Home / Yay or Nay: Year of the Sun Records featuring Of The First Born Son, Dear Black Diary, Handheld, For The Mathematics & What’s He Building In There?

Yay or Nay: Year of the Sun Records featuring Of The First Born Son, Dear Black Diary, Handheld, For The Mathematics & What’s He Building In There?

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Established in 2002, Toronto, Ontario's Year of the Sun Records strived to make Canada another hotbed for all things punk, metal, and the experimental. In this 3rd installment of “Yay or Nay?”, here are some of the label’s latest (and mostly self-titled for some reason) releases. Do they make the cut? Let's find out.    

Of The First Born Sun — self titled  

With their self-titled debut EP, Of The First Born Sun are taking their interpretation of metal and hard core and making a small yet very loud statement. All the typical criteria is in place with the off time guitars, breakdowns a plenty, and guttural vocals in the veins of bands like Misery Signals and August Burns Red. The mix on the record sounds a bit off at times but that still doesn’t deter the music from being solid for a first release. This record is a definitely a step in the right direction and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them on a touring package with any of the aforementioned bands either.   

Result: YAY 

Dear Black Diary — self titled 

Dark, bleak and full of unbridled hate, this debut EP has the grit that will catch the attention of any technical metal aficionado. While the title may sound like some emo band, this record will make you cry out of fear and not because some girl broke your heart. Vocalist Jordan Shortt brings a cathartic exorcism of all things painful and faces them with no fear. Fans of Daughters, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Destroyer Destroyer will be pleased with this first effort.  

Result: YAY  

Handheld — self titled 

Ok, this quartet isn’t reinventing the wheel. I mean, honestly, who is? But if this was the early 1990s, I would be all over this record but unfortunately, its 2008 and this brand of punk rock isn’t that appealing anymore. That doesn’t mean its not well-executed as there are plenty of fast, precise drums and guitars in place along with the melodic vocals ala Face to Face and MXPX. Skate kids worldwide should embrace this band easily. I’m going with a NAY on this one but honestly, its strictly on preference. If you want to go back to being 16 and skating with your friends, this would make a great soundtrack. For fans of No Use For A Name, Face to Face, and MXPX.  

Result: NAY  

For The Mathematics We Impend  (Year of the Sun/Soft Revolution)  

This 6-song EP caught me by surprise. With a name like For The Mathematics, I figured this would be another band that all the indie folk would be all over. Well, music wise, they should be. Very ambitious and well thought out, this record would fit nicely with anything The Mars Volta has done, but that’s a lazy assessment. While The Mars Volta can go into the Afro-Cuban and Middle Eastern influences, FTM do plenty with their own concoction of proto-punk meets atmospheric hardcore. It brings to mind the largely influential Refused. If they continue on, I wouldn’t be surprised to see For The Mathematics leave a lasting mark of their own.  

Result: YAY  

What’s He Building In There? — self titled 

With one of the most memorable names for a band that I can recall, What’s He Building In There? have to bring something dissimilar to back up a name like that. At first listen, its sounds too chaotic to make sense but as you get to songs like “Citizen of the City” and “Monkey Knife Fight”, you can feel it come together. Very challenging to listen to, this won’t be for the casual fan. They check off styles such as death metal, rock, ambient and anything else that come to their sick minds and make it something innovative. Canada should be proud to call WHBIT? native sons. Fans of At All Cost, HORSE the Band, and Mr. Bungle should be happy to pick this up.  

Result: YAY

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