Sovereign (NOR) - Altered Realities (2024)Release ID: 49671

Sovereign (NOR) - Altered Realities (2024) Cover
Sonny Sonny / February 22, 2024 / Comments 0 / 0

I am a man of unsophisticated taste, particularly in music, as illustrated by my indifference to the dissonant and avant-garde, jazz in particular being anathema to me. In relation to this, for the longest time I considered technical death and thrash metal as also outside my comfort zone, but a dive into the earlier years of death metal resulted in the discovery that a certain level of technicality was indeed something I could enjoy, as epitomised by the Death and Atheist back catalogues. There is, however, a degree of technicality beyond which I switch off as it becomes more and more "jazzy" as per Gorguts and their ilk.

Anyway, this lengthy preamble to a review of Norway's Sovereign is relevant as they play a technical style of deaththrash that sits right slap-bang in the middle of my sweet spot for technical metal whereby the technical flourishes are sufficient to bring variety and interest without pushing into a more jazz-adjacent territory that I am more uncomfortable with. To be more precise, they play thrash metal with tech-death aspirations, influenced by mid-period Death albums and possibly by the current South American thrash metal, particularly that of Chilean bands like Ripper, Demoniac and Slaughtbbath.

Although this is the band's debut full-length, they are not newbies, with members, or ex-members, of Stormbeist and Execration and with Nekromantheon's live guitarist, Tommy Jacobsen taking on lead duties, a duty he discharges with impressive aplomb. His leads are incendiary and thrilling, with a high level of dextrous competency, sitting squarely on the right side of shredding, becoming neither flaccid nor self-indulgent and reminding me a little of how James Murphy's work lifted Death's Spiritual Healing, which is meant as high praise indeed - check out the final minute of Nebular Waves for a stellar example. They may not be the tightest band to play technical deaththrash, but they are sufficiently skilled that a slight looseness makes them sound more passionate than the stifling necessity of technical perfection often allows for. They have some solid riffs with energetic songwriting that incorporates the technical flourishes to add colour to the tracks rather than becoming the whole raison d'être. This is definitely an approach I wholeheartedly endorse and it has resulted the band coming up with an album that just sounds better with each repeated listen and which is one of a select few brand new thrash albums not from South America that I will happily keep returning to.


Release info

Release Site Rating

Ratings: 4 | Reviews: 1


Release Clan Rating

Ratings: 1 | Reviews: 1


Cover Site Rating

Ratings: 3


Cover Clan Rating

Ratings: 1

Altered Realities
The Horde
The Pit

Technical Thrash Metal

Voted For: 1 | Against: 0

Thrash Metal (conventional)

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Death Metal (conventional)

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Sovereign (NOR) chronology

Altered Realities (2024)