The deserts of the Southwestern United States, specifically those of Arizona, New Mexico, and Southern California, are magical places. They are filled with more energy and mysticism than most any other places in the world. It’s from one of the largest cities in an otherwise vast, uninhabited wilds that have given us Sorxe. Rumbling out of Phoenix, AZ with a sound equal parts doom metal and spiritual enlightenment is a band that has the potential to make a very large name for themselves sooner than later.
In the brief description about themselves online, Sorxe state, “The band name comes from the idea of music creation and energy coming from a place inside us that is very sacred and when channeled can be a religious experience, whether its creating music…” While they specifically apply this to their moniker, it’s safe to say it’s a direct reflection of the music as well. Each track on their full length debut, Surrounded by Shadows, is constructed in a way that the end results appear to be almost ritualistic in nature. Take the aptly titled track, “Join Us”, for example. It begins with maniacal yet rhythmic drumming and harrowing screams before giving way to a monolithic riff barrage, only to wane into a sort of post-metal, psychedelic ambiance.
And so goes this entire album. Some of the nastiest, crunchiest, brutally beautiful riffs you are going to hear this year are often engulfed in a haze of atmospheric twists and turns. It’s a didactic display of how to successfully melt down genres into an almost shamanistic experience. The ebbs and flows of this album are roller coaster in complexity, yet somehow don’t give the sometimes proverbial vomit-inducing reaction that other musical roller coasters give. This isn’t a band that haphazardly threw in a bunch of time signature changes or sonic left turns ‘just because’. No, this feels too sophisticated for that, too enlightened. The way this album glides and soars from one genre influence to the next is akin to the way the great birds of prey float through the sky over those deserts, always with purpose and precision. Always gorgeous, yet always ready for the kill.
It’s interesting that in at least one description of this band the term “grunge” has been used. It’s a lightening rod of a term to use when describing a band as heavy as this one. If by grunge these folks mean the likes of Alice In Chains and early Soundgarden then there are certainly passages that may be applicable. There are clean vocals and clean guitars scattered throughout this record but the use of these elements is done in a way that actually further emphasizes the more titanic elements. Don’t be scared off by the “g” word metal friends. This album is an 18-wheeler with the brakes cut and heading down hill at enough points to wake your blackened heart melt. One listen to the opening riff on the opening track, (again aptly) titled “Steamroller”, that you’ll know you’ve entered a happy place for doom metal fanatics.
You ever wonder why some bands get signed to labels and others haven’t yet? No? You will after you hear this album and realize this is an unsigned band. Maybe they purposely chose the non-label route like so many bands are doing these days but it would be hard to believe that no labels come knocking after hearing this beast of an album.
Surrounded By Shadows hits the streets on September 9. In the meantime you can experience the track “Steamroller” over at the Sorxe Bandcamp page.