Under the Sun Premiere “The Shot” Video; The Bell of Doom Out April 5

Posted in Bootleg Theater, Reviews on March 26th, 2024 by JJ Koczan

under the sun the bell of doom

Athens-based five-piece Under the Sun are set to issue their debut LP, The Bell of Doom, on April 5 through the e’er-reliable Sound Effect Records. And man, some albums just manage to sound loud no matter at what volume you’re actually playing them. Starting with a hearty “Oh yeah!” and diving almost immediately into a celebration of riff and drive with “Smoking Angels,” the shove is inviting through the slowdown and into the dual guitars assuring no dip in the heavy as they shred the solo into the fade. The initial impression is a party and they back that for sure in the burly swagger of “Cry Out,” the more rolling “One Reason” and side B’s pairing of “The Shot” (video premiering below) and “Pony Ride,” with classic-style hooks and careening riffs offered with no pretense in their impulse toward audience engagement. Sounds like a good time? Hell yes it does.

But if you’re looking at the cover art with its graveyard and kraken-church, red sky and vertigo-style swirl, dark hues and creeper logo treatments wondering if I’ve posted the wrong image or some such based on the above description, there’s another side to Under the Sun that manifests throughout the eight-song/38-minute LP. In the video for “The Shot,” they’re getting ready for the show, getting to the show, playing the show, and that focus on on-stage energy is an obvious priority. If they showed up at your front door and started rocking out (after knocking politely, of course), they could hardly make it easier to get on board with the groove. What’s not accounted for in that are cuts like the title-track, which trades “Oh yeah!” for a tolling bell ahead of its crashes and redirects the momentum built across “Smoking Angels” and “Cry Out” toward a post-Cathedral lurch that even when they seem to break out of their own trance later on with a last-minute tempo kick, continues to define “The Bell of Doom” as a marked turn fromunder the sun whence they set forth minutes earlier.

Side B leadoff “Going Down” subs in Sabbathian swing for its own second-half pickup, and they find some middle ground in brash closer “My Name” — which is the longest inclusion at 6:34 but departs to a residual drone around the 4:45 mark — but in that finale the vibe likewise feels grimmer. The vocals are throatier, and the on-beat forwardness that brought the double-time hi-hat, strutting riff and Southern-style soloing of “Pony Ride” has shifted its urgency to act as a setup for the quick drop to bass that precedes a markedly sludged-out nod, which serves as their mostly-instrumental outro before the aforementioned drone takes hold, pausing again to get even slower before it’s through and thereby hammering its teardown all the more into your brain. This dual-faceted ethic isn’t always so stark in presentation, which “One Reason” also demonstrates in sticking to its bigger-feeling lumber, and one has to acknowledge that the lines being drawn are between microniches under the umbrella of ‘heavy.’

It’s the sense of purpose with which Under the Sun toll their bell — aesthetically and literally speaking — when they do that is striking, ultimately, and it may be that as they press forward from The Bell of Doom, they’ll draw the various sides of their persona closer together and end up somewhere in the middle. The opposite feels no less likely; that the lines between their rocker and doomer sides will become more prevalent. As their first record, The Bell of Doom sets out on a path that’s unknowable as yet — though it’s almost always fun to guess, even when I say it isn’t — but what allows it to do so is a strength of performance and songwriting that communes with genre and audience even as the band begin to search for their place, their sound. Or maybe I should take a cue from “The Shot” below, let tomorrow worry about tomorrow, and bask in the revelry of the moment captured and offered, whatever form it might take.

Yeah, let’s roll with it.

Enjoy the video. PR wire info and links of course follow after:

Under the Sun, “The Shot” video premiere

Under the Sun, one of Athens, Greece’s best-kept secrets, announce their debut album “The Bell of Doom”, due out on vinyl and CD on April 5, 2024 on Sound Effect Records. A thunderous stoner-sludge album shaking the foundations of all-things-heavy with its combination of amp-splitting power and red-eyed psychedelics.

Under The Sun is a sludgerotic stoner band that emerged from the depths of heavy riffing and jamming, back in 2015. Inspired by historic ’70s bands like Black Sabbath and embracing the sound of newer bands, like Orange Goblin, Kyuss, and C.O.C., Under the Sun forge their own sound that appeals to both fans of 70s heavy rock and stoner / doom music lovers.

Passionate about creating music driven by fuzz-drenched guitars and groovy bass lines, Under the Sun operate on the event horizon between heavy-doom and sunbaked stoner-rock. Armed with tough riffing, powerful vocals and traveling drums, Under the Sun merge a punk-attitude (the album was recorded live and required a maximum of two takes for each song) with the “sweet surrender” of their more laid-back, psych-blues escapism, resulting in a classic r’n’r record!

From the pure r’n’r of “Smoking Angels” to the seemingly-occult aura of “The Bell of Doom” (in essence an allegorical song about the distortion of human relationships), Under the Sun revisit their childhood dreams (“Shot”), or embark on some… psychedelic ones (“Pony Ride”), pay tribute to choices turned sour and wrong paths (“One Reason”, “Going Down”), though, after all, they do not forget to praise Friday night in the city (“Looking for some dirt, 20 euros in my pocket, welcome to my world”, from “Know My Name”), or make a tender gesture to all those who have a hard time and need to take life in their own hands (“Cry Out”)…cause, as the band insists on, we are all equal under the sun.

Video credits:
Artist: Under The Sun
Song Title: The Shot
Album: The Bell Of Doom
Label: Sound Effect Records (www.soundeffect-records.gr)
Director: Spyros Kourkoulas

1. Smoking Angels
2. Cry Out
3. The Bell of Doom
4. One Reason
5. Going Down
6. The Shot
7. Pony Ride
8. My Name

Album credits:
Recorded at Unreal Studios
Engineered by Nick Dimitrakakos
Mixed and mastered by Alex Ketenjian
Artwork by CLLK

Under the Sun, The Bell of Doom (2024)

Under the Sun on Facebook

Under the Sun on Instagram

Under the Sun on Bandcamp

Sound Effect Records on Facebook

Sound Effect Records on Bandcamp

Sound Effect Records website

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Under the Sun, Man of Sorrow: The Fruit of Pedigree

Posted in Reviews on May 12th, 2011 by JJ Koczan

Western Pennsylvania outfit Under the Sun have about as formidable a résumé as any doom rock band from the eastern half of the US could hope for. Between the three players involved, there are members of Dream Death, Penance, Revelation, Pentagram, Place of Skulls, Cathedral and Internal Void – and most of that just applies to drummer Mike Smail. Guitarist/bassist Dave Roman is also Penance alumni, and vocalist Dennis Cornelius did time in Place of Skulls and is perhaps best known as the former singer of Revelation, but Smail’s pedigree accounts for the rest, giving him a host of influential acts in which he’s been involved. Imagine being able to say you were in Dream Death, Cathedral (before they recorded Forest of Equilibrium) and Pentagram. Not what you’d call a lightweight, and as the impresario behind the release of Under the Sun’s debut full-length, Man of Sorrow, through his Smail’s Custom Drum Shop imprint, his role in the band takes on even more heft.

In case you were wondering, there actually is a Smail’s Custom Drum Shop, about 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh in a town called Kittanning, where Smail offers lessons and sells – as you might guess – drums and other equipment, but in Under the Sun, the focus is on traditional American-style riff-led doom. Cuts like “Joy” and “Forgiveness” offer the kind of Christian-based lyrics that fans of Place of Skulls have come to expect from a certain segment of East Coast doomers, but where Man of Sorrow really hits its stride in the heavier, riffier songs like “To Sleep with Anger” or the more brightly toned “Divinity,” which injects a faster-paced Goatsnake feel into its Pentagram-style shuffle, Cornelius’ cadence and phrasing only helping the comparison, at least until the section of whispers about three minutes in. On the nine-minute opener, “Stride,” he comes on strong with a kind of overdrive effect on his vocals that I’m glad isn’t a permanent fixture. With the lighter hues coming from Roman’s guitar, interplay of acoustics and electrics, and underlying (maybe underrepresented for doom, but nonetheless appropriately balanced for the mixture Under the Sun have going on) bass, it can be a bit much, but like I say, it doesn’t last, and the layered guitar solos – in the Iommi tradition – more than stand up in making a case for the success of the song as a whole.

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