Sun Across the Fields, the latest from long underrated progressive extreme metal outfit Black Harvest, finds central member Kishor Haulenbeek handling all duties, and while it may initially present as an EP, the fact that its three tracks top 31 minutes really creates a more substantial affair. Stylistically, this effort seems to illustrate the project's melodic death metal foundation heading toward more of an occasionally blackened inclination, while retaining quite a bit of atmospheric and textural variety. The material traverses a constant wealth of interesting interplay between layers of guitars and bass, ever-shifting time signatures and picking patterns, droning lead melodies, and scathing vocal work.
The highlight for me is slightly shorter closer, "Abandon," which perfectly exemplifies the breadth of diversity offered throughout. The eight-minute composition expertly fuses ferocious speeds and powerful snarls with cyclical rhythmic surges and abrasive outbursts of dissonance—not without a sleek acoustic lead passage that rebuilds into some absolutely epic guitar harmonies. At one point, energetic palm-muting that almost has a classic/traditional metal vibe creeps into place, though delivered with a creativity that retains Black Harvest's more intriguing approach. Furthermore, the clarity of the recording really allows the pulse of the bass to hold near-equal footing with the guitars—always appreciated!