Despite only forming recently, Sundrown is a band that has rocketed up my favourite bands list. Why you ask? Their psychedelic blues-rock is incredibly unique, the band members are all very talented, and best of all they release their music for free. What isn’t there to like?
“The 8th Day Bliss” is Sundrown’s third record, released on September 12th after numerous delays. The wait was clearly worth it.
The band sounds the best they ever have, production-wise and musically. The playing is tight; you can tell the members have great chemistry. While the production isn’t amazing, it definitely sounds better than their last two albums. Perhaps the biggest difference is the drum sound, which is clearly better than on any previous release.
The album starts out with a bang, blasting right in to the main riff and pounding drums of Sucker. The heaviest song the band has ever recorded, Sucker wouldn’t feel out of place on a Soundgarden or Alice In Chains album. Definitely a great start to the record.
The next track, 7th Day Girl sounds like it’s being played by an entirely different group. Starting with a cool drum beat and a funky bass line, it becomes quite clear why the band dislikes being pegged to one genre. Soon after the funky intro, the guitar kicks in with a Jimi Hendrix like riff drenched in effects. This track perfectly displays how Sundrown puts their 60s and 70s influences to use.
Medicated Eyes kicks off with a simple, but great riff. Van Hartsell’s vocals are rough and powerful like always, but they really sound spot-on here. Heather Gainey’s backing vocals are solid too and a nice contrast to the lead vocals. Daniel Namias’ drumming and Heather’s bass are great, but it becomes clear that this is Van’s track after a blistering solo. A bold statement perhaps, but I believe this is the single greatest song the band has recorded so far.
Push And Pull (Carried Away), as the name might imply, is essentially an extended version of the one minute track Push And Pull from Sundrown’s 2008 album “Something Or Another”. A little more than halfway through the song we are treated to another great solo from Van.
What Could Have Been is an interesting track, with a riff that verges on reggae. Soon enough Sundrown’s post-grunge style kicks in. The highlight of this track is definitely Daniel Namias’ drumming; it propels the song along at a high speed while keeping things interesting with fills.
Sister Morphine is a cover of The Rolling Stones’ song, and while I’m not usually a huge fan of covers, I actually prefer this version over the original. But it stays fairly faithful, so there’s not much else to be said.
Slideways is a short track, clocking in at a little over a minute. It seems to mainly serve as an introduction to the title track.
The 8th Day Bliss starts up with a very bright, upbeat intro, but then hits the twenty second mark and speeds up. You never know what you’re going to get with this band. Van’s rough vocals kick in, and it becomes the Sundrown we’ve come to know. This is the band at their best!
River Of Remembrance, clocking in at nearly seven minutes, is easily the longest song on the record. Sundrown isn’t a particularly soft band, but they slow things down on this track before turning full intensity back on again in the last few minutes. This is definitely one of the better tracks on the album.
Of Unsound Mind closes the album. It’s not the most overwhelming track, but really just what you would expect by now; great guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.
- Brilliant guitar solos and blistering drumming
- Best production on a Sundrown album yet
- No weak songs
After the brilliant “Something Or Another” album, Sundrown has done it again with “The 8th Day Bliss”. Make sure to head over to sundrown.net and download all of their great music for free. And if you like their material, send the band an e-mail or leave a message in their guestbook to let them know.
My Rating: 8.5/10