“Chaotic” and “anti-melodic” are the ways that Slug in the Sun describes itself as a band, and they are pretty on-point terms. Those who seek the red end of the volume both aurally and emotionally will find a lot to love in their album Memoirs of Misfortune. It’s a high-octane kid of metal.
There is a lot to love on the album. The second track, “Precious Torment” is by far the stand out track. The band’s anarchic sound is more safely chained here than on the other four songs, and the call-and-response bridge sounds like the members of Kilgore were all put screaming into a giant blender.
It’s also a surprisingly beautiful lyrical track. Lines such as “Waking paralyzed on a bed of glass and rock/Waterboarded by a weeping sky” are just plain inspired. There are a lot of little gems like that hidden under Hector Figureoa’s manic, screeching voice. He clearly has a lot of power and control, but the beauty of some of the lyrical work would benefit a bit from a slightly more dynamic approach. Just because something is chaos doesn’t mean it has to be unintelligible.
The guitar work by James Lopez and Brandon Davis is another sharp tool in the band’s box. The flaring, flying solos and flourishes in tracks like “Jokes on You” come too rarely and too short, but when they do appear are magnificent chainsaw-esque screeches that put an edge on the catastrophic mudslide that is the bass and rhythm sections.
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Even better are the decidedly pro-melodic guitar lines in “We Share Our Pain,” a tune that is the backbone of the album. You can hear shades of the great concept metal albums of the past in its banshee wail, and the entire production is tighter than a restaurant’s profit margin. The song is a violent, perfect summation of everything that Slug in the Sun brings to the table.
There’s a flaw in Memoirs, though, and it’s a big one. The opening track, “Swallowing the Seed” is awful. I tried to find something nice to say, but there’s precious little. The lyrics sound like a continuation of the album’s highly anti-religious themes, but they come across much more rape-y than existentially malcontent. The only kindness is that they are also Figureoa’s worst performance and therefore hard to understand. The track could have been saved with the band’s substantial musicality, but it also happens to be the weakest technical song in writing and execution by a wide margin. Frankly, it should have been left off the record, and certainly not used as an opener.
Overall, Memoirs of Misfortune is a pretty good first album from a clearly talented mathcore/deathcore act keen to make as big an opening splash as possible (their album release this Friday is actually their first show ever). The final product is a little raw, but there’s clearly something special to be heard in the maelstrom they’ve produced. I look forward to seeing where they go from here.
Memoirs of Misfortune is available now.
Slug in the Sun plays Friday, June 1 at BFE Rock Club with Desecrate the Faith, Agamemnon, In Prism, Alpha Virus, Theearthas Weknowit, Yig, ADVORSUS, Filthy Young Impalers and Skabz The Clown. Doors open at 7 p.m.. For more information call 281-894-1811 or visit bferockclub.com. $10 - $12.