5:01” sounds like it might be a Load-era Metallica stab, but if you’ll listen closer it gets a little more interesting. Especially when the chorus comes in and truly dazzles in front of a set of strong lead riffs.
The last cut on the album is also memorable to me, but for a rather comical reason. It kind of reminds me of a superhero, especially in the chorus. I guess I’m sort of reminded of the Mega Man X character Zero in it’s almost Saturday morning cartoon show theme (albeit vulgar) style chorus. The song actually has some rather strong lyrical lines though, as does the rest of the record. There’s no doubt about it, these guys can play and it doesn’t matter what kind of band they’re in… and The Grim Tower notices every time.
If you’re looking for truly recallable power/thrash with both the thrash and power metal elements melding together in perfect harmony, in addition to worthy leads and solos, then you’ll be very happy with this one. Don’t forget about those choruses, which are still reverberating in my head. Dark Matter is definitely an album that sounds just as awesome as the cover art looks, which makes it an absolute must in my opinion. We at The Grim Tower highly recommend Dark Matter. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to back and listen to “Matrix Hacked” again. Because that song is so fucking awesome, as is the rest of this disc.
(10 Tracks, 47:00)