Sovereign – Spiritual Warfare Demo MMXVII

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label: Folkvangr Records
Released: 12 May 2017

Band Line-up:
 Spiritual Warfare Demo Spiritual Warfare Demo

A. – Bass & Vocals
M.S. – Guitar & Vocals

Tracklistings:

1. Hammer of Fevered Light
2. Diadem of Wound
3. The Well of All Recalcitrance

Review:

United States Black Metal is going from strength to strength right now, perhaps not so much in popularity (unless you count the more atmospherically inclined bands), but certainly in terms of quality. The fact that Sovereign are slipping under the radar is quite frankly criminal, as this 3 track offering is a little slice of true Black Metal gold.

From the get go, this a seriously no nonsense affair. Once Sovereign get dig their hooks in, there’s no getting them out, and from start to finish it’s powerful and enrapturing. It’s been almost 3 years since the band’s last offering, and while one could argue that in terms of production quality Spirit Warfare is a marked step back, for my money it hugely compliments the songwriting presented. Swathes of crackling distortion seep across every aspect of this record, and with high register tremolo leads and big chord riffs, the result is crushing. This is lo-fi as it gets, and if you’re a fan of old school Black Metal, you’ll find it hard to fault the authenticity.

If there’s one complaint to be levied, it’s that this demo leaves me wanting more (really an unfair criticism of a demo, but one that could easily be seen as a positive reflection on the band’s work here). Falling shy of 15 minutes total run time, it can be listened to half a dozen times, only to leave me wanting a full length album of this sound. It’s aggressive, large scope, raw, and compelling USBM, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Reviewed by Lewis May
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