Pacific Northwest trio Sumac include members of post-metal heavyweights such as Isis and Russian Circles. The group's intense, complex sound falls somewhere between sludge metal and experimental noise rock, and their mammoth, punishing compositions include numerous time changes as well as occasional ambient interludes. Lyrically, the band examine subjects such as struggles with anxiety (on 2016's What One Becomes) and the spiritual aspects of love (on 2018's Love in Shadow).
Sumac was founded in 2014 by guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom, Mamiffer) along with Canadian drummer Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists, Hard Feelings) and bassist Brian Cook (Botch, These Arms Are Snakes, Russian Circles). The group's debut full-length, The Deal, was released in 2015 as a double LP by Sige and on CD by Profound Lore. The group then signed to Thrill Jockey, which issued their second album, What One Becomes, in 2016. Before You I Appear, a remix EP featuring contributions by Kevin Drumm and Samuel Kerridge, arrived at the end of the year. WFMU, a cassette containing the group's 2016 session recorded for Brian Turner's program on the New Jersey-based free-form radio station, was issued by Sige in February 2018. During the same month, Thrill Jockey released the group's first collaboration with Japanese noise legend Keiji Haino, titled American Dollar Bill: Keep Facing Sideways, You're Too Hideous to Look at Face On. The session with Haino informed the recording of Sumac's next album, Love in Shadow, which followed in September. Even for Just the Briefest Moment/Keep Charging This "Expiation"/Plug in to Making It Slightly Better, a second album drawn from the band's sessions with Haino, appeared on Trost in 2019. May You Be Held, a reflection on humanism and compassion, appeared on Thrill Jockey in 2020. ~ Paul Simpson