(Broken Limbs Recordings, 2015)
USBM-act Sovereign (founded in 2011) present to us their first full-length in Cassette-format, and what a pleasing surprise it is.
After a very cool intro of a haunting single guitar lead, Sovereign reveals it’s true nature. Complex hellish guitars, played with tremolos and strokes, are backed by pounding basses, intense violent drumming and very cool vocals. The guitars are pretty much half in the more modern vein of Black Metal and half reminding of the nineties classic great Death Metal riffs (accompanied by solos and leads not often heard in modern Black or Death Metal of this nature), both styles performed exceptionally well. The drums are played with great expertice as well, with no errors in performance, yet still just enough off-beat to make them sound chaotic and offensive in a cool way. The paces of the songs switch between (not too fast) blasting and slower groovy and quite technical parts to straightforward Punky Thrashing and Rocking assaults. The extremely low and hard bass-sound fits the drums and rather high guitars great, as all instruments are mixed nicely audible yet not too over-produced.
The vocals on the other hand are a chapter in themselves, featuring two vocalists sometimes singing simultaneously in more than one styles of low and higher Black Metal screaming, sometimes going almost clear in their shouting. Without any effects, the voices sound sinister, serious and atmospheric as fuck, so original in nature I cannot recall any clear comparisons. Definitely unique and fresh.
The amount of riffs and different elements on these songs is amazing, making this a very entertaining release for multiple listens, most likely growing better by time. The cover-art of Derek Setzer also fits the atmosphere and nature of the music splendidly. For all into the perhaps a bit more Experimental vibes of USBM, or a mixture of old-school Death Metal fused with more modern ways of Black Metal (spiced with simple and Rocking elements), this release must simply be experienced.