Review: “Blood & Spirit” by Nonsun

The album title refers to spiritual struggles through the bloodiest of times. The five tracks, in a sense, are yearnings, or prayers, thrown into the void. What doesn’t kill you… Does it make you stronger? Or leave you even more crippled? When all magic is gone… Is wisdom worth a thing? It’s about raising questions rather than giving answers. As the rational mind & willpower fail, a spiritual quest begins” ~ Nonsun

Recorded at NonSound Studio & Pohulianka Basement Hall between 2017 and 2020 the sophomore album from Lviv Ukrainian based quartet Nonsun couldn’t have come at a stranger time for them as the eyes of the World are upon their homeland at War with Russia and that makes it all the more surreal reviewing it. For those who are familiar with their 2018  debut album “Black Snow Desert“, while that was intended as more of a single composition in six movements, this is a collection of five more distinctly individual pieces, each with its own story to tell while not losing any of the Drone and Post-Metal leanings that are the hallmark the bands signature sound. There is a grace and beauty that unfolds as “Blood & Spirit” plays out, a cinematic soundscape that creates a World shrouded in darkness which also has a dream like quality to it, painting pictures of giant monolithic beasts awaking from Slumber and moving across the shifting desert sands of a windswept apocalyptic landscape. While technically this is an instrumental record, there are moments where gutteral rumblings and ethereal harmonies are interwoven into the fabric of the music in a non lyrical fashion so as to enhance the dark and at times oppressive atmosphere with something a little creepier and it works in the most unexpected of ways, like a hand that reaches from the void, you’re not sure if it’s a call for help or its going to drag you under. Sonically each of these compositions build consistently, taking their time to reach their crescendos with wonderful intricacies within each movement that keeps you coming back for more as it’s entirely captivating and enthralling from start to finish. While the band have claimed their intentions to make this record one of individual pieces, there are just a cohesive as the debut album is, hanging together perfectly with the balance of the same construction materials forming a solid backbone join which the rest graciously sits. While the earlier cuts have an amount of swagger about them the later pairing of “Guilt, Disgust, Disaster” and “In Your Eyes I’m a Cripple” are longer passages that establish themselves like a beautiful Boa Constrictor that settles around your throat unassumingly before gradually creating a bleak and unsettlingly creepy tone before crushing you to death with  explosive cut glass finales. The former has the subtle use of a saxophone that adds to the whole resonance while the latter introduces an organ and both are equally stunning as they approach but doesn’t quite reach shoegazing textures. There is not an ounce of fat to be trimmed here and it could be the inspiration that someone needs to create an art house film to match it’s shimmering brilliance [8/10]

Track Listing

  1. A Wizard Grieving Over the Loss of Magic
  2. That Which Does Not Kill
  3. Days of Thunder Bring New Wisdom
  4. Guilt, Disgust, Disaster
  5. In Your Eyes I’m a Cripple

Blood & Spirit” by Nonsun is out 15th April 2022 via Dunk!Records and available over at bandcamp.

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