Genre: Melodic Death/Doom
I confess that those Athenians The Sullen won me over since the very first listen of the “For Strange Times Ahead” single back in 2019. Since then, the band has released another track, “Trials of the Spirit” – in 2019 as well-, while last May they pulled out “Rituals of Death” which is their debut EP.
I can say with confidence that the same positive first impression remains while listening to the rest of the material and this has to do with the style in which the band chooses to move on with and its undeniable ability to release well-written songs.
The Sullen is a passage to the olden times, it will lead you straight to the early-mid 90’s, when Paradise Lost released their perhaps darkest albums of their career – “Gothic, Shades of God, Icon”, when Septic Flesh‘s Death Metal was also looking for Black Metal outlets through its mystical atmospheres (see their three albums from 1994 to 1997), at a time when much of Europe’s Metal landscape was folding from gray to black.
I really like this alternation in The Sullen riffing, on the one hand almost pompous, rail Black Metal riffs, on the other, mid tempo issues you easily call Doom / Death, while there are also straightforward cleaning reports that will get you up even to “Amok”’s Sentenced.
The keys beautifully color the compositions whenever they appear, as in the small interlude of “Crimson”, although it makes a very positive impression on me that the band sets up its atmospheric points to a large extent using guitars. As for the vocals, they reminded me a lot of Anathema’s second album with this mixture of anger, despair and melody that they bring out.
The material of The Sullen is bleak and this EP release, although with only three tracks (plus two singles), convinced me of many things. It convinced me that the band has found its aesthetics and that it is essentially playing the music it loves. And they do it with talent and attention to the smallest detail.
If you’re looking for this 90’s marriage of Black, Death and atmospheric sound (yes that’s what we called it then), which means that in 1995 you were probably 16 by then, The Sullen is here for you. If you are still looking for a quality and dark proposal in your Metal, regardless of all the above, then The Sullen continues to concern you. Check them out.