Sometimes it’s a good idea to cross the bridge to the introspective side of our worlds. As metalheads, we can be so swept up in the aggression, brutality and adrenaline of the music that we listen to that we negate the beauty of what can be sonically created. If you are like me and are trying to expand your horizons into new soundscapes, love the musical equivalent of that indie oddities shop in your neighborhood, and want to feel just a little spooky, you should do yourself a favor and check out SULDUSK’s new beautiful and innovative album Anthesis.”  


Australia is home to creepy-crawly creatures as far as the eye can see, so why should we be surprised that they have creepy-crawly metal on tap as well? SULDUSK is fronted by Emily Highfield, whose beautiful and fantasy-esque vocal range will leave you speechless and in awe. The innovative and often indigenous sounding musical act is comprised of the wickedly talented Shane Mulholland on vocals and guitar, Josh Taylor holding down stunning six-string duty, Daniel Green providing a tasteful bass voicing, Frankie Demuru being the heartbeat metronome on drums, and the always-welcome Hayley Anderson on violin. The wide array of immensely talented musicians bring a cocktail of different influences for our magnificent final submission of brooding and introverted metal that I didn’t know I needed in my life.


Starting off with such a beautifully haunting introduction in Astraeus, the gently takes our hand into a quest comparable to a whirlwind of emotions. The image that is painted throughout the duration of the album is one of rainy and bleak horizons with emotional highs and lows. The pumping of tracks such as Verdalet and Crystalline are so perfectly peppered into the dark folk aesthetic of major hitters such as my personal favorites Crowns Of Esper and Leven.

It’s at this point that I would be remiss if I didn’t point out how the stark contrast of musical selections makes the album shine so brightly. In a world of heavy metal, we typically see the inverse of this album, with highly aggressive and fast-paced epics being broken-up by short ballads as a palate cleanser. This album lulls the listener into a safe and inquisitive slumber that feels comforting and reliable, just to shock you out of your comfort zone with black metal inspired riffing and a wall of sound that highlights the emotion of Highfield’s voice and the atmospheric vibes of the folksy riffs.

The entire journey comes to an unfortunate end with the seven-minute whirlwind of elegance A Luminous End. Which ties all of the auditory treats we’ve been witness to and blends them into a goodbye that leaves the listener wanting more and more.


This album has been an absolute pleasure to review. Listening to it on repeat has made me feel things that I haven’t felt in quite a while, at least while listening to a metal or metal adjacent album. I highly implore anyone who is interested in the darker side of folk-tinged fantasy or anyone who has trouble describing the attractiveness of decay to pick up this album, and support SULDUSK so they can keep releasing works of art such as this. Anthesis is to be released on Napalm Records on March 1st. Do yourself a favor and give it a listen.

Matthew McCune