Suntrodden – Suntrodden III
There is definitely something to be said about the insidious trap of redoing a great thing over and over until it becomes so tedious that it simply quits working. This new release suffers to quite a large degree from that general effect. While it starts off strong, there is so little variety here that it starts to feel like one long overdone song. The vocal performances are almost identical in every single song. The tempo is almost unchanged from song to song, too. The general musical texture remains pretty much the same, as well. The overall result of those facts is a grouping of five songs that, while fine individually, just grind together into a sort of boring mess of sameness.
I think that perhaps part of the problem is the fact that, while this project has a band-type name, it’s basically one guy doing everything. His general ideas are quite good. What makes bands great is that no one person’s ideas get brought out from start to finish all the time. The very act of incorporating ideas from other members of the band allow things to vary.
Erik Stephansson is the musician operating under the name “Suntrodden.” There’s no question that he has real talent. The problem is that without at least one other person contributing to this project there is a lack of range and variety here. He sorely needs that second (or more) creative element to vary things a little.
The artist opens this set with a cut called “There’s a Place.” I like the alternative edge to this pretty song. It’s along the lines of 80s music in some ways. Next comes “Pure.” While the mellower opening section isn’t my favorite thing here, as it gets a bit louder there are hints of things like grunge to me. That’s a good thing.
As I said in my introduction, the vocals have been nearly unchanged throughout. The tempo hasn’t altered much either. That’s making it all sound too similar for me. The next cut, “Moonflower,” is good, but it doesn’t have the same kind of catchiness as the first couple songs did.
He manages to infuse a bit more energy on “Never Again.” That helps the cause, but the formula really is wearing thin. He makes his way to the same well again with the closing song “The End (Haunting).” Once more, it’s not that this is a bad song. It’s just that there isn’t enough in its chimey kind of droning sound to really make it stand out from the rest. By this point, it’s a little tedious.
In the modern age people generally just play one song at a time on demand. Perhaps in that kind of a world, the album is a dead concept. This set would work best in the format of one song at a time. Then again, Stephansson has said that there is a central theme to all the compositions on the disc. That very fact makes it built to serve as a whole. In that regard more variety would really be an asset.