I knew right away when I heard Sonus Mortis’ demo last year that the band’s future work would be fantastic.
Such things stand out like a sore thumb amid a deluge of dowdy demos.
When I say band, I suppose I mean person, in the form of Kevin Byrne – multi instrumentalist and obvious prodigy.
You wouldn’t think for a second that the orchestral dark metal powering out the speakers here is the product of anything less than a five piece firing on all cylinders. That’s the level of skill involved here.
Rarely do one man bands sound so full.
With the release of this debut album, Sonus Mortis are a real going concern. Borrowing intermittently from Septic Flesh, Rotting Christ, Therion, Triptykon, Dimmu Borgir and the odd nod to Devin Townsend, Byrne has crafted a dark and evocative hours worth of music.
Each of the tracks shows invention and variety.
‘To Lament, Mourn And Regret’ is a huge, imperious piece, with its clean, low vocal clearly referencing modern Paradise Lost from ‘Symbol Of Life’ onward.
The vaguely Strapping Young Lad feeling ‘Enter Oblivion’ follows it with a slightly futuristic, bodyhammer riffing style all laid over with impressive keyboard swathes. It sounds ace, and cinematic in scope.
And hold that thought. SYL get a further look in, in case there was any doubt about it, in ‘Automated Future’, with its speedy opening blast widening out to a very grand and spacious sonic outing.
There’s a lot to like in this album, with tones reminiscent of bands old and new. Amid all the studio wizardry Kevin hasn’t forgotten the essence of great underground metal, and as such ‘A Doctrine For The End Times’ opens with a very isolated and (again) almost Paradise Lost-esque melodic lead line – but with a tone from many albums ago.
If there were to be criticisms, and minor they are, it’s that that low string gets chugged just a little too much on occasion. Every song seems to have it in there somewhere, just hanging around. Kevin needs to move around the fretboard a bit more in the riffs.
Similarly though the vocals are massively improved on the demo, perhaps a little saminess creeps in not in the takes themselves, because they’re cool, but in the vocal patterns.
These are minor quibbles however in a frankly amazing achievement of expansive, immersive and compelling metal.
There’s no other words for it, the guy is a genius. Hear it.
4.1 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 05/03/14