When it was announced that Primordial mastermind A.A Nemtheanga had formed a doom band of the most ferocious kind, internet forums exploded, salivating at what may come from one of metal’s most unique vocalists.
Their debut EP ‘Pray To The Devil In Man’ was released with ravenous response from critics who gave the band some very humbling names to be ranked alongside such as Saint Vitus and Trouble. Capitalising on this, Dread Sovereign have inked a deal with the ever reliable Ván Records and released their debut full length ‘All Hell’s Martyrs.’
After a fairly redundant introduction, the strikingly heavy bass of ‘Thirteen Clergy’ is what gets things started on ‘All Hell’s Martyrs’ with a very basic yet effective take on doom. Nemtheanga’s vocals kick in with that same creepy atmosphere Hell’s David Bower possesses and make for the first real surprise of the album.
Most people’s main interest for this album will be how Nemtheanga’s vocals adapt to something outside Primordial with such a dedicated following to his main project. The results are largely positive with his voice unsurprisingly towering above the other instruments and helping build that intimidating atmosphere needed for doom. On few occasions however, they appear to lose direction and the band as a whole seem to lose focus.
Of course, this is expected for a band still on their debut, especially after releasing a full length so soon after their formation. The stop start nature of having three instrumental tracks is another sign of this, seemingly there to pad out the album’s track length rather than add something to the album’s quality.
Although clearly taking influence from the kings of doom such as Candlemass and the aforementioned Trouble, Dread Sovereign’s sound isn’t strictly old school. The droney and incredibly drawn out nature ‘We Wield The Spear Of Longinus’ could easily appeal to the more modern doomster as much as those who have faded blue denim.
This drawn out sound does at times become tedious and it is in fact when the band are cranking things up a notch in terms of pace that they are at their most potent. Guitarist Bones provides much of these promising moments and this hints at a band likely to expand on their sound.
Dread Sovereign have created a noteworthy but far from perfect debut with ‘All Hell’s Martyrs.’ The Primordial link will no doubt gain them fans regardless but with time there is a good chance that this band can be remembered for their own merits.
Scribed by: Alex Varley