40 Watt Sun - The Inside Room
Cyclone Empire
Doom Metal
5 songs (47:35)
Release year: 2011
Cyclone Empire
Reviewed by Jaime
Surprise of the month
Well 40 Watt Sun's album sure starts slow. But not in the dull, setting up the scene way, but in that depressing, crushing manner that only doom riffs can accomplish. Though I was surprised when the vocals hit in Restless. Expecting a standard growl, I was hit with Patrick Walker's rather emotional, vulnerable even, voice which give the proceedings a slightly different vibe that what you'd usually expect. It gives off a feeling like you've been thrown back to the mid 90's when My Dying Bride and their peers were setting the foundations for their much cloned style. Honestly, go listen to The Angel and The Dark River and you'll see what I mean. As I mentioned, there's that emotion, that little spark that weeps out of 40 Watt Sun's music that some more modern bands haven't really been able to tap. And as you'd expect with an old style doom song, the riffs don't change all that much over the 10 minutes that Restless runs but it's able to draw you in, perhaps showing off a bit of a drone influence that may not be all that easy to notice. Open My Eyes takes that same formula and expands out a little more, with little lead lines separating out the verses and a chorus which has the vocals float over the waves of distortion. The drum work here is a high note, with little accents and very slight changes to break up what would otherwise be a rather monotonous exercise, and the wind down into the acoustic outro is wondrous.

Between Times keeps things rumbling along, utilizing that slight injection of hope that some doom bands use to offset and enhance their moodier elements. It's a surprisingly "happy" sounding track with the vocals being rather jaunty at times, to the point that they seem to be hiding something. The drone influences are a little more apparent here musically too. They'd not be out of place on a Neurosis record to name but one of many possible bands. It's also the shortest track here at just under 7 minutes, so acts as a bit like buffer between the 10 and 11 minute songs that surround it. To a degree anyway. Then there's Carry Me Home. Good lord this song is depressing. It's like the band have been pushing towards this moment with the rest of the album. The vocals have a power behind them despite their frailty, and lyrics are a tad soul destroying to say the least but also very frank. There's no pretension with this band lyrically and it's a point that's stamped down with this track. The riffs take a clear back seat to the vocals, with the drums shouldering all the weight of moving the band forward though the song, and the little understated solo at the end just seals the deal. Suffice to say that the final track This Alone has some act to follow. Sounding like it took some strains from Earth's last album it has a slow, vaguely Americana air to it. Air is the right word here, as it has a lot more breathing room compared to its overall heavier predecessor. The lead guitar slides in and out at points, occasionally surfacing from beneath the mix when the vocals disappear. It also features that slightly "happy" feel that crops up on Between Times which works well to balance out Carry Me Home before coming to an abrupt end.

This would probably be the point where I'd make comparisons to Patrick Walker and drummer Christian Leitch's former band Warning, but I've never taken the time to listen to them so it leaves me unstuck. However focusing on 40 Watt Sun's own merits should be more important. The vocals and drum work make this album without question. The guitars and bass are there, but never take centre stage outside of one or two guitar leads. The production for the album is quite raw and rough, some would say "organic", but it adds a greater sense of gravitas to music of this nature. The album takes a little bit to kick in properly but once it does it's an extraordinary experience. Listening to Carry Me Home is an absolute must irrespective of whether you decided to buy (and please do buy it) this album or not.
Killing Songs :
Between Times, Carry Me Home, This Alone
Jaime quoted 86 / 100
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