There’s no shortage of metal in Chicago. Some leans toward the ghoulish. Some apes an artistic bent, and some is plain ridiculous. Whatever the proper balance between metaldom’s disparate aspects, Columbus, Ohio-born and Windy City-bred Sun Splitter has settled upon it. The trio, which has been issuing recordings for the past several years, doesn’t revel in slow tempos as much as seemingly unmoving ones. The first track on the troupe’s eponymous tape stands still, as a guitar chugs out quarter notes. When the entire band kicks in, it’s a blackened, one-note groove with no sensible resolution. Reading into the harsh vocals and unending dirges seems like a prerequisite for fandom. It’s easy to hear just about any pronouncement amid Anthony Dunn’s gruff howling. Song titles veer from referencing Eastern culture and plum blossoms to standard metallisms like carcasses and the dawn of human civilization. Mixed imagery does a great deal for creating a stolid face for the band’s audience. But Sun Splitter does more than regurgitate decades-old genre tropes. Toward the end of “Earth Burner,” at least the version included on “II,” Sun Splitter pulls back the distortion, kills the percussion and throws down some pretty melodic guitar chording. The switch-up is meant as a momentary break from battering. It is, and also displays a sort of musical sensitivity lacking in other gloomy acts. The band’s release schedule is about as quickly paced as its music, though a new disc is purportedly on the way. Discerning new from old at the Bottle might be difficult amid the high volumes the band’s known for dealing in. But that only speaks to the consistency of Sun Splitter’s vision. Locals Oyarsa open, with Columbus’ Bridesmaid following and The Swan King headlining. (Dave Cantor)
February 11 at the Empty Bottle, 1035 North Western, (773)276-3600. 9pm. $8 dos/Free with RSVP.