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May You Be Held


  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Includes unlimited streaming of May You Be Held via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Watch the unboxing here:

    Includes unlimited streaming of May You Be Held via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 2 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $26 USD or more 


  • Record/Vinyl + Digital Album

    Includes unlimited streaming of May You Be Held via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 2 days
    Purchasable with gift card

      $23 USD or more 


  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Includes unlimited streaming of May You Be Held via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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      $12 USD or more 


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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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      $9 USD  or more


  • Limited Edition Cassette - repress
    Cassette + Digital Album

    Cassette sleeve printed as metallic gold ink letterpressed onto “Insulation Pink” 80- lb paper. Art/design by Aaron Turner, letter press printing by Studio on Fire. SIGE Records 089.
    Second press of 50 copies.

    Includes unlimited streaming of May You Be Held via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

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What is to come and what will be left? After fires are swallowed by the floods Will you offer balm to the wounded? Shelter to those cast from their homes? Gather together all those who remain Shepherd hordes through fields of dust and bones In this place bereft of light Diamond waters to blackened tar have turned And now through cracking lips are they cursed as they slake the thirst of none Hands that once cradled and caressed Peel flesh from the bodies of children bathed in rubble Now A prayer to you as this has yet to pass: “May the sun shine through your hair May the light dance in your eyes” “May your limbs move through gleaming waves Your body rest upon the earth to embrace, part, return May you be held in shadow And in light” “In laughter and in silence May you walk gently on this path Borne by courage and by kindness”
A black chair in an empty iron room Air cold and brittle No one left Bodies hauled away Vomit and ash spilled across the floor Soon too will the light drain from empty sockets
Consumed 16:58
No love within Take love from him He who cannot speak He who has no tongue So small So tired Crawling in circles Safe in shadow He’s covered, fed and sick Behind a song that hangs like smoke sweet and choking A black radiant hum that drives him on and on and on Pursued Hot breath on neck Watched by bloody eyes unblinking Pursued Watched Held close Consumed That sacred thing made of salt and blood And skin Ripped from tender darkness Left to dry in the midday sun Dancing on the burning winds His howling husk dreams of rain Now up from the pit to walk the soaking soil His eyes lift to behold the stars Each breath a hymn to a world reborn


“As an artist in this time of significant upheaval, society seemingly having reached the end of its current iteration, it’s of critical importance to absorb and interpret this process of dissolution - and of the transformation that hopefully follows it” says Aaron Turner, guitarist and vocalist for the expressionistic metal ensemble SUMAC. “While I don’t believe we’re on the brink of collective destruction precisely now, this is clearly a pivotal stage in the story of humankind - and there is something that feels right about this music at this exact and very uncertain moment.” In this case, the music in discussion is May You Be Held, the latest album for the American-Canadian trio. 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.

SUMAC’s work has always been about transition between different states of being. Our sense of normal, and indeed our sense of life, is now being shaken. We don’t know what is coming next. We are looking for pointers towards the future, as well as things to hold onto in the moment. This is a fundamental aspect of May You Be Held’s larger theme. Musically, it’s about continual unification and divergence—and is imbued with the uncertainty inherent in that cycle. In that uncertainty there is also hope, frustration, madness, and a desire for connection. All this too is part of this moment in our history—everything happening at once, the simultaneous emergence of humanity's best and worst characteristics. 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. “It’s clear humans have figured out many ways over the centuries to acclimate to adverse circumstances, and even to thrive in them,” Turner says. “My hope for our family, humanity and future generations, is that we find our way by doing what we have always done—invent, adapt, band together, and ideally, hold each other up through love and kindness.”

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.

May You Be Held opens with “A Prayer for Your Path,” a composition culled from improvisational exercises centered on the interplay between Turner’s guitar drones and Yacyshyn’s bowing of a vibraphone. Threaded together with warming bass swells, it serves as the entry point for the album’s increasingly tumultuous and unpredictable strategies. The album’s title track is more in line with SUMAC’s established tactics: fusing heavy riffage, knotty structures, and expressionistic forays into an epic narrative arc that winds and weaves through so many peaks and valleys that it spills across two sides of an LP. The band’s free moments hit their apex with “The Iron Chair,” a fully unscripted spontaneous moment in the studio that sounds both completely uninhibited while also locking into some kind of alien logic. From there SUMAC launches into their second long-form orchestrated composition—the imposing “Consumed.” The track is perhaps their most ambitious work yet, morphing and evolving across multiple recording sessions at different locations over the course of several years until reaching its final form where SUMAC’s troglodyte force slowly ramps it up over its twenty-minute run time to a near panic-inducing frenzy. The album is bookended with a final improvisation exercise, the somber and subdued “Laughter and Silence.”

While past SUMAC records have been concentrated efforts churned out in short flurries of activity, May You Be Held is a record that came from seemingly out of nowhere. Pieced together from vestiges of the Love in Shadow session with Kurt Ballou at Robert Lang Studio in Shoreline WA, a session at The Unknown recording studio in Anacortes with Matt Bayles at the engineering helm (where the band’s sophomore album What One Becomes was tracked), and supplementary work at House of Low Culture out on Vashon Island in the Puget Sound, May You Be Held reflects the temporal shifts and protracted scope of its genesis. It’s a record that feels more human than anything else—at times flawed and wounded, at others, triumphant, purposeful, and pensive. The music is by no means a salve or anodyne, but neither is it nihilistic. Rather, its forceful approach and challenging timbres are like a confrontation, a baptism by fire, a therapeutic razing. Ultimately, May You Be Held is a reminder of the life force that binds us together and a clarion call to be an active participant in an evolving world.


released October 2, 2020

Aaron Turner - guitar, voice
Nick Yacyshyn - drums, percussion
Brian Cook - bass

Faith Coloccia - organ on “Laughter and Silence”

Mixed by Kurt Ballou at God City, Salem, MA
Recorded by Matt Bayles at The Unknown, Anacortes, WA, and at HoLC, Vashon, WA
Additional recording by Kurt Ballou at Robert Lang Studios, Shoreline, WA and by A.
Turner at HoLC, Vashon, WA
Assistant engineering at The Unkown by Nicholas Wilbur
Mastered by Matt Colton at Metropolis Mastering, London, UK

Art/design by A. Turner

SUMAC gratefully acknowledges the support of: Electrical Guitar Company, Fryette, D’Addario, Orange, Ludwig, Sabian, Ernie Ball, Dwarfcraft, MASF, Fuzzrocious, Moog


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SUMAC is the powerhouse trio of Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom,Mamiffer), Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists), and Brian Cook (Russian Circles, These Arms Are Snakes). SUMAC invests in the recursive exercises of chaos and control, and the results are a testament to the tour-honed collective intuition and technical skills of these veteran players. ... more


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