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Last April, on May Eve, one of my bands played a show with Behind the Sun at the Mothlight in Asheville, where I live. I had not given them a serious listen before that, but I’d become acquainted with Morgan, their vocalist/guitarist, at a prior show and wanted to get them in front of an Asheville crowd. When they took the stage, two thoughts immediately crossed my mind. The first was “holy shit, these guys kick a dump truck’s worth of ass;” the second was “wow these guys really like Opeth.” It was an impressive experience, and certainly aided by the excellent sound at the Mothlight: Behind the Sun sounded gigantic that night, and left an indelible impression.

Cut to almost one year later and we are graced with Post Solis, Behind the Sun’s debut EP. Live, Behind the Sun is a red giant, a humongous wall of deep vocals, fleet and dueling guitar work interspersed with dense riffs, and a manic but solid rhythm section. Picture it as an American Opeth with roid rage, Mikael Akerfeldt’s ponderousness replaced with sheer aggression. It’s an instantly compelling sound, but there’s a trick to capturing music like this on record. Too lo-fi and the intricacies get lost in swirl and hum, but too compressed and the record can sound flat and lifeless if the band isn’t top notch. Post Solis is, depending on your point of view, graced or cursed with incredibly slick production, but this in the end is an advantage as it allows Behind the Sun’s music to be brought to the fore, undeniable to the listener.

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“Prog metal” is a term that a very select niche of metal listeners take immediate interest in and the remainder find repulsive. Behind the Sun seem to be out to reclaim that oft-maligned descriptor, and Post Solis is the record to do so. It is truly “progressive” in the purest sense of that term: multiple elements woven together in a way that creates a perfect synthesis that you’ve never heard before. “Laniakea” begins with a section of clean vocals and plaintive guitar but quickly segues into a brutal death metal, complete with climactic breakdown. “Periapsis” opens with some straight up funk, and halfway through “The Fall” the pig squeals and blasts segue perfectly into a bona-fide Latin groove right out of Santana before ending on an epic groove that sounds almost dead-on like Crack the Skye-era Mastodon. This would be goofy as hell if Behind the Sun weren’t such excellent musicians, but they don’t miss a single note or beat. This is an incredibly precise and meticulous band, one to whom concept and execution are equally important.

Post Solis is an excellent debut album for a band that definitely needs more attention. The slick production won’t wow die-hard audiophiles, but that will be solved on later records, and for now Behind the Sun’s sheer prowess and creativity speaks for itself. So sit down, put on the best headphones possible, pour yourself a cup of some strong-ass coffee, and “surrender to the Fall.” You may not have given “prog metal” any regard prior to now, but Post Solis will give you some serious cause to reconsider.

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Post Solis will be self released on March 10. Pre order it here. Follow Behind the Sun on Facebook.

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