Album Review: Canyon of the Skull – Sins of the Past (Self Released)

Instrumental blackened doom trio Canyon of the Skull will release Sins of The Past, the band’s third album, on November 20th 2019.

In terms the musical style, the band’s aesthetic is formed more specifically by black metal, funeral doom, and classic heavy metal. Guitarist Erik Ogershok offers a fuller description of what Canyon of the Skull have accomplished on Sins of the Past:

I try to do different things with each record and this one is no exception. This record is visceral and immediate, like the self-titled, while being highly conceptual and dynamic like The Desert Winter. ‘The Ghost Dance’ is probably the best thing that I have written to date. ‘The Sun Dance’ is unlike anything that I have ever written before. It incorporates my basic philosophies of composition but applies them differently, one that I jokingly call prog-doom.

The main aesthetic and themes that Canyon of the Skull was founded on remain unchanged. This band has always been focused on telling the stories of Indigenous Americans and their environments, specifically those of the American Southwest. I am still surprised at how many people have never met an Indigenous American, but we are not extinct, and this band exists to tell our stories both past, present, and future. This record is a bit more broad with the subject matter since it involves the rituals of tribes far from the land of my people. Also, this record is more influenced by recent events that have an impact beyond Native communities. I don’t like to talk specifically about the deeper meaning of any of my compositions as I want people to discover their meaning in our music. These two pieces have very specific meanings to both me and the wider world and googling the titles is my recommendation for people that want to delve deeper for the literal meanings.

 

 

Don’t be fooled by seeing two tracks, Sins of the Past is an enormous album as both are staggeringly deceptive and long. The Ghost Dance is the shorter of the two at 25:32. Of course, it will come as no surprise that this does mean it’s a track that works absolute wonders drifting through icy plains, baking hot deserts, cold and silent darkness and lifeless worlds. All without a single word sung or spoke.

The repetitive rhythm does begin to numb the mind but seemingly aware of its effect, Canyon of the Skull changes things up around the halfway point. It’s a welcome tonal shift too even if the heaviness is still heavily present. The groove picks back up for the second half ending a track of epic proportions.

The second track, The Sun Dance is even longer at 34:12 and begins with subtle guitar strumming that is almost melodic. After only a couple of minutes, it kicks in with a rougher and harder sound that is more akin to what The Ghost Dance provided.

There is repetition in the riffs but that’s not to the track’s detriment as the goal here is to tell a story of depth and that does come across. It’s a wandering piece of music, which is perfectly imagined by both this track and the album as whole.

If you’re looking for something with heart. Something with meaning, Sins of the Past will provide.

Canyon of the Skull – Sins of The Past Full Track Listing:

1. The Ghost Dance
2. The Sun Dance




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Canyon of the Skull - Sins of the Past (Self Released)
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