I’ve been sitting on Concrete Sun’s debut album for some time, and in all honesty, I wasn’t all that keen to rush reviewing it. Perhaps I wasn’t paying enough attention to it, or I just wasn’t really in the mood, but either way, ‘Sky Is High’ simply didn’t grab me in the first couple of spins after receiving it.
But despite this, I persevered, and slowly but surely, Concrete Sun started winning me over, and eventually led to where I am now – in front of my computer listening to the album while writing up a review of their debut effort.
Concrete Sun is proof that Serbia does have something to offer the music scene, even if it is something completely unexpected. And I say unexpected, because while Serbia isn’t exactly the kind of place I would expect to find a southern metal based outfit, their take on the southern metal sound is quite well done.
The five piece act (Comprising of vocalist Cerovina Strahinja, guitarists Mijatović Bojan and Živković Budimir, bassist Petrović Strahinja and drummer Topić Miloš) start off the album with the mid-paced ‘Just A Beginning’, which immediately reveals the extent that Down have influenced the band’s overall sound, with traces of Pantera and Godsmack thrown in for some good measure. Strahinja has a great voice, with just enough rasp and character in his vocals to pull off the song’s southern sound convincingly (A slight early Layne Staley influence and sound can be heard from Strahinja in places), while the dual guitar work from Bojan and Budimir is solid, without going over the top.
The follow-up track ‘Euphoria’ shows a little more energy from the band, with the stronger groove elements (Both in terms of riffs and percussion) within the band’s song writing coming to the fore, while on ‘Last Man Under The Sun’ adds a little more diversity amongst the early half of the album with the song evoking a heavy blues/alternative rock feel. Worthy of a mention is the great solo and choruses that are included in this track, which definitely makes the song stand out as one of the album’s stand outs.
Both ‘D.A.N.U.B.E.’ and ‘Ruff Song’ are energetic hard rockers that seemed rooted more in the classic rock domain, but with a southern edge on the guitar riffs and vocals, while ‘Junkyard Dog’ and ‘God Forsaken Prostitute’ owe more to Pantera’s ‘Cowboys From Hell’ (1990) with their stronger emphasis on metallic grooves and aggression.
Finishing up the album is the title track ‘Sky Is High’, which is perhaps one of the album’s more generic and forgettable sounding efforts, and ‘Hide Behind’, which apart from the Zakk Wylde/Dimebag Darrell sounding guitar squeals, is another fairly average effort.
Concrete Sun are a solid group who know how to write a good song, and deliver southern metal that strikes the perfect balance between aggression, melody and groove. Unfortunately, inconsistencies within the song writing and an obvious sense of familiarity throughout the album do bring ‘Sky Is High’ down as a whole.
Concrete Sun isn’t one of the southern metal’s hidden talents, and ‘Sky Is High’ is far from a perfect release. But at the very least, the band have certainly debuted with a solid release, and proven that Serbia has more to offer than initially thought.
For more information on Concrete Sun, check out - http://www.myspace.com/concretesunns
© Justin Donnelly