Swedish melodic death metallers Dead Sun formed way back when in 1996, but outside of a couple of demos didn’t release any material up until 2013. Since then they’ve put out five full-lengths and their sixth, the upcoming Night Terrors is their fourth since 2019. Blending the Swedish melodic death metal sound with elements of death’n’roll in the vein of Entombed, Night Terrors pitches as a thirty minute thrill ride that keeps its pedal to the metal.
Opening with ‘Like Rain’, Dead Sun don’t mess around and get straight into a fast, almost thrashy groove. The appearance of a brief solo near the midway mark ensures there’s some variety though it’s by no means flashy; rather, a melodic break that still keeps the band’s straightforward approach. ‘Kingdom of the Mad’ is similarly fast-paced though fortunately the band do change tack with ‘Worlds’ at the midpoint of the album, with the opening of the song being a much slower, doomier affair. It too, however, does succumb to their love of speed but does in part keep it to a more mid-paced groove at least.
Where Night Terrors shines is when it embraces different moods and textures, such as the synths that underpin the slower segments of ‘Worlds’ to lend an almost gothic feel. Likewise with the title track that opens with a slightly off-kilter groove before once more abandoning this more interesting part for speed. Closing duo ‘The Lunatics’ and ‘The Doomed’ do make use of stomping mid-paced moments expanded on by synths nestled just underneath.
The vast majority of the songs on here do utilise quicker tempos as a central component. Slower segments are contrasted with moments where Dead Sun speed up and give in to their faster urges such as on ‘Vortex Dance’ and the aforementioned ‘Worlds’. This reliance on fast pacing wouldn’t be an issue if the band had more strings to their bow or weren’t afraid to change things up more often.
As it stands, however, Night Terrors all too frequently relies on barrelling through short songs for impact rather than any particularly new or interesting compositional tricks. The main weapon in the band’s arsenal is this contrast and while it’s entertaining enough to listen to, it does lose its lustre over the runtime. Thankfully the band have kept things short at just thirty minutes so the album doesn’t get to the point where it outstays its welcome. Were they to take a little more time to craft albums with more elements, even some variety in song length – the shortest is just under three and a half minutes and the longest being four minutes on the dot – would elevate this from serviceable, if entertaining, melodeath.
Night Terrors is out today via Xtreem Music and can be ordered here.
Words: Will Marshall