|1||A Prayer for Your Path|
|2||May You Be Held|
|3||The Iron Chair|
|5||Laughter and Silence|
Picking up where the band left off with 2018’s Love in Shadow, SUMAC push further into the extreme polarity of their sound with their latest collection of long-form composition and free-form exploration. Meticulously detailed and complex one moment, rudimentary and repetitive the next, and completely untethered and unscripted at seemingly random intervals—it’s an album that fluctuates between extreme discipline and control on one end and an almost feral energy on the other.
Lyrically, May You Be Held follows the humanistic themes explored on Love in Shadow, partially informed by Turner’s navigation of fatherhood and family life. This compassionate tone stands in stark contrast to the misanthropic and death-obsessed nature of most heavy metal music, and perhaps even seems diametric to the caustic and aggravated tone of May You Be Held.
It may make more sense to approach the album as if it were a free jazz record or an abstract noise piece, where the emotional resonance isn’t bound up in melody as much as it is in performance. Here, Turner’s bellows and howls seem less threatening than wounded, primal, and mammalian. On guitar, his subversion of melody and penchant for noise seems less like aural punishment and more like an open horizon for frequencies and timbre. In a traditional metal context, drummer Nick Yacyshyn’s dexterous beats, exhilarating fills, and creative flourishes might seem like the pinnacle of rhythmic ferocity, but on May You Be Held there’s a kind of ecstasy in his performance, a fluidity and ability that conveys both urgency in purpose and joy in execution. Bassist Brian Cook glues it together with a heavy handedness that could be seen as hostile or malicious if it didn’t also provide the clearest path to navigating the band’s thorny arrangements.