Does the listener need the chance to understand what Black Metal bands are screaming about? Naturally, one would say that he or she does in a genre unfortunately overflowing with bands from
the wrong side of the political scope. In that case, the reader might already skip this review because
Second to Sun (nice wordplay by the way) use their native tongue Russian.
Nevertheless, there are some bands that might be worth listening to even if you cannot understand
what they are scolding you with. Checking those bands for their background and making sure they
share no dubious opinions can give way to bands that have got something to say without being understandable (by the way, do Dutch people really understand Turia’s screaming or Germans the words shouted by Der Rote Milan?). If you favor this idea, then please go on reading.
Second to Sun show a wide variety of influences raging from the technical aspects of Fear Factory or Pantera’s groove (both interestingly combined in the second song “Confessional of the black Penitent” with its Herrera-Wolbers homage intro and the Texas-like middle part) but also folk or pagan elements (for example the gloomy parts of the first track “Devil” using Finland-esque synths which sound like the vast Russian taiga).
However, sometimes a too-simple metalcore blast disrupts the atmosphere too much. That is certainly an obstacle which some songs cannot overcome. The band is good when they give only small nods to their idols and then combine those elements into their own, singular sound – a good example is “Monster”: a small electro-metal nod followed by a good rhythm-driven riff and all of that is accompanied by nicely laid-up synths in the background. However, the nicest moments are the tracks at the end of the record (not taking the two bonus tracks into consideration) - “Once upon a Time in Russia” and “Raida”.
Those two tracks have a unique style somewhere between classic black metal and Russian symphonies but also using some samples (the spoken word intro and TV zapping outro to “Once upon a Time...”) or elegant synthscapes (the simply beautiful intro and backdrop keys to “Raida”). Especially the latter is a beautiful, haunting song with a story that sounds like taken straight from the canon of Russian fairytales. Second to Sun is not yet the second coming of a new black sun on the scene but they show some really promising abilities that everybody who likes his black metal symphonic and dignified should listen to.