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Sullen: Nodus Tollens-Act 2: Ascension

Sullen is a progressive metal band from Portugal and Ascension is their third studio album, and the second (and last) part of their self-proclaimed Magnus opus Nodus Tollens. The band is comprised of David Pais con vocals, Ricardo Pinto on guitars, bass, piano and backing vocals, André Ribeiro on guitars, and Marcelo Aires on drums, synths and backing vocals. There’s a couple of guest musicians that contribute with some soloing here and there, but the one I would like to emphasize in mentioning is keyboardist Derek Sherinian and his solo on “Devious” which is killer, to die for!

When I listened to Act 1, Oblivion, I remember some Alice in Chains influence, an influence that has been heavily laced with a Tool presence on this occasion, especially in the rhythmic section, a step up from their previous work. I am not fund of growls in my music, but one of the aspects I like the most is Pais’s ability to switch from the calid and clear vocals to the heavy and fat growling, something he does masterfully. This is a good album, every song has some hook/magic to like and remember, the musicianship is at a high level, and it is very well produced, the sound is pristine. The drumming is also phenomenal, Marcelo Aires and guest percussionist Auriel Santos do an outstanding job, and the music is full of clinical arrangements that enhances the listening experience… the guitar riffs are heavy and doomy, and the prolonged bass lines and haunting synths create an atmosphere responsible of casting a spell on the listener. The playing is very technical and complex, but at the same time the music is so melodic that the album becomes immediately accessible and easy to follow, with a continuous flow that starts with the opener song “Locust” and ends before the last track “Darken”, a song I struggle to place within the same concept of the rest, not bad at all, just different from the rest.

My favorite songs are “Headspace”, Devious”, the instrumental “The Longing”, and “Rite of Ascension”, but the whole album is good and, if you like the genre, then it is worth your attention. As the band themselves describe it, it is a musical journey, and not necessarily an immediate one, but the time invested pays back and a lot of great stuff is discovered, there is indeed evident talent in the songwriting, a task they’re getting better at. Cheers.

Track Listing:
  1. Locust (6:44)
  2. Headspace (7:12)
  3. The Calling (3:36)
  4. Devious (7:21)
  5. Stoichiometric (5:55)
  6. The Longing (4:56)
  7. Rite of Ascension (9:47)
  8. Darken (3:42)

Added: January 11th 2023
Reviewer: Jose Antonio Marmol
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 209
Language: english

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