The Sun Through a Telescope: I Die Smiling

In recent years, drone doom, a genre spawned from the likes of Black Sabbath, Swans, and Melvins have swept into the scene with its colossal reverb and indiscernible screaming. Bands such as Khanate, Boris, and most iconically, Sunn O))), have spearheaded this movement becoming a prominent subgenre of metal. Unfortunately, the characteristics of drone doom demand the utmost creativity from musicians in order to create a record that is unique yet still follows the formula of slow pacing, harsh textures, lo-fi screaming, and the heaviness to leave you helpless in its advancement towards a painful catharsis.  The Sun Through A Telescope, a one-man band led by Lee Neutrino from the cold landscapes of Ottawa, Canada, has approached this arduous task of breaking the monotony of drone doom to create a uncommon album worthy of praise. This is no easy task but it seems The Sun Through A Telescope has managed to create a sound on I Die Smiling that is interesting enough to enjoy but has failed to spark the adoration required to commend it as a great album.

 

The album begins with industrial fuzz and background synths that lay the path for distorted and slightly distant vocals in "You Can’t Kill Me". Tracks like "Everyday Is Like Black Hole Svnday" and "Mr. Yawning Infinity Chasm/Superinfinity" surprise you with the sudden change into black metal with incredibly agonizing vocals but transitions back to the doom roots that lead the way with soaring clean vocals to the end of the track. Everything is great so far with very impressive vocals, haunting ambience, and un-formulaic doom drone songs but the title track is where the album begins to head south. The vocals are pretty much spoken-word but they mock the atmosphere:

 “I BUILT A RAFT FROM DISCARDED CDs, (BORIS, CAVE-IN AND AGORAPHOBIC NOSEBLEED), SAILED ON A SEA OF TEARS, CRIED FROM THE EYES, OF ONE MILLION DISAPPOINTED METALHEADS, TEN MINUTES, ONE HOUR, AN ENDLESS GULF, AN OCEAN WITHOUT WATER, NOTHING WILL EVER BE BRUTAL AGAIN”

On The Sun Through A Telescope’s Facebook, O.L.D. (Old Lady Drivers) is listed as an influence and as the name may imply, the lyrics are fucking bizarre which is probably the inspiration behind this song. Other than the lyrics, the rest of the song is similar to the others with dissonant screaming and ambience.  The longest track (and title) on the album, "Werewolf Weather Part I - Glowing Overcast​/​Unseasonably Gloomed Part II - Those Animals Killed You Part III - Sent Back Dead From Pepsi Part IV - They're Evil Animals" features a heavily modified vocal recording of what sounds like Lennie Small from the John Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men, which adds to the desecration of the tone done earlier by I Die Smiling. As the vocal track ends, the song descends into a heavy, destructive delirium with, once again, fantastic screams and growls but it is not enough to recover and rebuild what was lost.

 

The last two tracks, "It, Still", and "The Bitten" are really nothing more than instrumental doom ambience that are not necessarily bad but nothing stands out about them and seem like ideas that were just not built upon but were added to the album to justify calling it an album and not an EP. The preferred choice would have been to either add more to each track or to have at least spaced them between the first three songs on the album to build tension and further add to the atmosphere.  Overall, the album is good but not great. The Sun Through A Telescope have managed to avoid the cliches of drone doom but fails to stand out among the troves of bands who strive for similar goals. The best tracks are "Everyday Is Like Black Hole Svnday" and "Mr. Yawning Infinity Chasm/Superinfinity".

 

The Sun Through a Telescope Official Facebook

I Die Smiling on Bandcamp

Written by Cole Olson

The Sun Through a Telescope: I Die Smiling
Mutants of Monsters Records (CD) / Dwyer Records (Cassette)
3.5/5