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Distant Sun: Dark Matter

The biggest surprise about Dark Matter being a Russian power metal act, is that it's still a surprise to find a Russian power metal act at all. After all, metal seems to be pouring forth right across the planet now and somehow this sabre rattling style seems a perfect fit for a country long known for its aggressive posturing and bravado.

First impressions are good, the cover art classic power metal sci-fi fantasy, a masked god seemingly holding the universe at his beck and call. And equally, once the disc hits the player, its first strains make a grab for you that suggests good times ahead. Iced Earth and Strange Highways era Dio spring to mind, although with a harsher guitar attack and snarling vocals from Alexey Markov (who also handles guitars) there's also the merest hint of Pantera. "Kill The Fremen" provides proof that Distant Sun can romp with the best of them and chant choruses barbarian hordes would be proud of.

The album's title cut reveals a chink in Markov's vocal armour, the slower pace not suiting his less cultured attack. However when the guitar solo kicks into top gear, bassist Artem Molodstov (who also handles guitars) brings a biting, brooding bottom end, as drummer Erland Sivolapov (who, believe it or not, doesn't handle guitars) matches him all the way. From there the attack on "Godsdoom" veers between an almost extreme metal outlook and the flaggons of ale chanting of pirate metal (me hearties…), something "Gifts Of Journey" confirms, but this time in a jaunty band of minstrels sort of way. If nothing else it shows that Distant Sun understand that an album needs pacing and variation to maintain its momentum, but these less obvious sections do feel a little shoe horned into place. There's also little doubt that through "Apocalypto", "Zero To Hero" and "Matrix Hacked" these Russians realise that it is the forceful end of the scale where they make their most lasting mark – even if the more overtly melodic "Healer Of Souls" does manage to convince through its easier approach.

It would be hard to suggest that Distant Sun are, at this stage, as accomplished as any number of other Euro power metal exponents. Yet, in a way, it's the simplistic and individual take on an overly crowded genre that helps Dark Matter stand out. It's early days for Distant Sun, but on this evidence, their future looks brighter and less remote than their name suggests.

Track Listing
1. Prophet of the Mean
2. Kill The Fremen
3. Dark Matter
4. Godsdoom
5. Matrix Hacked
6. Shattered Empire
7. Gifts Of Journey
8. Apocalypto
9. Healer Of Souls
10. Zero To Hero

Added: November 28th 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Distant Sun on Facebook
Hits: 1076
Language: english

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