What we have here on the Metal Blade debut from Oregon's Across the Sun is an interesting mix of metalcore and symphonic progressive metal, with a touch of death metal thrown in for good measure. Certainly a wild ride, Before the Night Takes Us works on many levels, but not on all. Musically, these guys have some serious chops, especially keyboard player Shane Murray and guitarist Sam Hafer. These two could easily be stars in any prog-metal act, as they deliver a wealth of blazing solos and intricate riffs throughout this album, so much so that at times, were it not for the vocals, you'd swear that this band worshipped the house of Dream Theater or Fates Warning. "Seasons" for instance, has some seriously moody passages to go along with thunderous riffs that remind a little of vintage Fates Warning...that is, until the death metal growls kick in alongside some crushing breakdowns. "Song for the Hopeless" has some wild exchanges between Hafer & Murray, and Shane's keys are always there providing some wonderful symphonic backdrops at every angle. The rhythm team of bassist John Malloy and drummer Alan Ashcraft also do a fine job keeping this bombastic and often times brutal music in line.
That brings us to vocalist Brandon Davis. This guy can basically do it all, from soaring clean vocals, to 'core styled barks & shouts, and even gutteral death metal styled growls. When he's singing to the heavens right next to Murray's majestic keys, you can hear the magic. Unfortunately, on his more extreme, metalcore styled passages, he kind of sounds out of place a bit, but I don't think that's really his fault. The band themselves can't seem to decide who they are here; are they a metalcore group with progressive tendencies, or a prog act that dabbles in exteme metal? A group like Scar Symmetry does this well, but perhaps because they prefer death metal to anything 'core related. Across the Sun show they can do the death metal in a few spots here, and if I were them I'd lean on that more and leave the generic metalcore stuff behind, as they lose a bit of what makes them special when they show too much of that side and begin to sound like everyone else.
All in all though, there's some real talent here and for the most part Before the Night Takes Us contains some killer and quite gorgeous progressive metal with plenty of extreme tendencies.
1. Tipping The Scales 3:15
2. Song For The Hopeless 4:47
3. Seasons 4:56
4. Descent & Discovery 4:04
5. Ghost Of Granduer 4:04
6. Before The Night Takes Us 3:43
7. A Moment Of Clarity 3:20
8. Blessing In Disguise 4:10
9. In The Face Of Adversity 4:21
10. Belay My Judgement 3:45