Friday, January 11, 2013

Sonic Reign - Monument In Black [2013]

Though I've avoided and neglected much of the modernized black metal cliches for obvious reasons, Germans Sonic Reign have somehow found their way through all the acidic aspects of the genre's aesthetics and grappled me with everything they have. Unquestionably, there has been a good many bands over the last 10 years, who, in order to make black metal ''hip'' once more have severed and toyed with it using various implements of modernity, and the whole black & roll has enlarged, and gradually surfaced towards mediocrity, but I'm thankful that these Germans, even though they are employers of this inclination, have taken it to a much catchier level, attaining a good level of vile old school avidity whilst doing so. Through Apostasy Records, Sonic Reign release their first album in seven years, and oh boy this is fun, for connoisseurs and less-experienced black metal troop alike.

Sonic Reign's primary elements involve the aforementioned black & roll cliche, discernible from the murderous waves of groove and memorable accessibility inserted into the basis, and and a harsher undercurrent of surging, surgical black/thrash volatility, which is more prominent during savage sequences where guitar Benjamin Berucki thrusts his picking hand into the strings and starts thrumming frenetically, something that's rather less common in an orgy of discordant arpeggios blending into trudging razor impulses - all part of the band's scheme. What's great here is that Sonic Reign isn't exactly forming a composite of more groove-laden black metal and ramming Australian black/thrash; they're meshing that all up with plenty of intricacy, intricacy that can take on an almost prehensile, atmospheric hue when they start rocking back and forth and start plunging into the depths of the carnal skull on their album art. The tone is gritty up to an extent, not to mention crusty as if Satyricon somehow got hold of Warbringer's guitars, but the real treat is the sheer unhinged mayhem the riffs can create. I feel somehow that the Teutonic squad is holding their potential aback, because they're hardly breaking into more belligerent spurts, delving into their atmospheric complexities for the majority of the album, when they can clearly thread the two together to form the ultimate cranium-splatter weapon. More distinct, hostile chug fairs like ''Daily Nightmare Injected'' do have their appeal, but that's only a fraction of what the group can do if they let their imaginations flow.

For the vocals, imagine Destroyer 666, on ''Unchain The Wolves'', only roiled in pinch of miasma rather than the more punk-ish edge you'd expect black/thrash bands to have. The band's final addition to their music is the well done overall gait. Even when riffs evaporate into contrast and rupture at times, the pace of the album seems to be fixed; a steady mid-paced pattern which I found to be the key of their monotony. Not in a bad way of course, bu it's just that that the drudgery of fiery black metal tremolos is what makes the album so magnetically enthralling for me. As an album, ''Monument In Black'' is damnably solid, and as a stacked briefcase of collapsing tremolo pillars it's a one way ticket into some of the less cavernous sentient molasses out there right now, a fixated concussion that delivers its piled content slowly, eventually summing up to the sonic pressure of seven elephants stomping your ear drums at one time. Colossal, haunting simplicity that I just can't reject.

Abhorrence Vs. Scum
Whisperer In The Dark
Daily Nightmare Injected

Rating: 81%

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