Silence the Sun – “Faceless” (2016) & “Fault Line” (2017)

It’s exciting to review an Australian band that I’d not previously heard of. They came on my radar when I received a media release from their PR agent. Progressive rock from Queensland’s Fortitude Valley. Interesting.

Fault Line

Fault Line is the second single released from their upcoming debut album “Sailing Empty Streets” due out in September 2017. The previous single was “Faceless”, which I’ll also take a look at in this review.

Fault Line builds from a strong bass and drum groove. Plenty of melodic movement and the high hat patterns give the verses momentum. The chorus gives vocalist Maf Davis a more stable platform to open up the pipes. The layering of the vocals provides a rich texture to his voice that lifts with the drums opening up thanks to the ride cymbal. The bridge channels the guitars from the verse, albeit, a stripped down version until the drums and bass kick back in. The bridge provides the clearest chance to listen to the guitars on the track and that is my main criticism of the track, the mix feels unbalanced. I’m a bass player, I LOVE hearing the bass but in this mix, it is so dominant that the guitars and drums lose energy and the vocals don’t cut through as clearly as I’d hope. It’s such a subjective thing mixing, my perfect mix will be different to yours, but this mix feels unbalanced. A Buddhists nightmare.

The song is a rather formulaic structure, (ABABCB) I have no problems with that, there is a reason it so prevalent. It works. The ideas are good enough and the performances are really solid particularly the bass lines. I hope that the mix for the album release is tweaked so that when it comes time to check that out I can focus more on the songs themselves.

Faceless

Channeling their inner pop-punk, Silence the Sun deliver a radio friendly single in Faceless. The verse provides an up-tempo feel and serves as a piece of contrast for the chorus to sound “bigger”. The chorus opens up to let the vocals shine over a more relaxed beat on the drums, the song feels like it has fallen into the groove now. Without that contrast of the verses the chorus couldn’t have the same lift, it’s an effective use of a rock staple.

The guitar tones and playing in the chorus are a great companion to the vocal melodies, providing excitement through melodic movement. Again, the mix feels unbalanced with too much emphasis on the bass and sub bass frequencies to really let the vocals and guitars compete. It’s a shame as the ingredients are all there to be a very solid melodic rock band. I don’t like that I’m so obsessed with the mix, I really don’t. I hate criticising something so subjective, but in this case I struggled to look past it.

 

Australian rock bands face a very difficult path, with so many bands falling apart after one or two albums, touring is expensive and with major population centres spaced out by hundreds of kilometres. It’s a damn hard slog ahead of anyone who hopes to make a meaningful career in this genre, in this country. With all of that said, I look forward to checking out the album in a few months time when it’s released and hopefully following the band on a long and successful career. The elements are all there for Silence the Sun to be a relevant band in the Australian rock scene.

 

I’ve done all the listening for this article on my Shure SE215 headphones straight from the computer, as I do for most reviews. All EQ is off or flat wherever possible. I’ll update this article if I find that it’s my particular setup influencing the sound of the mix. It’s not un-listenable by any stretch but I did find it to be drawing my attention away from the songs. I’m sorry. I’ll stop now.