It’s Sunday, which means we’re once again turning to the world of unsigned metal. This week is the turn of a one man death metal band from Ireland; Sonus Mortis. The new album, War Prophecy, drops on the 31st of March, until then you can catch up on the previous release here on Bandcamp
If you were to listen to Sonus Mortis for even just a song, you could be forgiven for thinking this band consisted of, at the very least, a singer, guitar player, bass player, drummer and someone on keys. Instead, we learn that Sonus Mortis is a one man project; the man in question being Kevin Byrne, a former member of Valediction, a melodic death metal band from Ireland.
Carrying over the death metal basis while adding symphonic elements into the mix, Byrne created Sonus Mortis in May 2013. Over the last, what is approaching two years, Sonus Moris has seen the release of an online demo in 2013 followed by the first full length album in 2014, Propaganda Dream Sequence.
With the album being well received and sent to various corners of the world, it wasn’t long before a follow up album was underway. This is all, War Prophecy, arrived in our inbox recently. The following is a short review of the work.
I’m already impressed by the release before I’ve even hit play. I’ve been given a PDF of lyrics and this pleases me. It’s such an overlooked feature yet such a joy to receive, it really lets the listener get involved with the music, especially when it’s music based around death metal growls.
A 56 minute or so long symphonic death metal album can be a daunting thing, especially when you have to review the piece. There is just enough time to recognise a slight influence from Mars: The Bringer of War (an influence which becomes more obvious later with Shell Shocked) before we’re off. There’s little by the way of build up, within twenty seconds or so it’s full on death metal time.
This sort of “ready, steady, go” approach is a strong part of the release. The symphonic influence doesn’t become a crutch, there really isn’t a moment where Byrne has focussed too much on building a huge symphonic segment that he loses sight of his primary sound. Don’t get me wrong, you certainly think there is going to be a long instrumental passage, for example, the start of Banshee Remnants, before once again, Byne plunges headfirst into death metal.
In tracks like Cavity there are certain gentler passages, you even gets moments of clean singing which almost acts as an ear bath before the metal thunders back in.
For fellow musicians out there, some of you should prepare to be infuriated, or preferably inspired. There’s something painful in an “all tracks performed by” notice that makes you feel like you’re only achieving a small percent of your own musical capability. Hearing Byrne’s composing and in turn, performance is a wonderful thing though. While some of us sit with our instruments wishing we had more likeminded people to jam with, people like Byrne are sitting creating music of this calibre.
I think I’ve mentioned it in the previous Sun-Signed’s, but I continue to be stunned at the quality of music that is coming out of the underground and the unsigned markets. Whether a band or an artist can exist in the current climate with no label remains to be seen in the long run, there are certainly plenty of bands making it work for them.
War Prophecy has a rawer edge many of you will have been missing from symphonic metal, whether that’s due to simply having a smaller budget than a signed artist or because Byrne’s writing is fuelled by emotion rather than contractual obligation I don’t know. Either way, it will surely please those who like a bit of power behind their death metal.
Like Sonus Mortis here on Facebook to keep up to date with the coming release