Review | Sunburst – Manifesto

Inner Wound Recordings

Following their 2016 album `Fragments of Creation’, Sunburst finally reports back for their next strike. With `Manifesto’ the band takes their heavy progressive metal to the next level. Heavier and more complex, Sunburst’s addition of orchestral arrangements and string sections, creates and intense and very cinematic and dramatic album that is a must go to for fans of bands like Dream Theater, Vanden Plas, Conception, Soēn, and Tesseract.  Hear! Hear!


From the opening notes of the band’s sophomore album ‘Manifesto’, it’s instantly clear Sunburst have elevated their game. The material is more progressive, heavier, more complex and melodic compared to their debut, imbuing the songs with a dramatic, cinematic quality bolstered by lush orchestral arrangements. While still retaining the impressive instrumental prowess, intense guitar riffing, soaring melodic vocals and emotional, memorable melodies that defined their sound, ‘Manifesto’ sees the Greek metallers expanding their horizons over eight meticulously crafted tracks.

The album opens with ,,The Flood”, in melodic meandering tone and shimmering keyboards. The song erupts with a potent, driving riff that anchors the groove with its substantial heft. The band deftly navigates intricate time signatures, their technical prowess on full display. Echoes of Vanden Plas’ progressive mastery reverberate, with an aura of Kamelot’s style and Vanden Plas’ sonic complexity. 

Vasilis Georgiou‘s soaring vocals soar skyward, his powerful delivery reminiscent to Roy Khan. Polyrhythmic drum patterns and tempo changes underneath its alternating guitars are powerful and heavy. The delivery of riffs and hooks tremendous, with keys added encompassing their dramatic shifts.


The band’s lead single, ,,Hollow Lies” unleashes a torrent of thunderous, galloping rhythms that scatting dark intensity. Spacious melodic passages enroll, hinting thick layers of swelling keyboards infusing the composition with a cinematic grandeur. These scenic elements recur throughout, intertwining with the band’s dynamic core sound, not overpowering it. Georgiou’s vocals soar and swell with fierce power, hitting all the right notes as he navigates the intricate progressive structures.

The groovy ,,Samaritan” takes center stage, its droning low pace oscillating between staccato accents that hit with a heavy impact and melodic refrains that linger hauntingly. This oscillation showcases Sunburst’s sonic skills, their command over dynamics and texture on full display. Gus Drax’s guitar work swirls, his impressive fretboard exercises dropping jaws as he effortlessly weaves intricate tapestries into their sound. Hooks drop with weight, only to be counterbalanced by heavy, crawling grooves that revert constantly, keeping the listener enthralled. It’s the unexpected expectancy of prog at its finest, remaining captivating.


,,Perpetual Descent” stands as a paragon of cohesion, a multitude of colors and musical flavor dropping in the mix. Wonderful guitar melodies ebb and flow to the forefront, while a collection of intrinsic vocal melodies takes on different shapes, and the dynamics shifting back and forth with precision. Jagged riffs and guitar hooks interlock, punctuated by Kostas Milanos‘ salvos of thunderous double bass drums, firing up the turmoil without losing the composition’s weeping excellence.

The infectious rhythms of ,,Inimicus Intus” will have listeners unconsciously moving, evoking serious head nodding and foot stomping in its irresistible groove. Nick Grey‘s bass work growls with authority, delivering melodic lines that seamlessly interweave with his chordal groove. The emotional chorus, complemented by awe-inspiring lead guitar work, creates an intensity that is both formidable and melodically captivating, channeling a sense of high drama.

Emotions rampant, the pounding rhythms and fills on ,,From the Cradle to the Grave”, the chorus unleashing raw emotion. Gus Drax buries the strings in a blistering solo that sears itself into the spotlights and memory. The title track, strikes the strongest balance between sheer heft and wide-open, soaring melodies. Its sing-along refrains are simply irresistible, nesting immediately in the mind and soul, with Georgio’s vocals at the helm, leading.


Stepping up to this overwhelming tenure, the band delivers the titular masterwork, bold and fierce, a whirlwind of fretboard wizardry and technical prowess. Riffs alternate and interlock, the bass rumbling in low tones, while a contrasting rain of keys kicks up the dust underneath which the band has constructed an insane groove, full of breaks and time changes. The stop-and-go dynamics are powerful, the song enforcing its testament to Sunburst’s present status as masters of their craft.

The album closes with ,,Nocturne”, with its heavy structure from which shining melodies emerge, wide and deep emotionally. Ponderous and powerful set-in motion the song is 7-minute displays of melodic progressive craftsmanship with intricate drum and bass dynamics and touching guitar work. Resonating the Khan-like soaring vocals, the melodies are shattering gorgeous. While the band’s talent is undeniable, it’s their restraint of metal unloading that makes it well with towering bliss

Rather than indulging in extended epics, they’ve carefully composed eight outstanding yet succinct pieces that never overstay their welcome. Flashes of unrestrained brilliance keep the listener engaged, but it’s the impeccable song writing that reigns supreme on this cinematic tour-de-force. With ‘Manifesto’, Sunburst has elevated their game and staked their claim as one of modern metal’s most thrilling new voices.

Release date: 14 June 2024



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