Austin-based doom metal outfit Slumbering Sun — Monte Luna’s James Clarke (vocals), Destroyer of Light’s Keegan Kjeldsen (guitar), Temptress‘ Kelsey Wilson (guitar), Monte Luna‘s and Scorpion Child‘s Garth Condit (bass) and Destroyer of Light’s Penny Turner (drums) — is an All-Star band featuring acclaimed members of Texas’ underground metal scene.
After the breakup of their previous band, James Clarke and Keegan Kjeldsen resolved to forget the bitter pain of an album that would never be released, by creating something new. They decided to start a new band with an album that Kjeldsen wrote between work on other projects. The pair continued the creative process at their rehearsal space with a few songs strummed on a clean, electric guitar: Clarke began to write melodies with the pair finishing lyrics.
Clarke and Kjeldsen recruited Temptress’ Kelsey Wilson, who made the commute from Dallas for the writing and recording process. Scorpion Child’s Garth Condit and Destroyer of Light’s Penny Turner, who played in other bands with Clarke and Kjeldsen respectively were recruited to be the band’s rhythm section — and from that point on, Slumbering Sun was a full-fledged band.
Released last Friday digitally and on cassette and CD, the Austin-based doom metal outfit’s full-length debut The Ever Living Fire was recorded in a week-long recording session this past summer. Sonically, their full-length debut sees the band exploring broader melodies than their previous work while drawing from Celtic folk, doom metal act Warning, as well as 90s grunge rockers Soundgarden and Alice In Chains.
In the lead-up to the album’s release, I wrote about three singles:
- “Liminal Bridges,” an expansive song featuring an atmospheric introduction with swirling, shoegazer-like textures, followed by stormy, power chord-driven riffage and thunderous drumming paired with Clarke’s melodic crooning and enormous, arena rock-like hooks. The track sonically brought — to my ears, at least — The Sword to mind — ok but with a prog rock-leaning sensibility.
- “Dream Snake,” an equally expansive track that opens with Black Sabbath and Soundgarden-like intro with fuzzy, power chord-driven riffage, thunderous drumming and a soulful solo paired with Clarke’s Ozzy Osbourne-like delivery until roughly around the five-minute mark. At that point, the song morphs into a sludgy doom metal dirge for the next two minutes or so before a gorgeous string arrangement carries the song into a gentle fadeout. Lyrically rooted in longing and heartbreak, “Dream Snake” sees the members of Slumbering Sun drawing from different eras one metal and doom metal and crafting something both familiar and new.
- Album title track “The Ever Living Fire.” Continuing a remarkable run of expansive, mind-bending material, the song begins with a gorgeous 35 second, acoustic guitar-driven introduction before quickly exploding into an expressive and soulful doom metal dirge, built around sludgy power chord-driven riffage, thunderous drumming and Clarke’s crooning. And around the five minute mark, the band introduces a melodic hook that shifts the song in a trippy display of densely layered guitars. The song ends with a roughly minute-long, gorgeous acoustic gutter driven coda making it one of the more prog-leaning songs of the album’s released singles.
Building upon the attention the album’s first three singles have received, Slumbering Sun recently shared an accompanying video for “Liminal Bridges.” Fittingly set in a creepy forest, the video is split between the band performing the song at night — at points shot through a hazy filter. The other half of the video features two women performing a series of weird rituals seemingly meant to get them to a different realm of consciousness. If you grew up watching 120 Minutes, this one definitely will bring back some fond memories.