Gruesome Music-Where Rock and Horror Meet. That’s the title and tagline of our new venture here at Gruesome Magazine. But what is horror? The word Gruesome denotes bloody, scary, and macabre, but not all horror is gruesome right? What are some of the other types of horror? Creepy, spooky, ethereal? That’s where the band Suldusk resides.
Led by the self-described other-worldy frontwoman Emily Highfield, Suldusk hails from Melbourne Australia and they have released their debut full-length album, Lunar Falls. Consisting of Emily Highfield on vocals and guitar, Mark Kelson on guitar, bass, and keys, Glenn James on percussion, Marty O’Shea on drums, Nicky Blackmore and Brian Murphy on additional guitars and Francesca Mountford on Cello, Suldusk’s music have been described as many things. Black metal, Blackgaze, or Doom Folk are all descriptors, but I don’t know that any of those do them justice. From the first song, “Eleos”, to the last one, “Sovran Shrines”, Emily and the band take us on a trip, a dark trip through nature and the world.
“Eleos” starts our journey with the pleasant sounds of chirping birds, but that quickly turns to the eerie sounds of crows cawing mixed in, which then turns into a bone-chilling guitar riff and beautiful sweeping vocals. “Eleos” sets the mood for the album. “Solus Ipse” starts off with a beautiful acoustic guitar which leads you to believe that the entire album is going to be this style, until about two minutes in, at which time, the band steps on the gas pedal. Hard and crunching, the song takes off with break-neck speed. Emily shows her versatility with strong growling vocals, and the band runs headlong into the woods like deer running from a hunter.
“The Elms” is a beautiful, haunting and lyrical piece with an acoustic guitar, bongos, and that exquisite cello. “Aphasia” then goes to a completely different place that starts acoustic, goes rock, then slows back down only to speed back up again. Emily shows how much of a range she has and showcases all her considerable talents on this song. Then, the next two songs, “Three Rivers” and “Autumnal Resolve” show a little brighter side. A little more upbeat, and dare I say happier side of the band. “Three Rivers” sounds like it may have some Egyptian influences, while “Autumnal Resolve” is all acoustic. Following this, we have “Catacombs”, which is the definition of eerie, and would fit into any Quentin Tarantino movie and if he hears it, I bet it will be. “Nazare” and “Drogue” fall along the lines of the ethereal songs that have been established, each beautiful in their own ways. Finally, we end with the 7 minutes 22-second epic “Sovran Shrines”. Starting with that same eerie acoustic sound along with the cello, Sovran suddenly breaks into a full-on metal song with Emily’s crunching vocals, which remind me of the 80s metal band Grim Reaper.
Suldusk is a band all of its own. While my expertise is limited in the area, they have a sound that is unlike anyone else going now. At home with lovely acoustic sounds and Emily’s beautiful singing voice, as they are with grinding guitars and rough-edged vocals, this band knows no boundaries. You could as easily hear their music in Game of Thrones, or Vikings as you could in a Tarantino movie. Unique, haunting, beautiful, hard-edged, grinding, creepy, and eerie all at once. While it may not absolutely appeal to Black Metal fans, you can’t deny Emily Highfield’s talent and appeal. Equal parts Amy Lee and Randy Blythe, give Emily and her music a chance. You may end up enchanted.
Lunar Falls track listing:
- Solus Ipse
- The Elm
- Three Rivers
- Autumnal Resolve
- Sovran Shrines
Emily Highfield: Vocals, Guitar
Mark Kelson: Guitar, Bass, Keys
Glenn James: Percussion
Marty O’Shea: Drums
Nicky Blackmore and Bryan Murphy: Additional Guitar
Francesca Mountford: Cello