Jerry Lucky.com

I think it’s safe to say the musical career path of the band New Sun is on more of a “slow burn” that a “hot boil.” This is the fourth CD since 1995 for the San Francisco based quartet, following up on their last release Expectations in 2001. Made up of Chris Trujillo (drums, vocals), Christopher Scott Cooper (guitars, vocals, keys), Alex Kley (bass) and newest member Chris Elio (vocals) the band have over the years slowly evolved their heavy-prog style in some interesting ways. Formed in 1993 at the beginning of yet another wave of new prog bands, New Sun’s musical vision always took a harder edge and that continues to this day. 

 

Damage Doneis made up of seven compositions ranging from four-minutes up to a little over nine. Many of the classic prog elements are in place, soft, introspective parts transform into loud clashing heavier segments. Intricate instrumental work, the individual soloing, the instrumental interplay, it’s all there although it’s not always that obvious. The overall tone is dark and heavier although nowhere does it fall into the prog-metal style. Instead these tunes play their heaviness off of open and spacious musical structures. The opening track “Shards in the Sand” [9:15], the longest of the bunch is a classic example as it weaves through many different ups and downs incorporating plenty of musical change-ups along the way. While keyboards are present, they hardly ever play a prominent role for any length of time. For the most part they stay in the back, playing a supporting role. It’s the guitars that take centre stage. Lead vocals are supported on many occasions with subtle harmonies all of which creates a nice full sound in the vocal department.      

 

On the surface the sound created by New Sun on Damage Done comes off as sparse, open, and airy even simple. And yet for all the spaciousness created, the more you spend time with these tunes the more cohesive and complex they begin to sound. This is the kind of prog that will have much appeal to fans of fringe genres like Alt-Prog. The guitar-centric approach will also appeal to prog-metal fans looking for something just a little more interestingly structured. Nicely done.

Progression Magazine

RATING 11.5 (out of possible 15)

 

After a 10-year absence, San Francisco’s New Sun returns with its fourth release. (The addition of new vocalist Chris Elio caused a reboot delaying this album’s completion.) The band explores human nature’s darker side in the likes of “Damage Done,” where Elio intones, “Just another day to swim through/Hollow steps to nowhere/His hopes all used.”

     Tempos throughout are slow to middlin’, fitting the reflective themes. Consequently, it takes a bit of patience and focus on the lyrics to hang with nine-minute “Shards in the Sand,” and others.  “Dreams” picks things up, adding inventive use of horns.  “Miscreants” could be the album’s strength, alternating acoustic guitar verses with more aggressive choruses. “Chasm City” employs vocal harmonies to nice effect.

     Damage Done is self-produced which can bring mixed results. They’ve done a fairly good job, especially with the drum tracks. The vocals can sound “distant,” but that also might be for effect. Regardless, New Sun deserves kudos for courageously heeding its muse after too long away. -- RICK TVEDT

 

 Progression Magazine

Since 1992, "The 'Bible' of progressive music"

Sinfomusic

Review Damage Done 

 Jordi Costa Sinfomusic (Musea-Spain)

 Surprising New Sun is back after more than ten years of silence. It was in 2001 when they released their last album Expectations, an album that did not receive as good reviews as their two previous works. Maybe that led to the long hibernation of the group, a long silence broken now with Damage Done.

 This new album takes us back to the groups darker material. The music of these veterans of American Progressive exercises introspection with an interesting sound. Sinuously moving parts accompanying a story always disturbing. It's as if Rush or King's X, were deeply tinged with Fripp, or Steve Wilson, sometimes touching on Gothic.

 Compositions like "Shards in the Sand" testify to the edginess that surrounds their style. "Damage Done" demonstrates the ability to thrill the listener and hold with interesting changes driven by ubiquitous electric guitar. There are dramatic moments as with "Antigravity", where a broken voice recalls the torn style of Peter Hammill. We also found more direct and simple pieces like "She Moved Me." "Dreams" is one of the most picturesque songs, rhythms much more animated with an open air sound that suddenly turns jazzy. "Miscreants" is a departure with excellent drums and powerful guitars , perhaps the composition of a more Progressive House band. The album closes with "Chasm City" a terrific end, very vocal oriented, with excellent vocal harmonies and strong guitar. Moody and intense it is reminiscent of the best moments of their earlier works.

 It is well worth trusting in New Sun again, I would give them another chance because they keep making good music and they retain their character, their distinctive style and that's hard to find.

progarchives.com

 This is NEW SUN's third studio album and it sounds more polished than the first two releases.I don't think it measures up to the first two though,but that's probably more my tastes than anything else.This is still a good record. "Mammoth" is a great way to start, as this is my favourite track. It opens with dark guitar sounds as it slowly developes. There is some riffing 2 minutes in and were really cooking now.Vocals come in as we get a contrast between light and heavy passages.We get a RUSH-like section before it turns atmospheric like the intro.It ends with the guitar crying out as were smoking again. "Cause & Effect II" features guitar,violin,drums and gentle vocals.Passionate vocals take over in an uplifting section.We are treated to some nice guitar work 4 minutes in. "Land Of Not So" reminds me of ECHOLYN for some reason.This is a fairly powerful tune.Some screaming guitar melodies 4 minutes in.The vocals are almost mono toned until he screams out. "Expectations" is divided into 7 parts and is the longest song at 10 minutes. Acoustic guitar to open with reserved vocals.The song becomes an uptempo tune driven by throbbing bass lines,as the lead guitar fires off several rounds.This is a great section.We then get a spacey passage with lots of atmosphere.Acoustic and electric guitar with vocals to end it."Time,And No Words With You" features acoustic guitar melodies throughout. "No Mas Uvas" opens with a man talking before he is cut off by heavy guitar.It turns into a RUSH-like melody with some great bass. This is my second favourite song. "Do You Wish To Know" features drifting vocals and a spacey soundscape. "Expectations Reprise" is really the first minute of the "Expectations" song. As i said this is a good record.I would probably suggest you start with their first album though.

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ProgressiveWorld

New Sun Expectations New Sun - Expectations If their previous output seemed mostly Rush influenced, New Sun have added a little bit of King Crimson to their palette, specifically angularity to their arrangements. Not in every track, but you can hear it in "Mammoth" which opens the album, and in "No Mas Uvas, " later in the album. About the first track, it actually begins with a chiming guitar that made me think both of Dream Theater and of Metallica (specifically of the track "One"*). Martial drums come for several measures, and then the full instrumentation which is a little raw (admittedly a bit Rush-like), before this gives way to vocals. As it draws to a conclusion, we get howling sound effects that are haunting. A driving rock arrangement closes the track, leaving us only with a keening guitar. In a news item I wrote recently, in reference to the next Explorer's Club album, I mentioned a Discovery Channel special about raising a mammoth found frozen. Well, this track here references the same discovery that the special detailed. The reason there is such excitement is because mammoths have been extinct for thousands of years, and because this corpse has been frozen, we can learn much more about the mammoths and how they died. If we are not careful, we, too, could be like the mammoths. It is an ecological message that we really should heed. It's funny, too, because in glancing at the photo of the band on the back of the sleeve (see above) I was thinking to myself that Cooper (in the middle) looks to be more outdoors man (nature guide, environmentalist, or the like) than a musician (whatever a musician is supposed to look like). Track Listing: Mammoth (7:26) / Cause & Effect II (5:01) / Land Of Not So (6:35) / Expectations: Part 1-Reflections - Part 2-Determination - Part 3 & 4-Downside Up - Part 5-Soliloquy - Part 6-Single Malt Solution - Part 7-Redemption? (10:00) / Time, And No Words With You (5:01) / No Mas Uvas (4:08) / Do You Wish To Know (5:09) / Expectations Reprise (0:56) Musicians: Alex Kley - bass Christopher Scott Cooper - guitars, vocals, keyboards Chris Trujillo - drums, vocals Guests: Gustaf Fjelstrom - bass (6) Benito Cortez - violin (2) Neil Panton - piano (2) Tom Carr - backing vocals (7) Lance Nottle, and Mark Bruhn - broadcast voices (1) Commy Tarr - The Rant (6) New Sun Affects New Sun - Affects New Sun wear their influences on their sleeve: Rush, Pink Floyd, Marillion and others. There are the deep, dark guitar tones of 80's-90's Rush, such that there are phrases here and there that will remind of specific Rush tunes. And yet, at other times, the music hews closely to late 80's Pink Floyd. And at still other times, Marillion. There is enough freshness in some of the arrangements, though, to make this not just well worth a listen but also lifts it above mere mimicry. Track Listing: Dark the Azure Sky (1:18) / Prometheus (6:25) / Acquired Muscle Memory (3:55) / Cyrus Gore (9:47) / Cause & Effect (4:35) / ...But For The Gleam In Her Eye (1:41) / FYB (the Deceptionist) (8:41) / Question (7:34) Musicians: D. L. Erickson - guitars and keyboards Alex Kley - bass Christopher Scott - guitars, vocals, keyboards, acillatem processor, samples Chris Trujillo - drums, percussion, and vocals New Sun Fractured New Sun -Fractured Fractured was New Sun 's debut album, released in 1995. They followed this with Affects in 1997 and are working on new material for a third disk. What is true of both disks is the Rush influence, but, for the most part it only colors their sound rather than being the main thrust. Certainly, the opening track, the appropriately entitled "Intro" has the strongest Rush influence, especially in the guitar tones and style used. But from there it launches itself elsewhere. But then, once you get beyond that, making any concrete comparison becomes elusive, especially if you're trying to compare them to some of the more recognizable bands. Christopher Scott has a unique voice, and I mean that in positive way, because I can't give you a "think of" kind of guide. The second track, "The Sprawl" does take on some Marillion like characteristics - tentative keyboard washes, probing guitarÉnotes that poke and prod as they make their way forward, only to settle back into swirling circles. There is a strong sense of restraint, giving this track a nervous, edgy feel. "Glass" is full of light, sparse guitar, brisk bass, lively percussion, and casual vocals until you reach the chorus where something has been let loose, and which brings this track into a much darker, denser arrangement, as it spirals inwards to implosion, coming just short of that. And then it starts again, churning its way to an almost sudden conclusion, leaving no resolution. "Then and Now" moves into yet another bit of territory - mostly filled with gently swooping and undulating keyboard washes, threatening something more sweeping, more expansive. But it remains restrained and mellow and quite good. The drums, bass, and acoustic guitar maintain a steady mid-tempo rhythm. This is that kind of reflective track that evokes images of the ocean at dusk, waves crashing and swirling around a rocky shore, a lone figure gazing off into the distance as the sun sinks, heralding the passing of another season. I can't quite put this into words, but it is by far my favorite track on the album, exuding the warmth of remembrance tinged with melancholy. This looking back is continued "Remembering You," which opens with the warm, lilting vocals of guest Monica Pasqual, who trades off vocals with Christopher Scott. Pasqual's tone is close to that of Renaissance's Annie Haslem, perhaps even closer to The Gathering's Anneke van Giersbergen - at least to my ears. Scott's vocals are rawer in comparison, earthier, providing a nice contrast. "Switched By Remote" has moments where it sounds a bit like Rush's "Subdivisions" musically. The vocals are less than straightforward, as Scott seems to be singing from deep within, forcing the lyrics out through a constricted throat. Not something I was immediately attracted to, but taken in the context of the song, it works. "Deathbird" comes across as crunchless progressive metal, full of heavy guitar, deep vocals (sans being growly). But, here again New Sun give over to their melodic tendencies as there is a delicate, repeated guitar phrase over light percussion, understated bass, and subtle keyboard washes. Just when you think it might get overlong, the percussion moves up a bit, changing the character. From this, it builds back up to the dark, heavy atmospherics. Overall this is a strong debut, and another strong voice for modern progressive rock, bringing it into the next century. There's quite a bit to like about this album, quite a bit, and I find more and more as it gets repeated plays. Recommended. [Christopher Scott wrote, subsequent to this review's posting: "[The keyboard washes are] actually guitar. No keys used for wash tones. In fact there is only three keyboard parts on the whole CD!"] Track Listing: Intro (2:12) / The Sprawl (5:49) / Glass (7:35) / Then & Now (8:20) / Remembering You (6:30) / Switched By Remote (4:24) / Deathbird (5:38) / Earthlost (8:47) / Lifeforce (5:33) / Indecisions (6:57) Musicians: D. L. Erickson - guitars and keyboards Alex Kley - bass Christopher Scott - guitars, vocals, keyboards, acillatem processor, samples Chris Trujillo - drums, percussion, and vocals