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40 Watt Sun : The Inside Room

40 Watt Sun ‘s first album is very close to Warning’s masterpiece ’Watching from a Distance’.

After a considerable delay, the release of 40 Watt Sun’s debut album is now finally close at hand. This new British band consists of former Warning front man Patrick Walker (vocals, guitars), drummer Christian Leitch of The River and bassist William Spong, and the two bands named should already give you a good idea of what is to be expected here. For those who bitterly regretted the split-up of Warning, this is not only a gleam of hope on the horizon, it is a sun which actually shines much brighter that 40 watts would allow for. In fact, I believe that no fan of the aforementioned bands could possibly be disappointed by this.

Stylistically, ’The Inside Room’ is very close to Warning’s masterpiece ’Watching from a Distance’, making 40 Watt Sun seem like a follow-up project to that band. The Brits play Doom Metal full of emotion and longing, strongly characterised by Walker’s trademark singing which is, just as on the aforementioned album of his earlier band, absolutely brilliant – clear and melodic, hitting lower and higher notes with equal accuracy and effectively utilising techniques such as a very controlled vibrato. His great emotional lyrics are present as well, but this time they allow for some hope to shine through, especially on 'This Alone'. The guitar work is rather basic, relying a lot on full chords and adding subtle nuances here and there to create an intimate atmosphere of melancholy. And yet, this album has an identity of its own, distinct from that of Walker’s earlier band – it is just hard to put your finger on it, apart from some details which obviously are different.

What first struck me as a difference are the drums: before even knowing the band’s line-up, I was immediately reminded of The River when hearing them. Leitch’s more rhythmic and laid-back playing style differs quite considerably from the very dragging, heavy drumming heard on the last Warning album, therefore creating a slightly different feel. A great novelty is the occasional use of gentle acoustic and clean guitars in the background, adding more depth and atmosphere to the sound. Lastly, the bass work deserves mention as it is by no means dictated by the guitars – instead, some very good bass lines call for close listening. All those elements work perfectly together to create a homogeneous style which captivates the listener in each of the five long compositions, of which 'Carry Me Home' is my personal favourite, adding a beautiful e-bow line to the picture towards the end.

Just like the two bands mentioned above, 40 Watt Sun bears the potential of appealing to listeners who do not care much about Metal in general as long as they enjoy intense, melancholic music – for instance, I can imagine this being of interest to fans of Slowcore classics such as earlier Red House Painters material. This potential of working well without necessarily relying on the Metal tag, I believe, is immanent in Doom much more than any other subgenre of Metal, and ’The Inside Room’ is a release which illustrates this independent identity of our genre of choice quite well.

I can hardly imagine that I am going to hear anything else this good in the course of the year. This is definitely one of the Doom Metal highlights of 2011 – don’t miss it.

Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Restless
2. Open My Eyes
3. Between Times
4. Carry Me Home
5. This Alone

Duration : Approx. 47 minutes

Visit the 40 Watt Sun bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-02-22 by Dominik Sonders
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