Although the title is long-winded, The Blackest Volume: Like All the Earth Was Buried — the debut full-length by Michigan five-piece Sunlight's Bane (formerly Traitor) — is aptly named, as it offers 11 tracks of impossibly miserable blackened grind. The Blackest Volume finds the band taking the overt darkness of extreme metal a step even further, emphasizing the frightening and deeply sinister aspects of black metal — without the hokey connotations — while incorporating elements of death metal, hardcore and crust punk into their destructive grindcore delivery.
Employing various rhythms throughout The Blackest Volume, Sunlight's Bane keep listeners on their toes with a set of well-structured, diverse tracks. "Praise the Venom Shield" starts off the nearly hour-long album with a blast of visceral intensity, featuring fast and hostile riffage, crushing grooves and violent, blood-curdling shrieks. "Begrudging Soul" slows down the tempo, but maintains the same aggression and rattling dissonance before picking the grinding speed back up on "From Heaven Wept."
Thoughtful, unconventional touches add to the record's unpredictability, such as the staticky noise on "Dance of Thorns," the spoken-word on "No Taste More Bitter" and the airy guitar melodies that contrast the sombre vibe on "Came No Dawn." Featuring an array of dismal, unnerving and oppressive tones, The Blackest Volume is as grim as it gets. (Innerstrength)