My first memories of Swiss artist Reto Mäder's (RM74, Ural Umbo et al) experimental and psychedelic drone project Sum of R date back almost a decade now, back to one of the three Utech Records Music Festivals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a brief tour surrounding it. At the time, Mäder handled drums and triggered synthesizers using pads and hosted guests as his guitarist (at the time) could not make it, leading to unique sets with Japanese experimental musician Suzuki Junzo and Locrian guitarist Andre Foisy (more on Locrian later this year, I think). Live, Mäder played multiple roles, alternating between various instruments while playing drums at the same time. It was wild, and the heavy, droning psychedelia Sum of R played for intimate audiences was entrancing.

Somewhere along the way, though, Sum of R got heavier by orders of magnitude. Now armed with what could be called a "full band" (moving from a duo to a three-piece), the trio of Mäder on bass/synthesizers with vocalist Marko Neuman and drummer/percussionist Jukka Rämänen moves more concretely into metallic spheres on upcoming album Lahbryce. Not only does the album feature a weightier performance by Mäder and Rämänen, but the newly added vocal element solidifies the idea of Sum of R as a metal band. Featuring hideous, massive growls and nightmare-inducing shrieks, there is that superficial element of "harsh vocals = metal" thing going on here, but the aforementioned heavier performance backs up Neuman's surprising presence.

Though Sum of R has evolved over the past however many years (has it really been almost ten since I last saw Mäder perform?), what is most peculiar about this new character is the backbone: it's still "classic" Sum of R, the same as it has been since 2007. Rooted in that same sort of lonesome, kaleidoscopic psychedelia, Lahbryce is simply Sum of R adding mass to their sound (and it works!).

Watch a new video for final album single "Borderline" below. Sum of R will be performing Lahbryce in full at the now-sold out Roadburn 2022. Will I meet you there?



From the artist:

There is no classic band quote for "Borderline." The song title speaks for itself. The music should also speak for itself. Considering the human misery in Ukraine these days, it doesn't need more words to realize that war and crime always become triggers for the whole palette of mental disorders.


Lahbryce releases March 25th on Consouling Sounds.

Follow Sum of R on Bandcamp.

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