Sumerlands "Sumerlands"

The "past".  We love it when we get a snapshot of something that invokes nostalgia, don't we? Whether it is the visual "past" in the form of a rerun of your favourite TV show from way back or finding your old school books in the loft whilst clearing out some junk.  Of late the internet has been awash with reviews, forum posts and general excitement about the debut album from Sumerlands, largely because of its references to the "old school" or reminiscent sounds of the 80's heavy metal heyday.

After numerous positive musings around the web I decided to try and give myself goosebumps and finally got round to listening to one of Relapse Records' latest additions to their roster.  The caveat being that if I didn't end up getting changed into my torn jeans and equally shot at Dio t-shirt after three songs I would be pissed.

The good news is I am not pissed.  Sumerlands definitely invoke that feeling of a time when metal trod the line of commercial success and we all had never even heard of an "underground" scene. There's enough pompous delivery , soaring leads and theatrical vocals on the record to make Ronnie James Dio sit up in his grave and take note.  You'll trip over plodding rhythms and hooks galore throughout the entire experience and will no doubt be digging your Van Halen records out for a dusting off within a few listens to this.


Gratuitous 70s and 80s arena rock/metal praise aside, their is a limit for me to how long my attention span can be held by Sumerlands.  For all the memories it invokes and for all the obvious influences the record wears on it's sleeve it isn't 1984 anymore and I really don't want it to be to be honest.  For all the excellent musicianship on display on here (guitar work of particular note) I am bored after four tracks because it just sounds like the first track on the record on repeat, not necessarily out of any structural deficiency in the song writing, more out of the fact the points of actual note aren't frequent enough to elevate the listening experience to anything above average.

Although I don't hate it, the chances of me revisiting are slim to zero based on what I have heard so far.  If the internet is to be believed then there is a resurgence of the traditional american heavy metal sound occurring with the likes of Sumerlands, Crypt Sermon and Magic Circle leading the way.  The reality is though that they are not "leading" anywhere, this has all been done before.  Nothing wrong with recognising the past but revisiting it can soon become old.

2/5

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