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Sovereign – Altered Realities

sovereign – altered realities


Apart from a few old-school bands like Cadaver, Mortem and later on, for instance, Zyklon and Blood Red Throne, Norway is not exactly the first country you think of when talking about Death Metal. Yet in the last decade, a few bands emerged that revived the genre in the Scandinavian country. Bands like Obliteration and Execration may not have really been able to make their mark on the international revival of the Death Metal genre, but they are both bands that brought something different from anything that sounded like Autopsy or Entombed. Because, with all due respect, I think we actually have more than enough bands paying their musical respects to these bands. Obliteration and Execration, along with a few others, did indeed bring something different to the table. Call it finesse, technique…

To this list we can also effortlessly add this new band called Sovereign. When I first heard ‘Altered Realities’, I could not have guessed that it was the debut album of a new Norwegian band. But, on reflection, the musical ingenuity on offer actually fits the band’s lineage like a glove. But it wasn’t just that, the fact that this really is a debut album left me puzzled momentarily.

Sovereign brings a blend of American-styled Death Metal that sounds both fresh and old school at the same time. Well, actually Sovereign opted for a sound that is fits in the zeitgeist of the initial Death Metal boom of the late 80’s, but not much in the Deicide or Cannibal Corpse way. Instead their take on the genre is much more based on that tipping point where Thrash Metal became Death Metal. It has as much to do with a band like Demolition Hammer and Sadus as with Nocturnus and Death.

As a matter of fact, I think every Death Metal aficionado will hear some of the early Thrashing stepping stones to Death Metal in particular and extreme metal in general in it. Yet, the great common denominator is the technical and progressive nature of the music. The music is predominantly fast, hence the Thrash Metal part, but it has so much going on in the sense of intriguing tempo changes and ingenious riffing. The melodies have much more than the echo of the late Chuck Schuldiner in them and the spacey passages do reflect an obvious adoration of the pioneering work of Nocturnus.

Together it blends in just perfectly, almost feeling like a time machine, beaming you right back to 1988 or 1990. Days when bands like Devastation and Obliveon released their ‘Signs Of Life’ and ‘From This Day Forward’ albums respectively and Morbid Angel was the big thing. Back lifting it to a bit more modern times, Sovereign is a band that will appeal to people who were able to appreciate bands like Morbus Chron, early Horrendous or in general, Death Metal bands who took a fair share of their influence from ‘Killing Technology’ or ‘Dimension Hatröss’-era Voivod.


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