Sunyata – The Great Beyond (2020)

Are you on the lookout for your next funeral doom album that you can listen to again and again? Sunyata has you covered with his new EP The Great Beyond which draws on the aesthetics of space exploration. Within this aesthetic, the tracks consider our child-like wonder of space, societal alienation and the need to come to terms with our own mortality. Sunyata crafts the journey of the archetypal hero to the sound of funeral doom metal and modern classical tones.

The EP has been three years in the making since this solo experimental venture was started by composer and producer John D. Reedy. Each song on the EP is exactly 10 minutes long giving the impression that they are snippets of a larger picture.

The EP starts with the title track ‘The Great Beyond’ which draws you in with a progressive opening. The haunting tones have an expensiveness to them like they are floating out of the void. There is an almost creeping feeling to the building music with an otherworldly vibe. The hit of the guitars pulls you further into the soundscape as it reaches a crescendo. The movement of the music fills you with a sense of awe and wonder like you are seeing something amazing for the first time.

‘The Great Below’ continues the progressive building of the last track, but there is a completely different vibe. While the opening track is full of wonder, there is something more to this song. With each tense and pulsing note, you are filled with dread. The vocals have an electronic metal vibe full of rejection and alienation as you are thrown out into the vacuum of space. There is a lot more darkness in this track compared to the almost childlike awe of the last.

‘Meditation on Death’ brings a lot more of the funeral doom metal to the fore. The darkness of this song rises from the depths of the melody and crashes like a wave over you. Through the music you are forced to face the idea of your own mortality and how you fit into the larger world. This is a very intense song made even more so by what sounds like screams in the darkness of the void. The movement of the melody first hits you with the darkness of death and works through thoughts of life.

The EP ends with ‘Meditation on Life’ which has a much lighter feel than the previous song. While the darkness of the last track gives way to some gentler and lighter tones, it still lurks in the lower levels. There is an interesting interplay between the light and dark on this song. It is a wonderful sonic representation of the contrasts of life and how light and dark meld for the grey hues of humanity.

Sunyata gives you four snapshots of life in the dark and exploratory EP The Great Beyond. There is a lot packed into the four tracks as they throw you into contemplations of life, death and the awe of space.

Find out more about Sunyata on his website, Facebook and Spotify.

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