Hundred Suns, a 3-piece made amalgam of Every Time I Die, Norma Jean, and Dead & Divine, have finally dropped their eagerly-anticipated debut album. ‘The Prestaliis’ is a cryptic, worthy attempt. It’s one that breaks free of the overshadowing roots and provides a few good barnstormers, but allows a dose of monotony to set in too quickly.
The album lumbers into action with the tremendous title song ‘The Prestaliis I’, which has a clockwork leviathan rhythm and ground-shaking boom to it (despite stretching the number of times that one can say the word “effigy” before it starts to sound really weird). ‘Bedburner’ is another top track, riding in the vanguard on the back of an impassioned riff that provides backing for both verse and chorus seamlessly. After that, however, the rest of the album fails to click into place in the same way.
It’s around mid-track ‘December’ when the band take their foot off the gas and suffer for it, relying on lyrical hooks which fall short; “You make us live / Just like a drug” being the first, but far from the only offender. The unfortunate timing of the lyrics to ‘Hallelujah’, “Say what you want, but hate speaks the loudest / So hate us, louder”, is hardly the band’s fault, but some messages are so strange that you have to wonder why they bothered delivering them in the first place. ‘Infinite Winter’ is intentionally epic and specific enough that there must already be a dozen super-cut Game Of Thrones montages being processed right now on YouTube using it as the backing track.
The production on the record veers awkwardly between ‘The Alchemy Index’ era Thrice and Staind‘s ’14 Shades Of Grey’, providing an inconsistent, throwback vibe that rouses as much nostalgia as it does discomfort. There are moments of fleeting brilliance, like the Coheed & Cambria-esque intro to ‘Reversal’, which rescues the latter half of the record, but the call-back in the closing song ‘The Prestaliis II’ feel redundant given the lack of consistency preceding it.
It’s not fair to say that super groups don’t work, they can be excellent. Hundred Suns have attempted to excite everyone, and have ended up playing it safe without pushing the boundaries that they had hoped to. It will be a qualified success no doubt, the army of fans who raised the $20,000 for the recording will see to that. They won’t be disappointed, but even they might be left wondering what could have been.
Written by Chris Yeoh (@Chris_Yeoh)