Saturday, March 13, 2021

Full Length Review: Sullen "Nodus Tollens – Act 1: Oblivion" (Blood Blast Distribution) by Dave Wolff

Band: Sullen
Locaton: Porto
Country: Portugal
Genre: Progressive metal
Full Length: Nodus Tollens – Act 1: Oblivion
Format: Digital album, digipak CD
Label: Blood Blast Distribution (digital subsidiary of Nuclear Blast)
Release date: March 5, 2021
Sullen play an eclectic mix of several different genres, assembling them in a manner that seems aberrant. irrational and schizophrenic but works in its own way. By its very nature their music represents the cognitive dissonance created by years of contradictory input from without, and a near desperate search for a new direction of one’s own choosing. Their debut recording “Post Human” (2015) was a journey into dementia and lunacy, as a test run of sorts for what was to come later. “Nodus Tollens – Act 1: Oblivion” represents the dementia and lunacy found at the end of the journey, and its extent once you’ve been there for an extended period. To experience the full weight of this you need to listen to both these albums back to back, paying close attention. Progressive metal, melodic death metal, jazz metal and math metal are woven together in a kind of dystopic tapestry with clean production that presentably allows you to hear every overt and subtle nuance of Sullen’s songwriting. This is an album that’s accessible to more than one audience without compromising any of the band’s originality. Bands like Voivod, Meshuggah and Extol are held in high personal regard by many metal fans for taking anti-commercial routes and drawing from sources most underground bands would have considered unthinkable. While Sullen aren’t drawing from genres presently untouched, they look to more explored and time-tested formulas, connecting them in areas that other musicians either hadn’t thought of or didn’t think would have been feasible, making them work so well those musicians would likely kick themselves for not trying sooner. From spin to fake news to the chaos of Trump America to the current crisis caused by the Covid pandemic, Sullen write to demonstrate how media and politics have impacted us in the last ten years, from their perception of the world. Conceptions of matter and spirit are shown in conflict, perceptions of reality clash and generate an endless stream of confusion and disorder going far beyond alienation and arriving closer to hallucination and psychopathy than most albums I’ve heard til now. It’s too easy to lose yourself in Sullen's maze of songwriting, but any turn in this maze will somehow bring you back home in the end, and maybe you’ll be thinking about the world a little differently. –Dave Wolff

David Pais: vocals
Pedro Mendes: guitars
André Ribeiro: guitars
Ricardo Pinto: bass
Marcelo Aires: drums, percussion, keyboards

Track list:
1. The Prodigal Son
2. Skylines (featuring Ole Børud)
3. Soul Interrupted
4. Acheronta Movebo
5. Memento
6. Human
7. The After
8. Fail-safe

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