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Sumo Sun

Stamina

Review by Gary Hill
These guys are getting called a prog rock band. I'm not convinced of that designation. Then again, there are parts that fit. Because of that, I'm not going to dispute that connection. There is definitely a lot of grunge in this sound. Mind you, a good chunk of that comes from the vocals which often make me think of Eddie Vedder. These guys also have plenty of metal in their sound. However you slice it, though, this limited edition vinyl release (in two colors) is classy. It comes with a single-sided seven inch to complete the package.


This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Side A

   
Undone

The opening section of this has an intriguing acoustic guitar arrangement over which some modern rock styled vocals are heard. There are hints of space rock that are heard over the top as this cut continues to build. Overall, it's probably more of a mellower alternative rock cut. The other layers of sound are what bring it closer to the prog end of the spectrum. As other instrumental elements rise upward and the vocals do the same around the two minute mark, the proggier things are more prominent. It drops from there to a mellower arrangement to work forward. As it builds out beyond that, it takes on some elements of grunge like Pearl Jam, but there are still some proggy things going on in the mix. It crescendos and drops down to one of the most decidedly space rock oriented parts to work forward. Then another acoustic guitar segment takes over in sort of a rebirth of the piece. We eventually make it back out to some screaming hot hard rocking stuff. This is part metal, part classic rock, part grunge and part space rock. It's all cool. The jamming that takes it to the close is really powered up and much more purely prog rock oriented.

Clever
Space music meets dark alternative rock as this opens. It really feels a lot like Captain Beyond with Eddie Vedder singing as it moves forward. It gets a parental advisory on the lyrics and powers up to much more metallic territory for a time. Then it shifts outward from there to a full on metal treatment. This thing is fierce and so meaty. The mix of sounds here as this works forward really gets into some metallic prog territory. This tune is really a powerhouse jam.
Dread

This comes in with an acoustic guitar based arrangement. Again, the mix is space rock merged with grunge. By around the two minute mark, it has dropped to a particularly intricate and proggy movement. As it works forward from there more of those elements are still at play, but it's a bit more straight-forward. It drops to a mellower section at the end.

Side B
            

Sleep

This comes in with a mellower, more pure space rock arrangement. The vocals still bring a bit of that grunge element, and there is a darkness here. There are things here that bring a real symphonic texture, but within that dark understated kind of vein. This is more pure prog than anything on the first side. It's one of the shortest pieces here at about two and a half minutes in length.

Down

Although this starts with some mellower space, it powers out to something that's fierce and very metallic from there. It's a real screaming powerhouse stomper. Although the bulk of this lands somewhere in-between metal and grunge, the melodic instrumental section seems to bring it more in line with space rock, prog and fusion. Some of the guitar soloing makes me think of David Gilmour just a bit. The extended segment eventually takes it to the end.

The Higher Game

This isn't a huge change from the grunge meets space element that's at play through a lot of this release. This cut stays more in the pure mellow range than a lot of the rest. It's a much more constant piece than a good chunk of the music here is.

Onlooker

More hard rocking, this has a lot of that grungy, metallic sound at play. Around the one minute mark it drops back to a mellower, more purely proggy, section. It continues by gradually working that upward from there. A powered up segment later complete with guitar solo is classy stuff. That gives way to more of a space rock oriented mellower movement. By around the five minute mark we get some more powered up, rather grungy kind of stuff.

One Sided 7"
           
Till It´s Gone
Another hard rocking tune, this has enough prog elements to keep it interesting, but really lands somewhere in between metal and grunge overall. The grind around the four minute mark is a screaming hot metallic jam that works really well.  I love the space rock things that come over the top as this grinds forward later.
 
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