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Returning from over a decade in absence, blackened experimental act Slowly Building Weapons returns with the confronting and cavernous Sunbirds.

Even in its early and humble beginnings, Slowly Building Weapons found home in non-conformity. The 2007 debut album Nausicaä, although crammed with abrasive blackened hardcore, maintained a steady quota of experimentation. It’s this revival the band truly stretches its wings (not sorry). Sunbirds unveils a true talent for autonomously blending light, shade and texture.

Vocalist Nick Bowman’s gravelly gargle expels over the opener ‘Throne’. Ferocious and with tinges of black metal, little is spared for a reprieve, as is the tracks that follow. It isn’t until ‘Sunforest’ that Slowly Building Weapons canvases its melodic side. Trading harsh screams for ethereal melodies, it’s surprising how seamless the transition between extremes is. Here lies the beauty embedded throughout this record – exchanges of violence and calm occur so naturally.  

Written over two-and-a-half years via correspondence. In that time, ideas were shared back and forth between members based in Australia and Japan. It is possible that such a process has granted an eclectic end result. It’s a little presumptive, given the year’s end is still a few months away, but Sunbirds is arguably one of 2017’s freshest heavy releases thus far.

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