Death metal is tethered strongly to its rockist roots. The riffs, the grunts, and the drum fills all follow a traceable path from earlier rock music. That’s great, but sometimes you just want something more. Dissonant death metal stretches beyond that, using minute dynamics to portray complex situations and ideas. It surpasses its influences into a realm where the subject matter is as philosophical as it is inwards-looking. As heady as technical death metal often is, the beauty lies in how every track is an exercise in both restraint and flourish, with all the drama packed between bass slaps so meaty you could sizzle them on the grill.

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Similarly, Sunless’ newest single “The Unraveling of Arcane Past,” from their upcoming album Ylem is as inward-gazing musically as it is thought-provoking. The trio attack with splurging basslines, discombobulating time signatures, and vocals carved from a chasm. The messy mix, and that’s a compliment, signifies a process of understanding. Fluctuating through tempos without losing intensity, the song introduces small, intriguing variances in the friction between the instruments. Like reassembling a puzzle, the joy comes from seeing it take shape, much like Sunless’ subject matter. They speak beyond the basal emotions, putting their unwavering technicality towards coming to grips with brain-twisting concepts.

That’s what makes this style of death metal so fun. Every part of the song feels like a new opportunity. It’s easy to love death metal for its front-faced appeal—take it as it is, and when it’s good it’s good. But Sunless, fear-inciting and awe-striking at the same time, invite further investigation into not only their music, but how positive and negative emotions often run alongside each other, embedding this contrast even into the technical yet inseparable bass and guitar here. Normally they’re isolated from one another, but they’re more alike than we believe.

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Ylem releases on October 29 via Willowtip Records (pre-orders also available via Bandcamp.