Today I would like to lose a few words on a fascinating and intriguing record. Something stuck between early Tiamat (the band), the dark reckoning of Moonspell and the hungry urges of Darkend. It boasts a gothic tinge, just enough to remind you of where it could be, yet it is not quite there. You will find dark hints of eternal nights, weird-headed gods and inklings of dark, bloody rituals. Of atrocious devilry in long forgotten cities. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu Fthagn! As they say, don’t they?
Sons ov Omega formed already back in 2012, but unchained their début full length album Reign only in 2017. Interestingly, the band features Tiamat Invictuz of Wormlight who already received some air time on RockmusicRaider earlier. Now, judging by the description of the band, it took them some considerable time (and effort) to harness their vastly diverse musical influences and differences. And by doing so, to produce a record encompassing all of those elements into some sort of a coherent amalgam.
Looking at the result, it indeed appears that chaos breeds opportunity, as Sun-Tzu already opined some time ago. I daresay, the outcome of all these machinations is very varied and complex. And – by that token – hellishly complicated to review. This diversity is a tribute to the musical prowess and resourcefulness of this band and – more importantly – one of the main strengths of this band.
Reign delivers harsh, downturned riffs, sprinkled with a smattering of ambient acoustics and backed up with hammer-like drum work. I do like the clearly progressive tendencies that are very hard to ignore on some of the tracks. To top it, growls and clear voice lyrics artfully garnish the soundscape, giving this disc just the right metal flavor. All of this is delivered in some sort of earthy Melodic Death Metal fashion, just this side of the fiery abyss where the spiked Black Metal dwells.
Now, Sons ov Omega already won a brownie point or two, just for the fact that there is no intro. Pandora – the first track – steps right into this metal medley without further ado. And – by Loki – you get the full treatment already in this first track. Just feel the essence of the album breathing down on you. This track alone comes out as a 10/10 by itself. Now, 9 1/2 minutes later the somewhat thrashy track Fields of Ember delivers a bit simpler fare than before. Leaning heavily on original metal offerings, it nevertheless pits a pretty powerful (and I daresay comforting) metal crunch at the audience. With a sturdy solo added to the fray to boot.
Feeling worn thin by the lull in the action? You need not fear! This was actually only a warm up, ’cause Quetzalcoatl – named freely after the famed feathered serpent – will really attempt to burn your socks off. Then the Hammer of Witches will strike next with Malleus Maleficarum and things will slowly move to the dark side from here on. The Progressive Metal track Kali is a good example, named aptly after the murderous Hindu goddess. Now, this cruising about gods and deities does not abate until the very end. It is thus no surprise that the band took ahold of some of the sordid stories Lovecraft wrote at the very end of Reign. Cthulhu be praised, this is true metal on this track.
To conclude, I honestly expected a tune similar to Wormlight, given the band members involved in the project. Now, whilst still slam-bang in the Extreme Metal realm, Reign is nothing like the aforementioned band at all. Nor should it be, quite honestly.
Sons ov Omega created a delicate and – I daresay – intricate piece of blackened Melodic Death Metal. On top of that, they freely mix progressive with ambient, growls with clear voice vocals to this motley menu of metal styles. The album ends up in a slightly epic, complex, but still finely chiseled conflation of tracks. And it is this out-of-the box and sometimes out of this world way of writing music that is the main allure of the album. And so it should be. After all they go a-chasing of any number of mystical and mythical figures. Well done, cool record.
[Editor’s note: Congratulations, the record successfully made it onto the 2017 Top 10 Records list!]