Recorded, mixed and mastered at soundvision Studios. Produced and engineered by Paulo Lopes. Co-produced by Crushing Sun. Music and lyrics by Crushing Sun. Original artwork by Nuno Doc. Art direction by Crushing Sun. Originally released in 2010; released on Black Lava Records on Saturday 25 March 2023.
Guest vocals on “The end” by Cláudia Silva
Black Lava Records’ Bandcamp account boldly claims that Tao (2023), the debut album from Portuguese death metal four-piece group Crushing Sun, is “one of the best Portuguese metal albums ever released.” A fusion of death, doom, sludge, and progressive metal, produced by Paulo Lopes, let’s put their claims to the test.
I studied Taoism for a term while at university in the late 80s. The word ‘tao’ is typically translated as ‘way’ or ‘path’—whether it is the way of the universe or, the path to enlightenment, we were taught that tao cannot be fully understood in words or images, it must be experienced.
Perhaps that ought to be my review too—this album cannot be explained in a review, just listen to it, feel the energy, experience the power, be moved by the twisted riffs and pulse of the rhythm.
The remarkable thing is that this crushing and innovative death metal release isn’t an entirely new album. It was originally released 13 years ago in 2010. The fact that Tao sounds so fresh, powerful and relevant clearly proves that Crushing Sun were creatively ahead of their time.
My favourite track is the powerful opener, “Rain” (track 1) which has a late-Gojira vibe that pounds and grooves, at once sounding both urgent and laid back. “Grey scent” (track 10) is another highlight for me from its rumbling intro to its head-nodding main riff. This is one ahead-of-its-time album.
The band’s steady focus on a heavy, groovy and intense death metal attack shows some similarities with the early days of Gojira, yet throughout the eleven tracks that compose Tao, Crushing Sun also provide their personal flair and a few unexpected tricks by incorporating elements of other styles such as sludge or post-metal that truly make this album worth revisiting.
Gloriously rescued by the newly formed Black Lava Records, Tao (2023) is an amazing album that captures a band at the peak of their creative skills. If you like your metal heavy and twisted, definitely check out these guys. They more than deserve to go places. Crushing Sun your time has come!
As for the label’s claims that Tao (2023) is “one of the best Portuguese metal albums ever released.” I can’t disagree.
Review score: 85%
Viral Propaganda PR contacted me inviting me to review Crushing Sun’s album, thank you. I have no connections to either Viral Propaganda PR or Crushing Sun. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Viral Propaganda PR, and to Crushing Sun for continuing to create fresh, exciting metal.