the initial WTF moment when I realized that not only the band was unknown to me but they were releasing their 7th full-length album in less than 6 years, it was time to discover the music and start writing about it. Usually with such a prolific production, most people usually think Ukrainian one-man bands playing basement depressive Black Metal
or soporific Funeral Doom
, but Across Tundras
, despite the Siberian-sounding moniker, is a full-fledged band made up of three dudes from Colorado…
Now Colorado isn’t exactly your fantastic regular hotbed for anything Metal
in the US and the warm Stoner Doom
of Across Tundras
seems to be a bit out of place for a place that most picture covered with snow most times of the year. Still, the trio delivers some nice music that you could link to Kyuss
or even Baroness
but their music has a lot more influences to offer us.
The label Stoner Doom
found on the band’s page is a bit misleading. Sure as you may recall Kyuss
came high on the list of notable influences but it’s more Stoner than Doom
, don’t expect to listen to something as crushing as Acrimony
or Electric Wizard
, it’s more a Stoner kind of rock. The prog-like construction encountered here does also remind of Baroness
(especially on Hijo de Desierto) at times but the band likes to play with numerous influences and incorporates various things like wind instruments that create some brass band feelings or female vocals on the very much “Country” song Buried Arrows.
It’s all sung and played with whole-heartedly passion, frenzied enthusiasm but somehow as the CD plays out, you’ll soon find out that the very best songs are the first four tracks. It’s not that the last tracks are not good but they seem deprived of the greatness displayed first. Mean Season Movin’ On feels awfully long beyond the 12 minutes mark and does not bring anything of great interest and the ending track feels somehow dull compared to the four songs that seem to be fantastic anthems compared to this.
Now I don’t want to be quite the slanderer considering I don't know the previous releases of Across Tundras
, but if all previous six albums are made of the same material, why not release three fantastic albums instead of 7 half-great half-so-so? I think it’d benefit the band and their public wouldn’t be struggling that much to purchase all of their discography (which seems quite the difficult task…).
Fans of the aforementioned bands will find "Sage" meeting all their musical requirements nicely but may feel like something that started off as if it were designed for greatness kind of failed them in the end. Nonetheless a solid and enjoyable record.