The Sun Explodes blast back into action with long-awaited new album
YOU could be forgiven for thinking Carlisle's tech metal titans The Sun Explodes had called it quits, with no sightings of the band for more than 18 months.
However, over the last bank holiday they came blasting back with a stunning single, The Question, and swiftly announced the imminent arrival of a brand-new album.
While they haven't had a live gig since November 2015, the boys have been quietly beavering away in the studio, preparing for their big comeback.
Guitarist Alex Harris says that they've enjoyed their warm welcome back.
"After all the time out we've had, we expected a lot more apathy - the reaction has been pleasantly surprising.
"We've spent a lot of time on the album, and we're 95 per cent happy with how it turned out, so hopefully someone else will enjoy listening to it.
"As always with us, none of the songs really sound 'the same' - upon listening to some of the tracks, the reaction will probably be "why is this here?".
"We don't really have hopes or expectations on the release of music, not since we were dreamy-eyed teenagers anyway!
"We make strange, very uncool music. There's only a very small group of people who have ever, and will ever, be interested in listening to it, which is fine.
"The realisation that we're not going to be playing stadium tours came some time ago. I mean, Bon Jovi keeps asking but we're like "nah man"."
Those that are fans of the band - and there are many - will know that you can never expect the same release twice from The Sun Explodes.
Hometown venue The Brickyard was packed to the rafters for the release of their last EP two years ago, which in itself represented a big leap forward for the band, and it also set the bar high for them to match this time around.
"With this, as with all our music, there was no goal or agenda," Alex continues.
"We just write whatever feels right.
"In this case, for the music I'd pretty much run out of ideas, so I bought a guitar with another string on it to try and force some creativity, and Dave (Maclachlan, vocalist) based all his lyrics around a central concept rather than the songs being unrelated.
"So, sound-wise, it's unlike anything we've done before, which I guess is actually our style - just to really challenge anyone who's attempting to be a fan of us.
"I think for album four we're just going to release 40 minutes of Dave humming along to Flight of the Bumblebee, with sound effects from Super Ghouls and Ghosts on the SNES over the top."
Second single, Mirrorgazer, is expected to drop at any minute, and the full-length record, We Are of These Walls, hot on its heels with a June 19 release.
However, if you're expecting this period of activity to herald a flurry of live shows, you might be disappointed.
One of the main reasons for The Sun Explodes' disappearance from the gigging circuit was the loss of their other guitarist, Alex Adamson, leaving them to press ahead in the studio as a four-piece - with Mike Walker and Jamie Harris continuing on bass and drums respectively.
It's a situation they're yet to resolve, but Alex H is confident they will be back on stage in good time.
He says: "When Alex, our second guitarist, departed the band, we were unsure on how things would proceed. But we knew we wanted to release the music we had ready, even if we never got a chance to play it.
"The actual recording process doesn't take that long, but all the stuff that comes between that and release always takes 10 times longer than you'd think. Funnily enough, in terms of getting things how we like, we tend to breeze through 98 per cent of the music and then have arguments and pitched battles about one stupid transition or something no one else will ever notice.
"We probably won't be able to perform these tracks live, sadly, but we do hope to eventually have some new music ready that we can do live in our new configuration, so watch this space.
"But you might want to get a book or something, because it's gonna be a while.
"It's kind of like waiting for Game of Thrones - it's so long, you kind of know it's gonna be worth the wait, but all youwant to know is who gets naked."