Karoline Rose Sun, simply known as SUN, is an artist who continues to excite and utilize the beauty of heavy metal for a wondrous exhibition of liberation and unspoken reciprocity between listeners.
Following the 2020 release of Brutal Pop, SUN’s second installment Brutal Pop 2 released via Dark Spark Music, soars into the dark mystic forests and is a striking collection of growls, memorable hooks, and passionate story telling. SUN wrote, composed, arranged and produced the EP, and as she stated, “put on my producer cap, once and for all, and stopped hiding behind others.” Hailed for her effortless transformation from passionate vocal runs to thunderous howls, SUN once again shines in her details.
The 5-track EP is an intense cultivation of the technicality of metal, and melodic mainstream hooks that meet for a beautiful sound. Led by her own fusion of metal and pop, dubbed brutal pop, SUN’s bellows, blast beats, and burst of notes are poetic in their movements and disarm doubt.
Stemmed at times from anguish, as are most metal’s roots, this didn’t darken the artist’s mind, as stated on the track “Strength.” The precision of percussion and control on fills create an affirmation of power with each verse. There’s hurt lacquered in the smoky croon by SUN and we are let in on an unguarded recollection with lines such as “my father died, he left me behind,” to talk of those “irritated” with what she sings.
And as she questions where and how to obtain this power, the aftermath is the understanding that she clearly possesses it, heard on each track and distinctly “Wave.” The opener leads with a more traditional rhythmic pattern of metal, but arranges pockets of air to allow the moment to breathe and then fiercely drives through.
Moving between reality and fantasy comes “Princess Erakin,” which is a clear standout on the EP. The track’s arrangement takes the traditional pattern toward a cinematic production. SUN’s runs are playful and take the nonchalant vocal styling of grunge before dismantling the illusion. SUN’s control and strength is astonishing on this track and challenges each instrumental punch. The bridge is softer around the edges and at times, whimsical, completing the story and shift of worlds by SUN.
Fitting to this track’s bridge comes its successor, “The Bridge.” The track displays a tender and moment of longing on the EP without compromising the efficiency and forceful sound of SUN.
“This is my second EP, and I would like to dedicate BRUTAL POP 2 to my dear cousin Karine, who passed away in 2017. Karine was a very talented painter who combined collage, painting and tearing up layers of paper to create breathtaking artwork. SUN continues, “I only know how to express myself through my songs and since my first EP, so many untold emotions had built up in me.”
The track’s initial slower tempo and build is natural, putting on display the versatility of the artist and once again, another standout moment for brutal pop’s narrative.
A spirited and exciting moment closes the EP with the 2022 single “John & I (Money).” Tackling a relationship between a rich couple, their meltdown, and the hatred bestowed by their fictional daughter, “John & I (Money)” illustrate the fake smiles behind riches with slinky, flirty lines akin to the ethos of Lady Gaga, with fervent social commentary: “Give it to your wifey / Go, utilise the poor / Go, squeeze some more for money.” It destroys “picture perfect” values and is an explosive track backed by haunting synths.
Ultimately, the artist’s meticulous details are as feverish as her signature vocals to her stage name, which is a homage to her late father. SUN has fronted numerous metal bands, sung and acted in French musicals, and lastly created her own genre and space. On Brutal Pop 2, SUN works through recessive emotions from her perspective and bridges listeners towards understanding with one of the most primal, freeing human experience — a growl.
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