Strike the Sun is the second full-length from Miami trio Shroud Eater, although, like many sludge outfits, they’ve put out a handful of singles, splits and EPs in the interim. I had the chance, in theory, to catch them at Psycho Las Vegas last year… but it was a missed opportunity, since I didn’t see their set, so this serves as a belated introduction to the band for me.
The album gets underway with “Smokeless Fire,” a haunting, spacey intro that reminds me of Ides of Gemini—or maybe Demon Lung, minus the riffs… which come crashing in right at the start of the next song, “Iron Mountain,” alongside pounding drums and spaced-out sludge vocals. There are definitely shades of Winter here, mixed with just a bit of Sleep. “Awaken Assassin” creeps and crawls along like classic Gates of Slumber, with what almost sounds like a flute solo toward the end. “Another Skin” picks up the pace to a menacing mid-tempo stomp, before throwing some Swedish-style stoner-rock riffs in to take some of the edge off. This track is entirely instrumental, aside from some spoken-word movie clips.
The doom and gloom continues with the downtuned despondency of “It Walks Among,” the rugged sludge of “Unseen Hand” and the slightly speedier stop-start riffage of “Futile Exile.” This is not an album that conjures many happy thoughts.