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“Hell is People” by Sun & Flesh

In the new single “Hell is People,” the heavy-hitters in Sun & Flesh invite more of a punk influence into their sound than some of their past material had allowed for, and what it ultimately results in is a sound as vicious as uncompromisingly fierce as some of the classic Relapse Records bands who laid the groundwork for their hybrid genre. There isn’t any space for hesitation or synthesized harmonization in “Hell is People;” once this band gets going, they’re a freight train that is just about impossible to slow down. We hit the ground running with sharp riffing that shapes the beat for the percussion and keep rolling forward until the music has ceased to play. 


The drums are louder than they needed to be in the master mix, but for me, the indulgence is one of the most beautiful elements to behold in this song. So many rock and metal bands have been scared to take on excess in their songwriting in the past ten years, but this isn’t true of Sun & Flesh at all – forget about the power metal revivalists that started clawing their way onto the Headbanger’s Ball back in 2007, this is a group that is incorporating the spirit of that movement into the angst-ridden backdrop of something a little more punk rock in nature. 

There’s definitely some strong melodic presence coming from some of the vocal parts in “Hell is People” that helps to keep the more jagged components of the track from feeling wholly inaccessible to anyone other than the diehard metalhead. One thing I’ve come to count on from this band is their ability to insert relatively smooth vibes beneath the heaviest of surfaces, and here, they’re only proving to me once again that cosmetics are balanced out by genuine substance in everything they stick their name on. 

Despite the metallic stylization of the guitars from start to finish in this performance, the mix itself is defined enough for us to be able to discern where one set of bruising strings ends and another begins. Clarity is often too much to ask for in the heavy metal community, but Sun & Flesh aren’t shy about giving us as many of the intricacies within their sound as they can on an indie band’s budget. I really admire their attention to detail, and would love to see some of their peers adopt a similar attitude. 

I didn’t know about Sun & Flesh before 2020, but their quintet of singles to see release this year – “Dig in Deep,” “Never Enough,” “Bored,” “Pure” and this latest cut in “Hell is People” – has made me really intrigued by the possibilities the future still holds for their career together. This is a good time to be a fan of rock and metal, and if you aren’t sure what makes this era any different from those which preceded it, I would tell you to give some of the underground’s best gems a listen ASAP – starting, of course, with Sun & Flesh. 

Mindy McCall



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