1. Hay Is For Horses
2. I Saw The Saturday Night Sky Over 195 Explode
3. I've Run Over Black Cats That Were Luckier Than Me
4. While Others Attend Chatrooms With Erections
5. Feed The Scenesters To The Lions
6. Untitled One
7. Untitled Two
8. Sweet Merciful Crap
9. Borderline Sarcasm
(Hidden Track One)
(Hidden Track Two)
(Hidden Track Three)
2001 Undecided Records
The first and only time I ever witnessed As The Sun Sets was during the Loud Az Fuck Fest at CBGBs in New York City, and I was hooked the moment they began. Playing chaotic technical metalcore, with an affinity for grind and some heavy crunch, the guitarists were literally flailing all over the stage to a point where their straps broke. That may not sound like a big deal, but it makes for an entertaining live set. "Each Individual Voice..." was great album, and when I had heard that the ATSS split for Trash Art fell through, I was quite disappointed. Luckily, the knowledge that "7744" was arriving soon was a relief, but it, unfortunately, falls short of expectations.
The opening track, "Hay Is For Horses," starts off with some looping noise, and then breaks into the frenzied grind attack that As The Sun Sets is known for. It should be noted that ATSS has evolved since their last effort, as the music has an even heavier tilt toward technical grind. The song is everywhere, from discordant intricate guitar work all over the fret board to breakdown riffs, all flying at a breakneck pace. Song two, "I Saw The Saturday Night Sky Over 195 Explode," includes a nice breakdown segment. Meanwhile, "I've Run Over Black Cats That Were Luckier Than Me" begins with ambient noise that sounds like the tolling of bells, and eventually leads into screams and scattered riffs. But as soon as the song begins, it quickly ends and fades into distorted melodic noise of "While Others Attend Chatrooms With Erections," an instrumental track. Track five continues with the rapid-fire assault with another nice breakdown in the middle of the song. The rest of the album is similar in the sense that the songs exhibit the unfettered metalcore/grind hybrid music that ATSS churns out. It's evident that the unit has grown technically since their last album. Listeners should note that there are three "hidden" tracks following the official nine. The first is stylistically similar to the album's other songs, while the second and third are instrumentals.
Although this album has grown on me a bit following my initial disappoint, there are a number of things that need to be addressed. First, the mix of the record is fine, but the production values seem a bit thin, especially the guitar tones. Granted, this may be more appropriate for the style of music As The Sun Sets plays, but I think they can afford to beef up the overall sound. The second complaint has to do with the song structures, which are totally absent. Songs from "Each Individual Voice..." had some semblance of structure, but "7744", with a few exceptions, is absolutely everywhere. The music doesn't flow, and it sounds as if everything was pieced together haphazardly. I thoroughly enjoy hardcore/metal/grind hybrids, but you can't just throw structure out the window. Songs would then be reduced to random improvisational jam sessions. But I will recognize that ATSS has composed some pretty interesting music, and their ability to play quickly while staying tight is commendable. The third complaint has to do with the album's length. The record runs slightly over 14 minutes, but there are only nine official tracks that clock in at around nine minutes. You do the math. That comes out to be an average of one minute per song, and that doesn't even account for the samples and noise that seem to be present in many of the tracks. If you're going to be a grindcore band or write very brief songs, please, be like Pig Destroyer and publish an album that has at least 20 (unless you're as incredible as the defunct Discordance Axis and only release one studio record a year).
Lyrically, As The Sun Sets airs some grievances with individuals and scenesters. The layout is composed of drawings of caricatures with amputated hands, circular patterns, handprints, and dark maroon smears overlaid band photos, as well as dark brown or black backgrounds.
Bottom Line: A decent effort by As The Sun Sets, but I sincerely believe this album could have been a whole lot better. There's no question that ATSS can play and compose interesting, complex music, but the (lack of song) arrangements and brevity of "7744" are noticeable shortcomings of the record. Die-hard fans of ATSS, as well as fans of absolutely chaotic grind, will most likely pick this one up to complete their collection, given the fact that the band has since called it quits. Others may want to look for "Each Individual Voice..." first, and then decide whether to give "7744" a chance. Hopefully "8949," the band's upcoming final release, will be more compelling.