Succinctly described by Terrorizer’s Jose Carlos Santos as ‘Violent, ugly and supremely fascinating’, and by Rock-A-Rolla magazine as ‘…one of the most unrelentingly heavy bands currently operating in the UK today’, Black Sun’s nullifying sound was a primal and cathartic exercise in subterranean metal that had no equal when it came to uncomfortable listening.
Drummer and vocalist Russell McEwan formed Black Sun (Machine) in Glasgow in 1998 as an experimental project exploring elements of the industrial music background from whence he came. There had been a few members over the years but the line-up began to solidify when Kevin Hare (guitar & vocals) joined for the ‘Fleshmarket’ album and shortly after, Graeme Leggate (bass guitar) completed what became the core of Black Sun. In their life span they recorded six albums and one EP.
‘Fleshmarket’ (Over Records)
‘Circus of the Fallen’ (Over Records)
‘Rip Yourself Open Sew Yourself Shut’ EP (Self Released)
‘Sacred Eternal Eclipse’ (Distortion Project)
‘Hour of the Wolf’ (Maximum Volume)
‘Paralyser’ (At War With False Noise)
‘Twilight of the Gods’ (Head of Crom/Future Noise)
Black Sun have bludgeoned audiences in many shows across Europe, including the legendary Roadburn festival in the Netherlands, and the Supersonic festival in Birmingham (playing as their terrifying marching band alter-ego Black Sun Drum Corps). They also recorded with Oxbow’s genius frontman Eugene Robinson, who added vocals to two tracks on the mighty’ Twilight of the Gods’. The trio engaged in sporadic but memorable gigging in support of the aforementioned album, which was originally released in September 2010 and put out on wider distribution by Southern early in 2011. How this stunning album went under the radar I will never know. How this stunning band escaped going down in the collective consciousness of those who love heavy industrial metal and doom-infused experimentation I will never know. Or maybe I will. Certainly Black Sun’s reluctance to gig played a major part. Certainly Russell’s enthusiasm for other performance art projects also played a part. Maybe to be geographically thrust out on a limb in Glasgow didn’t help the trio to locate themselves at the heart of ‘the action’ either. Whatever the reasons, I still listen to their exhilarating music on a regular basis. For me their screams of anguish are real, not an act like so many bands put on. Their blackened chords are as heavy as anything I’ve ever heard, their vision as bleak as the most run-down housing scheme in Strathclyde. Black Sun are a cult band already. They were the real deal when it came to coming face to face with your own demons.
Towards the end of 2012 Russell engaged in the production and performance of an innovative version of ‘MacBeth’, along with his industrial percussion side project Black Sun Drum Korps, whilst Black Sun themselves languished in a post-Twilght hiatus, occasionally playing live. In early spring 2013 Russell announced on a social media site that Black Sun had gone their separate ways. Sadly this news was not regarded as ‘news’ anywhere in the underground and alternative UK music press. How sad. Their back catalogue represents some of the very best industrial extreme rock ever to emerge from the UK. Fact.