Quality will always, always out.
Even if that's in the form of a one man band putting out a studio project, which is what Sonus Mortis is. You just cant keep a good musician down.
The labour of love of Kevin Byrne, from Valediction (who also demonstrated admirable quality control a few years back with their self release), Sonus Mortis just screams brilliance right from the first note.
None of your two bit nonsense here: everything sounds polished to perfection, with what I presume is a drum machine programmed with such taste and attention to detail that it's almost indistinguishable from the real thing.
The guitars are utterly massive, and the keys are just the icing on the cake.
What's it like? Dark metal – think Septic Flesh, Orphaned Land, Daylight Dies, Novembers Doom, some very old Anathema and you’re just about on cue.
‘Harbinger Of Doom’ rips and tears out the speakers in a thick, heavy, brooding crush that even reminds of a slower Melechesh in its scrabbing assault. Kevin’s darkened mix of growl and rasp inhabits just the right range as well to do serious damage.
Next up it’s ‘A Pale Reflection’;, which has that aforementioned detuned Anathema clean picking from round about ‘The Silent Enigma’;, or ‘Pentecost III’;. The song opens with the most astutely placed wind instrument textures on top of it – a masterstroke moving from minor to major in just three notes – before rolling out the most expansive, pummeling riff.
We’ve found a real musical prodigy here in Kevin Byrne. I’ve no idea how long he's toiled at this, getting every bit right, but the result succeeds in spades. There is more merit in any one of these tracks than entire careers of Irish bands gone past, and the quality of both ideas and execution is jaw dropping.
I find myself demanding more than the three tracks so far provided with each listen – I wish it would continue to an album’s worth of such excellent music.
Best of all, it really sounds like the underground, or what I at least expect the underground to sound like. Dark, brooding, mournful and heavy as a brick shithouse.
The fact that such a huge sound is the product of one person seems staggering, and yet there it is.
The Irish Dan Swano? Not far off, let me tell you. Astonishingly good for its origins.
Roll on the concept album. I dont care if it takes two years, it’ll be worth it.
– Earl Grey ::: 16/09/13