Professor Black - Sunrise

Professor Black - Sunrise

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(CD/LP, High Roller Records, 2018)

“Sunrise” is the second of the three PROFESSOR BLACK full length albums that managed to catch us off-guard for two main reasons: a) the amount of music released under the same moniker at the same time, and b) the diversity between the three LPs. That’s right, the three records have as different musical content as the cover artworks, and in this case you should be getting a strong BATHORY vibe and if you don’t... Well, you have some homework to do and - trust me - it will be extremely pleasant.

Although, and in full disclosure, it was W.A.S.P. that came to mind once “Die By The Sun” started lifting the curtain with some nice almost clean guitar chords. But then, it was Quorthon ‘101’ with the mid-tempo pounding rhythm section and the epic sounding vocalisms. However, Chris’s most characteristic singing brings some DAWNBRINGER aesthetics on the table that makes the deal even sweeter. This gentleman has the gift of having such a distinct singing timbre that even though the music points to BATHORY (and their “Blood Fire Death” era), you can hear both DAWNBRINGER and HIGH SPIRITS in there, and for the latter, I will credit the guitar leads and solo. Still, the balance leans towards being epic and mainly mid-tempo following the aforementioned legendary one-man band. If the album was not clear enough about its direction, then the amazing “In The Fire And The Rain” should definitely do the trick. The way the monotonous rhythm guitar enters will give you massive “Home Of Once Brave” shivers down your spine, although it is not as moody as the BATHORY epos. The epic atmosphere is full on and I can easily imagine snowy landscapes and Vikings fighting under Chris’ singing. As I said, “Sunrise” is not all about BATHORY, and “No Way Back” is a solid proof of this by hitting the Blackie Lawless nerve revisiting his “Crimson Idol” golden era. On the same mid-tempo monotonous rhythm section mood, “Everyone Knows” comes a bit darker than the rest, and this is why it will get more listening time to sink in. There is some desperation in the vocals adding a dramatic tone to what I came to believe as the best song of the bunch. There is no escaping from getting dragged into the blackness of this one and I don’t think you’d like to. Oh hell, “Fall From On High” will give you some relief, although the guitar distortion reminded me of Blackie’s dark era of “K.F.D” but only for a brief moment because it was back to DAWNBRINGER, so you may not even notice what I am saying. What you will notice though is the fateful atmosphere with more chanting-like backing vocalisms but this should be expected when dealing with lyrics about Satan... The album manages to drop the curtain on an almost high note and with the happier guitar riff of “You And I”. Ok, “happier” may be an exaggeration but when compared to the rest, it feels like it.

Yeah, Chris has thrown all of the aforementioned influences into the blender and hit the power button right there, but before filling your glass, he used his finer DAWNBRINGER filter and then sprinkled some HIGH SPIRITS magic to smooth out the strong bite. Intrigued? Well, you should be, and know also that these songs rock even better in concert, something that METAL KAOZ was happy to witness firsthand some days ago.

9/10 


Links:

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Tracklist:

01. Die By The Sun
02. In The Fire And The Rain
03. No Way Back
04. Gathering Stone
05. Closer To Death
06. Everyone Knows
07. Fall From On High
08. You And I


Lineup:

Chris Black - Vocals, All Instruments