Sum of R was supposed to perform live at Roadburn Festival in 2020. Project leader and sole constant member Reto Mäder was set to be joined onstage by vocalist Marko Neuman (Convocation) and Jukka Rämänen (Dark Buddha Rising) for what, one imagines, would have been a landmark moment in the avant/post-metal band’s history. Of course, the show never happened. The pandemic hit just before Roadburn, and before Sum of R’s new lineup got the chance to play together. When restrictions loosened enough for him to do so, Mäder booked a flight to Finland to join Neuman and Rämänen, with the goal of discovering the Sum of R that never was.
The resulting album, Lahbryce, is perhaps the crown jewel of the Sum of R catalog, and the odd circumstances that led to its creation make it feel liberated from any expectation. It’s harrowingly heavy at points, delicately beautiful at others, and psychedelically exploratory throughout. Today, Decibel is sharing the first single, “Crown of Diseased.” The song opens with a stark piano riff that recalls My Dying Bride’s “Sear Me MCMXCIII,” before Neuman’s creepy, strangled vocal emerges and pushes the song toward its climactic freakout. It’s heady, heavy stuff, and it’s paired to a video clip directed by Jeroen Mylle, which you can watch below. Read a quote from Mäder about the track and dive in.
“The song is about psychic states of emergency, about unbearable situations in which people dissociate from themselves and the experienced event. Often traumatic experiences are the origin of such dissociation. We see the video clip for the first single from the album Lahbryce by Jeroen Mylle as a metaphoric visualization of such an overstrained mind. People who suffer from it look at their lives from the outside, like a movie. They experience estrangement from their own body and feelings, but also their environment. The perceived reality shifts as violently as earth plates – which either collide or drift apart.”