Gothic Metal is a fickle beast. It takes very little to push even the most accomplished bands into unlistenably cheesy territory, but remove too much cheesiness and the music becomes...well, boring. On "Trompe L'Oeil", THE SUN OF WEAKNESS cross that line both ways on multiple songs, resulting in an uneven album, if admirable in its aspirations. The requisite over-dramatic vocals of Alessandro Cammilletti are made all the more silly by the presence of his thick Italian accent. Still, it's not like Gothic Metal bands have ever been experts in subtly, and besides, Cammilletti does his duty with skillful exuberance (well, as exuberant as a guy feigning depression can be).
The opening track does create an effective Gothic Metal atmosphere, preparing the listener for the histrionics to come. Unfortunately, they never do, at least not very successfully. "Just One Word," the very next song, goes for what amounts to a straight-ahead rock sound that veers uncomfortably close to Nu-Metal territory. It's a rather shameless attempt to make a catchy and accessible rock song, which would be great if it accomplished its goal. As it stands, "Just One Word" just seems like a tired remnant of something that came out of 2001.
With a far more natural and relaxed approach, "Chemical Frustration" accomplished what "Just One Word" tires to be, resulting in an enjoyable, if not Earth-shattering, experience. The problem is that innumerable other bands have attempted to combine memorable hooks with a Gothic Metal sensibility, resulting in either boring rock music with eyeliner or just ineffective Metal. While THE SUN OF WEAKNESS do not fall into any traps that severe, they simply don't create anything of substance or worth remembering. There is certainly potential here, so one hopes that the band's grasp will meet its reach on future releases.
(Online January 19, 2008)