While the term "modern metal" seems to have become conversational shorthand, among the half-hearted, for "don't panic, it doesn't sound like SAXON!", there are still a few emerging bands that genuinely fit the bill. SUN OF THE SUNS are a box-fresh, tech-metal trio from Italy, featuring former members of esteemed deathcore crew THE MODERN AGE SLAVERY and underrated tech-death mob CARNALITY, and powered along here by FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE drummer Francesco Paoli. Not surprisingly, given that collective pedigree, "TIIT" is an absolute psycho-robot pummeling of a record. Steeped in the metal futurism of everyone from FEAR FACTORY and STRAPPING YOUNG LAD to MESHUGGAH and VILDHJARTA, these songs skitter from elaborate technical death metal to spine-snapping polyrhythmic crunch, like some new and lethal sub-strain of groove metal: custom-built and armor-plated for the dystopian catastrophe to come.
The opening, two-part "I Demiurge" slams SUN OF THE SUNS' manifesto down with vicious precision. This kind of juddering, multi-riff attack is far from unprecedented, but the Italians have an idiosyncratic way about them, with grooves that buck established trends and that nearly always lead somewhere unexpected. There are grim, glowering melodies on offer too, most effectively on the darkly cinematic "Obsolescence Corrupted" and the succinct eruption of "Hacking The Sterile System". But the prevailing mood here is one of feverish invention amid a sustained, icy squall of chrome-plated, mechanistic violence.
For sheer, circuits-to-the-wall savagery, "Flesh State Drive" will take some beating. An unstoppable swirl of blastbeats, de-tuned grime and machines-gone-feral oomph, it also harnesses the soaring harmonies of melodic death metal: another triumph for intuitive cross-pollination. Speaking of which, the aptly titled "Of Hybridization And Decline" is an obvious peak of excellence, as SUN OF THE SUNS indulge their symphonic urges at a stately mid-pace, before tearing off in multiple directions and bringing the futurist hammer down at ripping velocity once again. A more expansive variation on this band's core musical theme, the closing "I Emperor Of Nothingness" conjures another twisted conflagration of riffs before drifting off into the ether on gentle waves of cosmic ambience.
Brutal, immersive and progressive, "TIIT" is a classy debut, executed with virtuoso skill and perfectly pitched for whichever apocalyptic epoch looms over humanity's horizon.