Finding one’s centre can be challenging in the most ideal of circumstances and with 2021 picking up where 2020 left off, it doesn’t appear as though moments of stillness will come any more easily. Often, peace and silence are achieved through ritual and routine, and on their new release, Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth, Polish doom shamans Sunnata certainly succeed in cultivating an atmosphere of tranquility by way of their ceremonial approach to metal.
While expertly checking off all the doom boxes — cradling and crushing rhythm section, wandering and slithering guitars, and vocals that soar before crashing down onto the listener — where Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth really shines is in the live production. Recording the album with everyone on the floor at the same time offers us the ability to close their eyes and absorb everything in unison, while settling back and allowing the tracks to unfold. Sunnata make a point of stating they operate in a ceremonial capacity and their recording process most definitely facilitates the same transference of energy that exists in a live context. The polished work creates a powerful and sustainable experience, and projects the vibrational energy of a live album with the four band members people cultivating an experience bigger than themselves.
As 2021 marches on, the year will see albums released that are more technical or have more twists and turns to them and that’s fine—there’s always going to be something or someone doing more, more, more. However, the deep beauty of Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth lies in the eschewing of recording piece by piece, take by take, and instead focusing on the holistic synergy of a live performance. Depending on where one lives, having more than ten people in a room together is not only frowned upon but is considered to be a public health risk, so being able to close one’s eyes and feel the live energy is truly a blessing, while also serving to provide a much-needed dash of hope to a world in which such sentiments are so often scorned for foolishness.
Burning in Heaven, Melting on Earth is out on February 26th via and can be ordered here.
Words: Tristan McCallum