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Sunrunner: Sacred Arts of Navigation

As ever when I first listen to a band for review that I’ve never heard of before, the CD goes in the player and the album is listened to before I read the accompanying press release (if the the label have been good enough to include one…). On this occasion, after having heard Sunrunner and their album Sacred Arts of Navigation - a release looking to Native Americans and their culture for inspiration - I must admit that reading the press sheet left me a little confused, because not until I had did the genre ‘progressive rock’ occur to me in connection with what I’d heard.

Further listens have revealed a few flavours in that direction, but more in structure than the sound of what’s laid out here. By that, what I mean is that there are lofty intentions, with each of the songs having multi-part movements, much instrumental interplay and solo spots, and an underlying concept holds the whole album together. Beyond that, this is an 80s metal album with elements of thrash, NWOBHM and, OK, the merest splash of Coheed And Cambria. And there’s nothing wrong with that, other than, for me, the rough and readiness of what’s presented, because the songs themselves lack for cohesion, while the vocals from Bruno Neves seem unable to connect with the music.

The energy of the likes of “Invisible Demon Of Ideology” is undeniable, with a traditional thrash edge bludgeoning intently, and yet, not much about it sticks in the mind - and the vocals when employed in a higher pitch land pretty far from the intended mark. Suddenly a wallop of Sabbath riffing catches the ear, but then it’s gone again, all too quickly, and that’s the real issue here, because there are fleeting seconds of brilliance that never seem to be fully explored. The intro to “Where is My Home” being an uptempo hammer smash of guitars that works a treat but once the song proper starts, the plodding nature undoes much of the good work previously put in.

There is some undoubted promise shown by Sunrunner, but I must admit that it’s just a little too scant for me to be left anything other than disappointed by this album. And at the risk of being harsh, a change of singer might do them the world of good…

Track Listing
1. The Launch
2. Promise of Gold
3. Faraway Worlds
4. Invisible Demon of Ideology
5. Where Is My Home
6. Acadia Morning Ride
7. Obstacle Illusion
8. Dragonship
9. Last Night in Tulum
10. No Mess, No Magic
11. Navigating the Apocalypse

Added: September 21st 2022
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Fast Ball Music
Hits: 256
Language: english

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