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Sunwheel...To the Fight! - 95%

Dank, August 24th, 2006

Monuments of the Elder Faith is the second release from the Polish black metal outfit Sunwheel, after Prophecies of the Aryan Moon which was originally released under the previous band name Swastyka and again as a split with Grom(US).

I could go into a song by song review, but I tend to find those tedious to read, let alone write, so I’ll abstain from that and review the EP as a whole.

Comparisons to guitarist/vocalist Piaty’s other project Kataxu are probably unavoidable, but there are distinct differences in musical style between these two acts.

Whilst Kataxu has a distinct symphonic ambience (including completely ambient tracks), Sunwheel has a slightly more hard edged approach which is showcased with aggressive vocals which can be described as a guttural rasp – (possibly Satanica era Behemoth although a little more black metal sounding), and grinding guitar riffs.

On first listen the production is vastly improved from their previous recording, which makes the listening experience that much more rewarding as all instruments are now fully audible. The songs tend to be quite catchy, which arises from common tempo changes of simple but varied riffs, interesting vocal patterns and relatively intelligible lyrics. The keyboards manage to add fullness to the sound without dominating the music. (Dimmu Borgir references are unjustified).

The real substance in this album comes from the second, third and forth tracks, with the intro and outro acting as bookends to the symphonic fury in-between.

Running for just over 24 minutes this is not of ideal length but since its usually obtainable for less than a standard full-length this isn’t a major drawback. Sunwheel’s Monuments of the Elder Faith is a solid black metal release, its only problem is by the time its over I’m left wanting more.