Hailing from Austin, Texas, Sans Soleil is a five-piece doom-metal influenced instrumental group, featuring viola as a lead instrument, and with dual guitars, bass, and drums. Released right before the new year, A Holy Land Beneath A Godless Sky ushers out 2014 with a look to the past while the group forges their own path forward.
The plodding, ominous atmospherics clearly invoke early Black Sabbath, especially in the guitar tone, riffing, and picking style. But the viola evokes modern heavy Scandinavian prog-rock bands. In the forefront, the viola holds longer notes while the guitars crunch and work around its leads. The drums and bass pound and churn, never quite taking more than a rhythmic role.
Thus, Sans Soleil isn’t quite classical metal, but still provides deceptively complex and engaging interplay. But one could listen to the this album at a higher level, and enjoy its dark, melancholic overtones.
At less than 35 minutes, A Holy Land Beneath A Godless Sky is a short burst of energy, like an earthquake in the middle of a primordial forest. Hopefully there is much more to come.