Review: Days of the Fallen Sun by Junius
While I’m definitely guilty of making snide remarks about reviewing non-metal albums on a metal-centric website, it truly is refreshing when the opportunity arises to dig my ear-claws into something heavy and passionately melodic. (To be clear: I despise metaphor. I have actual ear-claws, to which anyone who has tried whispering a secret to me can bleedingly attest. Yeah. TMI.)
For Junius neophytes, the Boston band is similar to Khoma, Ghost Brigade, or even Deftones in the way that they blend asteroid-impact-heavy music with lilting, clean-sung passages. These are no good-cop/bad-cop conceits, but a complete surrender to the truly talented singer in their midst. Joseph E. Martinez reinvents that bright voice so prevalent in all those British 80s pop bands I didn’t listen to – not sure if they were considered gothy or new wave or whatever – and plants it deep into the guitar rock equivalent of a 3D IMAX experience.
Having released two captivating full-length albums (not counting their first LP combo of shorter recordings) already, now Junius present an easily digested, if curiously constructed, 25-minute EP. The first two songs – “The Time of Perfect Virtue” and “A Day Dark With Night” – were previously published on splits from 2010 and 2011, respectively. Each of the EP’s four songs pairs with an introductory track that occupies between 30 and 60 seconds, each of which could, frankly, have been rolled into the runtime of the song it orbits or discarded altogether. I love the amorphous connective tissue that binds albums like Tool’s Aenima and dredg’s The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion, but I have little patience for the vaguely topical packing peanuts that pad out this EP.
But now that the pet peeves are out of the way – and they truly are minor annoyances – it’s time to clarify what makes Days of the Fallen Sun amazing. Just four succinct tracks (between 3 ½ minutes and 7 ½ minutes at the extremes) lend the EP a focused tenacity of purpose that is quickly grasped and enjoyed. The songwriting on display follows resonant, intuitive pathways that nonetheless harbor idiosyncratic choices and interpermeating layers that suggest blissful sinking and forceful buoyancy simultaneously. There is a glorious tension/release partnership between verses and chorus in “The Time of Perfect Virtue.” “A Day Dark With Night” rides a winding river of percussive rapids, with occasional lulls in speed and volume only to plunge again into roiling spray. The true metal anthem arrives by way of “Battle in the Sky,” which could not have been better named. The song bristles chaotically, opening for razor melodies but also introducing the EP’s only vocal violence. “Forgiving the Cleansing Meteor” – one of the truly great song titles in the history of song titles – sounds like your favorite post-metal superheroes enlisting a superior vocalist/lyricist to spin golden moments out of those eternal crescendos, imbuing with true significance what were once only a means to an end.
A picky listener might wish a lighter finger on the choral synth keys, but a more sympathetic audience might prefer that addition as a pleasing sonic throughline. Whatever small faults Days of the Fallen Sun may have, it remains a strong work by a deserving band. Highly recommended for the discerning ear-claw.