Dark Suns

Grave Human Genuine

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In the late '90s and early 2000s, Dark Suns were frequently described as a cross between the melodic Scandinavian death metal of Opeth and the goth/doom sounds of Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. But when their third full-length album, Grave Human Genuine, was released in the United States in 2008, they were being described as full-fledged progressive metal and were even being compared to Porcupine Tree. In fact, some reviewers have complained that Grave Human Genuine is "not metal enough." But if one accepts this 2007 recording/2008 release on its own terms, Grave Human Genuine has a lot to offer. Although this 58-minute CD is essentially progressive metal, it doesn't have the exuberance or the power metal appeal of, say, Symphony X or Rhapsody; the brooding material is a lot more melancholic. Grave Human Genuine gets a considerable amount of inspiration from Pink Floyd, and Tangerine Dream is also a valid comparison at times. Further, ambient electronica is also a noticeable influence. So with comparisons to Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, and ambient electronica being made, should Grave Human Genuine even be called metal? Yes, this German band is still relevant to metal; one still hears a little of the "Cookie Monster" growling that death metal is known for (although at least 90 percent of the album's vocals are clean vocals), and parts of Grave Human Genuine are certainly heavier and more metallic than Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, or Tangerine Dream. Nonetheless, anyone who is in the mood for a big dose of bone-crushing, pummeling brutality won't find it here; Grave Human Genuine, despite its heavier moments, is ultimately a very reflective, darkly contemplative affair that is more moody than it is heavy. And those who appreciate the gloomier side of prog metal will appreciate the direction that Dark Suns take on their third full-length album.

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