When people hear the term “side-project” in reference to a music group, there can at times be a negative connotation associated with it. Generally speaking, most could worry that the term is a little too literal when thinking of the one particular word; “side”. Will the associated members put their all in this endeavor? Will they care or put enough passion into the endeavor, or will they just release music to put something else out into the world? Well, with all assurances, every single fear can be set way (WAY) aside with Hundred Suns and their debut album, The Prestaliis. Featuring an all-star lineup consisting of Cory Brandan (Norma Jean), Ryan “Legs” Leger (ex-Every Time I Die), and Chris LeMasters (Dead & Divine) there could be no doubt that the album would be anything but incredible.
Opening up this masterpiece is “The Prestaliis I”. Beginning with an eerie, almost seance-esque sound, and Brandan’s vocals used as a haunting backdrop rather than taking the forefront. But just over fifty seconds into the song, it kicks into overdrive with Brandan’s voice soaring over crunching guiatrs, and heavy hitting drumming. With an intro track such as this, the group has already shown that Hundred Suns is just as important to them, as any of their original bands.
One of Hundred Suns’ greatest assets is Cory Brandan. He has a voice that’s second to none, with both his cleans and screamed vocal range that seem virtually limitless. “Bedburner” shows this splendidly. There is a sense of raw emotion oozing through Brandan’s voice, and it’s one of the rare tracks to have any screamed vocals at all. Its beautifully melodic verses and chorus, are contrasted perfectly with a crushing breakdown.
“Last Apology” was the second single released. The song has a more straight up rock feel to it then some of the other songs on the album. And with no bridge, it’s also one of the shortest songs yet it lacks no impact whatsoever. Melodic and full of intensity, it’s no surprise that this was an obvious choice as one of the introductions to this new and amazing group.
Off the album ‘The Prestaliis’ out August 11th on New Damage Records.
Perhaps the biggest highlight to this album is the fifth track entitled, “December”. It’s one of the softer songs on the album, yet it packs such a powerful, emotional punch that it still resonates in such a strong way. With beautiful, yet almost sad sounding guitar work, perfect drumming to accentuate each and every note, and Brandan’s lighter vocals, this song shows a side of this band you wouldn’t normally expect. And even though the subject matter of the track borders on melancholia, it still feels so surreal and ethereal, it’s bound to be many a listeners favorite track.
“Hellelujah” serves as one of the heavier tracks on the album. Dense, slow palm muting and gritty vocals rule the verses, while everything is ramped up in speed and volume on the choruses, with Brandan’s vocals border lining on screaming. The breakdown is an intense slap to the face with screams running rampant over drumming so intense, it sounds as if Legs’, legs could pop clean out of their sockets. This is one of the angrier tracks on the record, feeding the metalheads what they so viciously desire.
Closing out the album is “The Prestalliis II”. Mirroring the intro track with similar sounding elements, and the repeated line “Burn us. Burn us. We are the effigy”, you feel the connection, yet this song almost doubles in length. This extra time provides the song with a more epic feel, which is exactly what any listener would look for in a suitable closing track on any album.
Through each and every note throughout this stellar album, you can tell each member took their time in deciding every single detail. The musicianship, as to be expected, is top tier, and the lyricism is meticulous and almost poetic at times. You can sense that each member brought their own influences to the table and melded them to make the perfect sound. With equally softer tones, and hard hitting tracks alike, there is truly something for all. This is no side-project. Hundred Suns is its own entity entirely and The Prestaliis is a phenomenal album which will undoubtedly be a strong contender for album of the year among rock fans of all kinds.