Sunburst – Manifesto Review

Sunburst Returns with Manifesto: A Triumph in Progressive Metal...

Released By: Inner Wound Recordings

Release Date: June 14th, 2024

Genre: Progressive Metal

Links: https://www.facebook.com/sunburstofficial

 

Line Up:

Vasilis Georgiou – Vocals
Gux Drax – Guitars
Nick Grey – Bass
Kostas Milonas – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. The Flood
2. Hollow Lies
3. Samaritan
4. Perpetual Descent
5. Inimicus Intus
6. From the Cradle to the Grave
7. Manifesto
8. Nocturne

 

Sometimes a band will come out of nowhere, with little hype, and deliver a highly memorable, instantly impressive debut album, only to seemingly disappear for a while before coming back with a sophomore record. The latest band to fit that description is the Greek melodic progressive metal band Sunburst, who released their excellent full-length debut, Fragments of Creation, back in 2016. The album immediately left me impressed by the band’s fluid blend of technical yet melodic and instantly engaging progressive metal, as well as hints of power metal and symphonic metal. The band went quiet for a while after a lengthy tour, as the different members focused on their other bands for a bit. However, after a long break, they’re finally back with their recently released sophomore album, Manifesto, and it’s another killer album that shows the band proving themselves as strong contenders in the field of melodic prog.

Despite the long gap between albums, the band has very much picked up where they left off, while polishing their sound further and fully exploring their musical identity. While their debut leaned more towards melodic prog and power metal, this album mixes those styles with more of a classic prog sound at times, often channeling influences like Dream Theater and Symphony X with highly technical instrumental work. The guitar work is fantastic, ranging from heavy to technical in typical prog fashion, as well as being light and melodic at other times. I notice a variety of influences in their style, with bands like Seventh Wonder, DGM, and Evergrey, particularly evident in some of the chunkier riffs. The symphonic elements, especially the vocals, remind me of Kamelot, which I’ll elaborate on later in the review. Undoubtedly, others will notice similarities I may have missed. Suffice to say, there’s a lot going on here; most tracks feature multiple tempo changes and switch frequently from heavy to melodic. Despite the diversity, the band blends everything smoothly, standing out with a focus on strong, melodic songwriting, big choruses, and a compelling atmosphere largely due to keyboards and vocals.

The core lineup from the debut album returns, with everyone in top form once again, particularly guitarist Gus Drax, who stands out with fantastic riffs, highly technical solos, and impressive melodic lead guitar work. Both guitars and keys play vital roles in all tracks, handled perfectly. Drummer Kostas Milonas and bassist Nick Grey excel in the rhythm section, with Milonas fluidly navigating tempo changes. Special guest Bob Katsionis handles keyboards exceptionally, his ambient and technically impressive style reminiscent of classic Dream Theater on some tracks, which are among my favorites. Symphonic elements are sparingly used, orchestrated by John K. on three tracks, imparting a cinematic, epic feel thanks to the orchestral arrangements. Vocalist Vasilis Georgiou, a standout performer on Fragments of Creation, shines once more on Manifesto. His voice, akin to the great Roy Khan, delivers a smooth, melodic, emotionally charged performance throughout the album, particularly excelling in softer sections and choruses where his voice shines brightly. Production is also excellent, with guitars, vocals, and keys prominently showcased and sounding superb.

One aspect of the album that took time to grow on me is the songwriting. Initially, I was highly impressed by the first three tracks but unsure about the rest, particularly the last three, which lean softer. Over time, however, all tracks grew on me, especially the closing track, now a personal favorite. Unlike the debut’s massive epic, this album bookends with two 7-minute mini-epics, complex and full of phenomenal instrumental work. The other tracks fall within the 5-6 minute range, each packed with diverse ideas. Some tracks required multiple listens to fully appreciate their mix of classic prog, power metal, and modern melodic prog. Once everything sank in, their impressive nature became evident.

The opening track, “The Flood”, remains an instant classic for me, maintaining its position as my favorite after several listens. Starting softly with ambient keys, it gradually intensifies with drums, guitars, and bass. Chunky guitars lead into epic orchestral arrangements, setting a moderate pace for the opening verse. A slow, classic keyboard-driven section precedes a light, melodic chorus rich in atmosphere, showcasing Georgiou’s vocals. The guitar work intensifies in the second verse, adding extra parts before the instrumental section, a highlight with its impressive passages showcasing Drax and John K. Overall, an amazing opener blending prog, power metal, and symphonic metal.

Following is “Hollow Lies”, featuring stronger symphonic elements and chunky lead guitar work akin to Symphony X and Evergrey. The track initially moves swiftly before slowing into a moody opening verse driven by dark keys, reminiscent of Kamelot. The epic chorus, rich with symphonic elements, remains memorable despite its slower, softer pace. Heavier guitars return in the second verse, accelerating into a fantastic solo section. Another standout track, maintaining its status as a favorite since the first listen.

“Samaritan” slows the pace, with a main riff reminiscent of DGM: slightly heavy, technical, and infused with melody, complemented by bright, catchy keys. The slow, moody verse driven by keys transitions into a chorus with an upbeat feel and catchy guitar work. The classic prog-inspired solo section shines as an instant highlight.

“Perpetual Descent” further slows the tempo, opening with soft guitar work before introducing a heavy main riff and melodic guitar work characteristic of classic prog. Alternating between slow, melodic verses and heavier, mid-paced segments, the track features a subdued, guitar-driven chorus that grows on me over time.

“Inimicus Inctus” blends elements of DT and Seventh Wonder, featuring heavy, technical guitar work, melodic leads, and light, atmospheric keys. The slow, atmospheric verses lead into a beautiful chorus highlighting Georgiou’s vocals. The standout instrumental section, reminiscent of classic DT, seamlessly blends modern melodic elements, showcasing the band’s versatility.

The slow-building “From the Cradle to the Grave” begins with subtly heavy guitar work and catchy keys before easing into a melodic, keyboard-driven opening verse akin to a power ballad. Melodic and moody, the track emphasizes keyboards and vocals, with occasional bursts of djent/alt metal guitar work. The instrumental section speeds up, instantly becoming a favorite part of the track.

The title track, “Manifesto”, opens with a heavy, fast-paced riff reminiscent of Evergrey. The slow, moody verse driven by keyboards leads into a standout chorus alternating between slow, melodic sections and heavier, moderately paced segments with flashy guitar work. The beautiful, slow-paced guitar solo in the second half enhances the track’s power metal feel.

Closing the album is “Nocturne”, atmospheric and cinematic with orchestral arrangements by John K. The slow, subdued track features symphonic elements, light keys, guitars, and stellar vocals from Georgiou. The track evokes Kamelot’s influence during the verse and chorus, with explosive, heavier segments leading into a melodic, beautiful guitar solo. A moody, excellent track ending the album on a high note.

Sunburst made a strong first impression with Fragments of Creation, further establishing their melodic prog foundation on Manifesto with technical instrumental work, fantastic vocals, epic symphonic arrangements, and influences from prog metal greats. Despite these influences, the band showcases their talents, solidifying their place among the genre’s best. Fans of the debut will eagerly embrace this album, worth the long wait, while newcomers seeking the next big prog band may discover them here. I eagerly anticipate more from the band, hoping for a shorter wait until their next release.

 

Ratings: 9/10

Written by: Travis Green

My Global Mind – Staff Writer

Travis Green is a Canadian based writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest metal in all its forms.

 

 

About Author

 
Categories
Album ReviewsNews
HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT
HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT

HEILUNG’S LIVE SPECTACLE AT THE RIVERSIDE THEATER IN MILWAUKEE, WI ON SAT, APRIL 20TH, 2024: AN IMMERSIVE JOURNEY OF SOUND, STORY, AND SPIRIT

Photo Credit: Chris Rugowski

Evergrey - Falling From The Sun

Chris Slade on the Release of New Album, Timescape by Chris Slade Timeline – It’s a Tremendous Ego Boost to Have This Completed!

Pete Jupp Discusses His 45-year Drumming Career With Wildlife, Samson, And The Uk Finest Aor Export, Fm

A landslide performance with style(s) from Stevie Nicks at BST 2024

New Band from Former Anathema Members Daniel Cavanagh and Daniel Cardoso

RELATED BY

G-TQ58R0YWZE