[Black Lion Records]
[released February 18, 2017]
The short pieces of this album that I listened to prior to its release were pretty cool, and Black Lion Records have a very consumer friendly pricing on their Bandcamp offerings, so I pre-ordered Reign a few days before it became public. When properly fitted to my head, Reign started playing in my headphones and I was initially quite surprised of what I heard. I thought this would be black metal, with the occasional clean vocals.
Reign is the debut album from the “Swedish Apocalyptic Occult Metal legions” Sons Ov Omega. Their imagery is that of black metal, with painted faces and hooded figures, but the music is moving pretty close to melodic death metal waters. There still is a black atmosphere to the creation, but the band have a sound that is very unique and quite compelling. I especially like the variation in the vocals. Anthropos and Tiamat Invictuz (also on guitar) are together presenting every imaginable style of singing, including growls, screams, cleans and choir-like vocals. Backed up by the groovy drumming of Arktos, the band is then completed by second guitarist Mors. No bassist seems to be credited on the album, and the bass is also very bland (here I go again), so the band should probably go look for someone that could lift their sound with a proper handling of that instrument.
Reign is not lacking in riffing though. The aforementioned guitarist duo are playing very varied styles with colorful riffing and progressive melodies, and then some tremolo shredding and acoustic style plucking. The guitars and their place in the production are hitting the sweet spot where they are clearly audible yet still rough. They are neither excessively surgical, nor muddy or amateurish, but fall somwhere along where some charm is present but the execution is still professional.
Lyrically, the band seem interested in great destroyers, with song titles naming Pandora, Kali, nuclear holocausts and Cthulhu, and further occult/quasi-religious references to the Aztec deity Qutzacoatl and the Hammer of Witches.
The first track is the one simply called “Pandora.” It’s the longest, and the most alluring with prominent clean vocals and a chorus that sticks in your head. It’s mostly mid-paced and that works very well to build up a great ambience on that track. Next up is “Fields Of Ember,” which is one of the thrashiest songs on the album, and like this it continues. With great variation and lots of different styles blended together in a surprisingly coherent amalgam. As I’ve said, the band take notes from several different genres, including black, death, thrash and progressive metal, but the biggest replay value lies in the catchy-but-never-cheesy choruses that are so prominent in every song.
- TBOJ score: 4.0/5
- DR score: 6