Austaras are a Chicago band that remind me a little of Intronaut or even Baroness. Their sound has elements of post metal, prog rock and even some black metal blast beats thrown in. Musically, they are a very solid, tight band. I do like their use of keyboards to fill in their sound. The solo section of the opening track “Deserter” is the perfect example, or the intro to “Thrones.”
There are 2 shorter interlude tracks that are nice. The all instrumental “Refractions” and it’s “companion” track, the wordless “Reflections.” There’s even a big 10 minute epic track “Fractures,” but it’s long because it’s slow. Slow is fine but well, the vocals make it sound even more slow and even tired.
And that’s the main issue for me: the vocals. Very bland and dull. I don’t mind singers that aren’t perfectly in tune, as evident by the aforementioned Intronaut and Baroness. The problem with Austaras is that there’s no passion at all. The music is often powerful and big but the vocals are so tentative. Imagine Caravan’s Richard Sinclair singing over a metal band. Ok, that might be extreme but the vocals often sound too polite and quite sleepy.
Production wise, the sound is good but the drums could sound a tad bigger. It’s not bad though, especially during the black metal blast beats, like on “Thrones.” The drums never overpower things which is good. “Prisoner of Sunlight” is a decent album. The songs are good, the arrangements are good too. It’s good. I just wish it was great. But the vocals do cause the album to ultimately fall flat.