Pull Down The Sun - Of Valleys And Mountains review



Reviewer:
8.3

12 users:
8.50
Band: Pull Down The Sun
Album: Of Valleys And Mountains
Release date: September 2020


01. Aka
02. Whare Ra
03. Of Valleys And Mountains
04. Tūrehu
05. Light In Water
06. Weta
07. Kēhua
08. Utu
09. Oro
10. Ngaro
11. Salt Of The Earth
12. Inoi


It's nice for a band to come along once in a while and remind the world that New Zealand's metal scene has more to offer than only Ulcerate.

That death metal group are riding high right now with the success of Stare Into Death And Be Still, and a quick check of NZ bands in our database shows them with four times as many 'fans' as the next band on the list, but other metal groups from this fine country occasionally make ripples abroad. Alien Weaponry have managed to get on some decent billings in Europe and the US, with their appeal partly based on their Māori heritage and use of Māori language in their songs. Pull Down The Sun are a new band emerging from Aotearoa that also draw from Māori culture, as reflected in the band's name (inspired by the stories of Māui), as well as the song titles on their debut record Of Valleys And Mountains. Whilst delving into this culture, one that is heavily underrepresented in metal music, may help them to find an audience at this early stage of their career, one thing that will definitely help find that audience is the sheer undeniable quality on display throughout Of Valleys And Mountains.

The most obvious thing to do when introducing a new band in a review is to try and find parallels to more popular acts as a frame of reference for how they sound, and this task is a bit easier for Pull Down The Sun than some others I've had to try and do the same for. 2020 really seems to be the year of The Ocean; in addition to putting out Phanerozoic II last month, there are several up-and-coming bands releasing quality albums that clearly show their influence. This influence was perhaps more obvious on Psychonaut's Unfold The God Man, but it came through very clearly on Of Valleys And Mountains, particularly during the clean vocal sections, which show easily noticeable similarities with Loïc Rossetti. The title track on this record has sections that easily could have appeared on a recent record by the German collective, as could soft interlude piece "Light In Water". The other influence that is pretty difficult to overlook is Gojira; although hints of their sound are present throughout the record, the most blatantly inspired tracks are concentrated early on, with signature pick scrapes, tapping and rhythms from that group turning up on "Of Valleys And Mountains", whilst "Tūrehu" has more than a hint of "The Gift Of Guilt" about it. In addition to The Ocean and Gojira, other influences emerge as the record progresses, such as Isis, particularly towards the end of the record.

So Pull Down The Sun wear their influences openly, which is to be expected on a debut record. However, whilst Of Valleys And Mountains is honest about its sources, it's not in any way derivative enough to diminish its appeal. This is partly pulled off through diversity in approach; "Weta" leans strongly towards 2010s metalcore sounds without sounding like a disconnect from the songs that preceded it, whilst "Ngaro" has an awful lot of alternative metal to it, particularly in the clean vocal approach. On top of the diversity, another thing this album has going for it is the sheer quality on display. Any band can rip off Gojira, but whilst Stoned God somewhat struggled to rise above that influence on their album earlier this year, Pull Down The Sun do not feel constrained by their influences; these songs shine on their own merits, captivating listeners even as they trace the musical lineage of these tracks.

I discovered this album only a couple of days ago, but have felt the onset of an obsession developing; I just want to listen to it again and again. An hour in length, not a second is wasted on this record, with the band excellent at crunchy heavy riffs, melodic breaks, atmospheric stretches, quiet interludes - you name it, Pull Down The Sun can do it effortlessly. It was only a few weeks ago that I reviewed the new The Ocean album, and whilst I generally felt very positively about it, it didn't leave me hungry for relistens in the way Of Valleys And Mountains already has. My score has been rising with every repeat playthrough, and if it ended up rising higher still, I would not be shocked. The songs are great across the board, but in addition to the songs I've already mentioned ("Ngaro" is becoming more and more of a favourite with each relisten), the long duo of tracks at the end are also fantastic; "Salt Of The Earth" moves along in a slick mid-tempo groove, ebbing and flowing as the atmosphere builds and builds, whilst "Inoi" finishes the album off with aplomb by taking listeners on a Gojira-fuelled post-metal adventure.

Pull Down The Sun definitely have room on future records to integrate their influences into a sound that is more distinctively their own, but for a debut this is a really fantastic effort, engrossing from front to back and suggestive of even greater things to come. Carry on like this and New Zealand could well have their next international metal hit.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 9


 



Written on 15.10.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 11   Visited by: 109 users
15.10.2020 - 15:42
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Quote:

It's nice for a band to come along once in a while and remind the world that New Zealand's metal scene has more to offer than only Ulcerate.

Yes, but by the likes of it, I might like this one more too
----
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
Loading...
15.10.2020 - 15:46
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 15.10.2020 at 15:42

Quote:

It's nice for a band to come along once in a while and remind the world that New Zealand's metal scene has more to offer than only Ulcerate.

Yes, but by the likes of it, I might like this one more too


I think you will; I certainly do
Loading...
16.10.2020 - 02:25
tominator
At best deranged
Sounds like an album that I would like.

Added it to the list of records I should check out.
Loading...
16.10.2020 - 05:53
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Quote:

It's nice for a band to come along once in a while and remind the world that New Zealand's metal scene has more to offer than only Ulcerate.


Hey now, don't forget about the lovely trip hop black metal of Netra though. Originally French, but he's a Kiwi now apparently

I'll admit this one pulled me right in by the artwork alone. Has a nice sort of Japanese or Korean aesthetic about it somehow. Good write up and band comparisons will probably have it on my "to listen" list for this weekend.

Prog sludge (or sludgey prog, whichever) is definitely something I could use more of. Didn't think the two would mix that well originally but thinking back I guess we already kinda got some foundation for that sort of thing in the mid 2000s with some of the stuff Gojira and Mastodon were up to at the time anyway. I also like what newer bands like Anciients, The Atlas Moth, and Inter Arma have done to combine the two a lot as well though, so if this is anything at all in the vein of those three I'll probably dig it.
----
Check out Apothecary's Favorite Bands Playlist, brotendo. One track per band.
Loading...
16.10.2020 - 09:38
silenius
Awesome stuff! But my fucking god "Of Valleys And Mountains" is a straight-up Gojira song, they need chill a bit on the ctrl+c, ctrl+v.
Loading...
16.10.2020 - 09:51
Nejde
" The Gojira is strong in this one"

This review got me to check them out and it's becoming more and more clear that musclassia is the go-to-guy if you want to find new bands and great albums. And since Gojira only (recently) released one new song since Magma four years ago this is a very solid album while waiting for the next one from the French. Another excellent review and recommendation. Cheers!
----
"When you are dead, you do not know you are dead. It's only painful for others. The same applies when you are stupid." - Ricky Gervais
Loading...
16.10.2020 - 10:20
musclassia
Written by silenius on 16.10.2020 at 09:38

Awesome stuff! But my fucking god "Of Valleys And Mountains" is a straight-up Gojira song, they need chill a bit on the ctrl+c, ctrl+v.


Yeah, they leant a bit too hard into the Gojira-isms on "Of Valleys And Mountains" and "Turehu"; those songs sound great, but primarily because Gojira/The Ocean are great bands. I think they find a better balance on subsequent tracks
Loading...
16.10.2020 - 10:22
musclassia
Written by Apothecary on 16.10.2020 at 05:53


Hey now, don't forget about the lovely trip hop black metal of Netra though. Originally French, but he's a Kiwi now apparently



Wouldn't dream of it! Ingrats was great, but I suspect not that many people know of Netra to begin with

Yeah the artwork looks great, and prog sludge is a potentially rich source for bands to mine; Barishi's album from this year was one of my favourites as well
Loading...
16.10.2020 - 11:05
silenius
Written by musclassia on 16.10.2020 at 10:20

Written by silenius on 16.10.2020 at 09:38

Awesome stuff! But my fucking god "Of Valleys And Mountains" is a straight-up Gojira song, they need chill a bit on the ctrl+c, ctrl+v.


Yeah, they leant a bit too hard into the Gojira-isms on "Of Valleys And Mountains" and "Turehu"; those songs sound great, but primarily because Gojira/The Ocean are great bands. I think they find a better balance on subsequent tracks


Indeed, on the songs where they flesh out a more unique soundscape it sounds fantastic. But as noted before it's their debut and a couple of heavyhanded moments of inspiration isn't that big of a deal. Realy looking forward to seeing how they progress with their next record.
Loading...
16.10.2020 - 20:19
omne metallum
"It's nice for a band to come along once in a while and remind the world that New Zealand's metal scene has more to offer than only Ulcerate."

Alien Weaponry says hi
----
Just because I'm not listening doesn't mean I don't care
Loading...
16.10.2020 - 21:54
musclassia
Written by omne metallum on 16.10.2020 at 20:19

"It's nice for a band to come along once in a while and remind the world that New Zealand's metal scene has more to offer than only Ulcerate."

Alien Weaponry says hi


M8, I mentioned Alien Weaponry in the next paragraph innit
Loading...

Hits total: 1399 | This month: 1399