Monday, 17 October 2016

ALBUM REVIEW: 40 Watt Sun - “Wider than the Sky”

By: TJ Kliebhan

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 14/10/2016
Label: Providence Records |
Svart Records


Although the record may find itself on the fringes of metal, the empathetic feelings Walker shares over soaring ten minute tracks should cause anyone who has felt anything before to reflect in some meaningful way. “Wider than the Sky” challenges its listeners to reflect for themselves, because after all it’s important to remember where one stands. 40 Watt Sun’s latest record is likely to find itself among the best records released this year.

“Wider than the Sky” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Stages
2). Beyond You
3). Another Room
4). Pictures
5). Craven Road
6). Marazion


The Review:
Patrick Walker enjoys his privacy. It’s no secret that the English musician tends to keep a low profile, which makes any news coming from him significant to his fans. In 2016, Walker has announced a one day performance at Roadburn festival where he will be reuniting Warning to play the “Watching from a Distance” in its entirety. Warning has been considered seminal in the revival of traditional doom metal, but do not put that genre label on what Walker does now as 40 Watt Sun.
Walker began 40 Watt Sun to address his growth as a musician and songwriter while moving on from the music he created as a young man. This year Walker finally announced a follow-up record for 40 Watt Sun marking 2016 as an exciting year for fans who have endured long periods of silence over the past three years. Label issues delayed the release of “Wider than the Sky” until now, marking the group’s first record in five years coming by way of their own Providence Records label. A Patrick Walker release has never sounded more polished or emotionally devastating than on “Wider than the Sky”.
On 40 Watt Sun’s sophomore effort, the band creates an air of maturity while Walker’s baritone pleading vocal wrestles with past relationships, meaningful physical places in his life, and the passing of time. The album is lyrically crushing, and finds Walker taking the least abstract approach to songwriting in his career.
The massive opening track “Stages” clocks in at over sixteen minutes and features chilling lines such as, “the heart of the matter that both of us can’t hide…I’m feeling everything like nothing in my life.” Walker has always touted that his lyrics are simply what he experiences. The drama that his voice as well as the slow, rhythmic delivery are fitting for this incredibly genuine collection of words. Walker’s chosen canvas for these ubiquitous tales is around ten minutes, but he proves he is able to deliver equally traumatic words on the short final track “Marazion”. The track finds Walker longing for the coastal town while aching, “if I could just be strong enough, but I don’t want to face it.”
While Walker can come off as a dreary character, these six tracks offer a diverse array of subjects that come with his unique perspective on, with the only constant from track to track being the level of personal intimacy that Walker brings to each song.
Musically, this is 40 Watt Sun’s cleanest record. The crushing atmosphere and distortion that Warning created was severely scaled back on 40 Watt Sun’s first record “The Inside Room.” Indeed “Wider than the Sky” takes the cleaner tones even further. This is still very much a guitar driven record and the pacing is similar to past releases in the Walker canon, but everything sounds more refined. This new record sounds as if it will seamlessly transition to the solo acoustic shows that Patrick Walker frequently performs. Many of the these tracks feature a sound for the opening couple minutes that slowly gets expanded upon by incorporating more instruments or feature a slight change in pace with a new riff. The tracks unfold in subtle ways and brilliantly derive significance out of minimalism. “Another Room” and “Craven Road” are perfect examples of how Walker is a master of maximizing the power of a shift in pace using a similar melody and tone without introducing numerous new instruments to the fold.
Wider than the Sky” demonstrates that 40 Watt Sun is not dedicated to any sound or existing to satisfy the clamors of Doom metal fans. The band has aged and refused to compromise their vision, and in the process has created a release which could be considered as one Patrick Walker’s best. Although the record may find itself on the fringes of metal, the empathetic feelings Walker shares over soaring ten minute tracks should cause anyone who has felt anything before to reflect in some meaningful way. “Wider than the Sky” challenges its listeners to reflect for themselves, because after all it’s important to remember where one stands. 40 Watt Sun’s latest record is likely to find itself among the best records released this year.
“Wider Than the Sky” is available here

Band info: facebook

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