Suntold named their debut album World Torn Asunder. The conceptual focus of the album is World War I, which did indeed tear the world asunder, killing and wounding 9.7 million military combatants and 10 million civilians. It wiped out almost an entire generation of young men and left an older generation humbled by grief and shame. And yet only two decades later the world convulsed in war again, propelled by the power-hunger and blood-lust of tyrannical leaders and fueled by the worst impulses of their citizens.
History continues to repeat itself. Once again, brutal conflict rages in Europe and atrocities are being inflicted on innocent civilians at the hands of a dictator and his conscripts. There is no clear end in sight, and significant risk that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will become even more decimating to the Ukrainian people and that the conflict will spread beyond its borders.
Unless they had a crystal ball, Suntold did not know the invasion of Ukraine would happen when they wrote and recorded World Torn Asunder. By a terrible coincidence, it is now depressingly relevant. World Torn Asunder reminds us of past horrors but also reminds us of the horrors that are still happening, and in the music it’s a stunningly powerful reminder, which we now share with you via our premiere of the complete album here on the day of its release.
We begin with this statement by a member of the band:
Our story on this album doesn’t hide the fact that it’s told from the perspective of the men that served during WW1 and the treacherous battles that fought on/off the battlefield.
We talk about timeless battles, battling with anxiety, and fighting fear within yourself to carry on.
I believe this album is much more than that, it’s showcasing that war is a real thing – it’s bloody, it’s vile, it destroys families, and it tears people down.
We are facing these times right now between Russia and Ukraine.
We stand for you Ukraine, this is dedicated to you.
The music of this part-American, part-Belgian trio captures the thunder of munitions, the wild pulse of human madness, and the agony of pain and despair. The drums and bass detonate and fire in bursts of high-speed mechanized destructiveness. The guitars scream, swirl, and blare, throb in crazed fevers, and shiver like ill-suited, ill-fed soldiers consumed by winter. They create extravagant vistas of sweeping, all-consuming chaos.
Fear and madness reign in the music, accompanied by dense tides of confusion and decimating anguish, and at times unveiling portraits of terrible grandeur. But when the hyper-accelerated momentum slows, the chords ring and reverberate, creating sensations of hopeless torment and mourning, and scenes of loneliness and heartbreak. Cinematic synths are also deployed to generate epic visions of haunting devastation, like vast battlefields littered with ruined bodies.
The unnerving vocals are a perfect match for the unnerving music — growling, snarling, screaming, and choking as if strangled. Both bestial cruelty and unchained suffering come through in those inflamed and horrifying sounds. At times, you can hear heart-breaking singing and historical vocal recordings that are used to good effect.
The intensity of the music that Suntold use to narrate their harrowing historical tales is daunting yet immersive. Listening is like being caught in a powerful whirlpool of sound and emotion. The band use different techniques to keep the album from being so overpowering as to exhaust the listener’s endurance, by (for example) incorporating slower, softer, and more beleaguered moments. But they do so without detracting from the overarching feelings of turmoil and tragedy that lie at the heart of the album’s conception.
World Torn Asunder is available now on many streaming platforms. Check the links below for more info about how to obtain it.
Vocalist- Dakota Rivera (Inanimate Prognosis, Hellthorne)
Guitar/Mixing/Mastering- Cedric Hannecart (Human Vivisection, Sadistic Defilement, etc.)
Drums- Stijn Kelchtermans