Review 1955 : No Sun Rises – Harmisod – English

No Sun Rises unfurls its darkness.

After a first demo in 2016, followed by two albums in 2019 and 2020, the German band is forced to slow down. In 2022, Timo (guitar) and Karl (bass) hire Felix (drums, Zerfall), Henrik (guitar) and Florre (vocals, ex-Deathperation) to create and finally release Harmisod, their third album.

The album kicks off with NebellebeN, a composition beginning with a few frightening sounds before finding itself divided between darkness, visceral howls and a heavy atmosphere. The raw Black Metal roots are perfectly identifiable in the rhythmics, as are the parts influenced by the Post-Black Metal scene, giving the riffs a heady Old School coldness, which literally shatters when the clean sound fills the air before being joined by a sampled vocal. Virulent saturation soon resurfaces, leading into Unter Tage (Regress), where the band invite Nicole (Luminescent) to bring a long melancholic first part to life in which the young woman plays with soft sounds, including Merle‘s violin. Devastating Black Metal appears for the second half of the track, pouring out its chaos at breakneck speed, letting piercing leads answer the avalanche of double kick before Tanz im fahlen Lichte takes its place, offering a relatively calmer sound, via hypnotic patterns that gradually accelerate. The riffs remain measured and haunting, though offering a few bursts of aggression, notably during the screams supported by cold leads, before the track gives way to In trockener Erde (Bury Me), the next composition, presented by the Tüül duo, who breathe a Doom/Neo Folk atmosphere into it before saturation takes over again. The band continues to grow darker and more majestic on this second part, coupling dissonant harmonics with tortured screams before slowing down for a surprisingly gentle final, which ends by the fireside.

Anchored in deep darkness, No Sun Rises also knows how to offer more ethereal passages on Harmisod, as evidenced by the sometimes surprising, but always very natural and successful collaborations.


Version Française ?

Few questions to Karl and Felix, respectively bass player and drummer of the German Atmospheric/Post-Black Metal band No Sun Rises.

Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band No Sun Rises without using the usual musical labels, such as “Black Metal” ?
No Sun Rises: Hi, this is Karl and Felix of No Sun Rises. First of all, thanks for having us and giving us this opportunity! We are a gathering of five people with different backgrounds, spread over different cities of Germany but all with the same goal. To put our emotions into a musical outlet, do what we love and spread our antifascist message. Our music varies from harsh and driving to melodic and atmospheric to playful quieter parts.

How do you personally link the name No Sun Rises to the band’s music identity?
No Sun Rises: The name represents a kind of despair to us. The one we sometimes feel when we look at what is going on in this world. It is also about the question of when the point is reached for an individual « at which the sun no longer rises ».

The band’s new full-length, Harmisod, is now out. How do you feel about releasing a new record with this new lineup ? Do you already have some feedback?
No Sun Rises: It feels great to have this record out! It kinda feels like a rebirth after some years of stagnation. After some former members quit the band and Covid hit the world, we weren’t really sure if this band was going to stay. Luckily we found some new members in 2022, relocated our rehearsal space and began writing what was going to be our new record. Our new members definitely brought in a lot of motivation and new ideas, which was the absolute right thing that we needed at that time. The new musical path perfectly fits the sound we were aiming for and we couldn’t be happier about all the positive feedback. Especially after we played these songs live. Many people came out to see us play live this past year, which was really nice to see.

How would you sum Harmisod’s identity up in only three words?
No Sun Rises: Gloomy, melodic, emotional.

Harmisod is the first album with the new lineup, how did the creation process happen? Is it easy to create music with three new musicians in the band?
No Sun Rises: Usually Henrik & Timo (guitars) meet to exchange ideas and throw riffs around that they share with the others. Felix (drums) then takes these up and experiments with different ideas and approaches at home. Then the three of them meet in the rehearsal room and deepen the whole thing until one or more basic structures of the song are reached. Afterwards everything is recorded and shared and then we sleep on it for a few days. At this point, Karl (bass) joins the process, sharing his thoughts with us and giving us his previously unbiased perspective, which is super helpful. He is not stuck in anything and has the ability to recognize well when something needs to be changed. At the monthly rehearsal weekends, he then adds his bass lines and Florre (vocals) presents different vocal scenarios. Afterwards, we experiment around until we manage to record a demo track, so everyone can listen and work on their parts at home until we meet for rehearsals again. We continue this process until we think the material is worthy to be on the album. Harmisod was written in about a year. The writing process felt well-established, productive and just natural right from the start. Like mentioned before, the new members brought a lot of creativity and fresh ideas into the band, which was needed. For us it is important to have everyone involved when writing new songs and to really act as a unit.

What about the artwork, what were the guidelines and how do they fit with the music you created?
No Sun Rises: The artwork for the new LP was once again done by Timo. We are all interested in historical themes and how they can be projected onto current global problems. Especially the time of the witch hunt is one that concerns us all in some way. The xenophobic behavior of our black and white thinking society shows many parallels to that time. That’s why we chose the title Harmisod, which is a very old word for something like « outcast » or « excluded ». The artwork addresses these topics and depicts a woman who is accused of witchcraft by her village community, expelled and finally killed.

How do you find a balance between the visceral moments and the more appeasing elements?
No Sun Rises: It comes very naturally. Music is all about emotions so we let them speak. When playing new songs in the rehearsal space, for example we sometimes think something like “Oh, it would be cool to play something more quiet here and then burst out again into another crushing riff”. We all like to have contrasts in our music and we always strive to create the right atmosphere and tension while listening.

I also noticed a sampled voice on the song NebellebeN, where does it come from? What does it add to the song? For the non-German speakers, which I am part of, would you please resume or explain it?
No Sun Rises: It’s a poem called Im Nebel by Hermann Hesse, a known German and Swiss author/writer. The voice you can hear in the sample is actually him. The poem is about an all-consuming fog and the feeling of being caught in it. A feeling of loneliness and isolation, excluded from the rest of the world. We thought it fits the song’s lyrics pretty good, so we added it to the more quiet part in the middle of the song. Also it perfectly fits the overall theme of the album’s title.

There are two intriguing parts on the album: the first one is at the beginning of Unter Tage (Regress) when you welcome Nicole and Merle, and the second is the introduction of In trockener Erde (Bury Me), made by Tüül. Why did you decide to include such diversified influences on those two tracks?
No Sun Rises: We all like Dark Folk and Dark Acoustic music. It has always been an influence for us, especially for Timo. He is the only founding member left and as much as he is part of the original DNA of No Sun Rises, the folk parts are. There have always been instruments like acoustic guitar, banjo, string instruments, etc. on our recordings. Sometimes more, sometimes less. We just think it adds a lot of atmosphere to our music. Giving them some room to breathe and helping them develop their full strength. Unter Tage (Regress) actually started as an acoustic song and evolved into this Dark Folk/Black Metal hybrid over time. Also, we love to invite guests to our recordings and both Nicole and Merle did a fantastic job. They added so much depth to the first part of the song. Nicole did a lot of vocals on our previous EP and were glad to have her on this recording too. With In trockener Erde (Bury Me) we tried something new for us. We asked Tüül, if they would write and record a track for us. Then we wrote a song with the same or similar chord progressions and added our flavours to it. Please go and check Nicole”s solo project Luminescent and Tüül as well!

Maybe you have a favorite song on this album? Or maybe the hardest one to achieve for the album?
No Sun Rises: Probably each of us has different favorite songs or parts, and that might also change from time to time. We are all super happy and proud of the whole album and enjoy playing every song. Also, with each song there are parts that were differently difficult for everyone individually. But to give a proper answer.. Tanz im fahlen Lichte was probably the most complicated one to write and record. There’s a lot going on in this song and we had to change some minor things in the studio.

Where do you find your inspiration to create music?
No Sun Rises: That is very individual.. Of course, for all of us it is different music. Also from other genres. But inspiration can also come in many forms. For us it can come through literature, art, nature, science, history, sociological and political themes or other social interaction like talking to friends and other bands. The list is long.

Do you think you improved yourself as a musician and songwriter with this new record?
No Sun Rises: You always learn and develop further. With every new album, every studio session or even every live performance you gain new experiences that you grow with. So yes, we think so. With this release we kind of learned to filter better what’s important to our songs and what serves the song best.

You had the opportunity to play live with the new lineup at Culthe Fest 2023, how was this experience?
No Sun Rises: Culthe Fest was a great experience! It was our first real show with the new lineup and directly an unforgettable highlight in the biography of No Sun Rises. We were quite nervous, because we didn’t know how the audience would react to our new sound. We had just finished the songwriting for Harmisod shortly before the festival and decided to play the album live in its entirety. So that was quite a jump into the deep end, but the result was really overwhelming and has strengthened us incredibly in what we are doing. The festival hall was packed from the start and the feedback of the people was positive throughout. On that day, a huge stone fell from our hearts and we could confidently hit the studio! What else to say.. the lineup was great and we had the opportunity to meet and interact with so many great artists. We are also very grateful that we had the chance to share the stage with the mighty Dawn Ray’d one more time before they split up a little later. Also shoutout to Culthe Fest and its crew! It is just a unique festival that really manages to stand out from the mass by its authentic nature, diversity and atmosphere!

The band also planned a tour in October, how were those shows?
No Sun Rises: The tour went great! We played together with awesome bands, which we already were friends with or have become friends on this tour. We played at some awesome venues and saw some really cool places. Every show on the tour was well attended and we met so many great people! Although it can be tough sometimes, the opportunity to tour and perform live is always a beautiful thing!

Are there any musicians or artists you would like to collaborate with? Whether it is for one song, or maybe more.
No Sun Rises: There are so many.. But it’s almost impossible to answer now, because it depends on the songs we will write in the future. The guest should not only be someone we would like to work with, but someone who actually fits the song and the result we want to achieve.

If you had to organize a concert for Harmisod’s release show, which bands would you love to play with? I let you create a poster with No Sun Rises and three other bands!
No Sun Rises: On the one hand we would love to just have a great party and invite bands we’re friends with like Rana, Frost, Pisse & Elend, Außerwelt or Udande. Of course, on the other hand we would love to share the stage with a lot of other great and more known bands. The variety in our individual musical tastes makes it sheer impossible to get a final answer. But apart from that, if we limit the question to bands that are compatible with our style, of course it would be awesome to share the stage with greats like Panopticon, Alda, Wayfarer or Der Weg Einer Freiheit. Just to name a few examples. Split LPs are always a possibility, too, of course. But again, it’s the same answer. Maybe you have to ask us again at a later time 🙂 

Last and funny question : which dish would you compare No Sun Rises’s music with?
No Sun Rises: That is a tough one, hahaha. We are all vegans or vegetarians… So, maybe a mixed grill plate with some traditional and a lot of unorthodox stuff like fancy untrve meat substitute 😉 

That was the last question for me, so thank you very much for your time and your music, last words are yours!
No Sun Rises: Thanks a lot for your time and effort! And thanks to everyone reading this! It was our pleasure!

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