Review: Somnuri ‘Desiderium’

While New York’s Somnuri are described as a ‘progressive sludge’ or ‘post-sludge’ band, a term I would prefer to use to describe the trio is ‘blender metal’. ‘Fusion’ isn’t a good descriptor, because that word usually brings to mind jazz-rock crossover styles which are usually comparatively gentle and easy-going listening affairs.

Somnuri 'Desiderium' Artwork
Somnuri ‘Desiderium’ Artwork

By contrast, Somnuri take relatively disparate styles of metal and rock, throw them into a theoretical blender, flip the switch and allow the whirling blades to violently mishmash the different influences into something wholly different. Desiderium is the band’s third release, and the ‘blending’ on this record is quite nasty and impressive.

Death Is The Beginning is a savage opener, altering between blackened grindcore and sludge metal reminiscent of Earthship. Clean vocals and frenzied screams fight for space amidst a backdrop of blastbeats and cavernous guitar tones. The second track Paramnesia is no less ferocious, with a more post-hardcore leaning style which sounds a bit like KEN mode jamming with Handsome. The riffs are angular and pierce the ears just as much as they smash them to bits. While a somewhat shorter track, Pale Eyes, is an impressive mix with enough tempo changes to make fans of early Mastodon happy.

Desiderium is a very satisfying and brutally heavy record…

The fantastically titled What A Way To Go bristles with ‘90s hardcore energy, but Hollow Visions hits like proper sludge, it’s grinding guitar riffs and mid-tempo pace ebbing and flowing like waves. Vocalist/guitarist Justin Sherrel is especially effective at switching between harsh and clean vocals in a very complimentary fashion, and he especially shines on this track.

Flesh & Blood sounds like High On Fire if they were drawing influence from Quicksand’s Manic Compression, it’s a real ripper that gets the blood flowing. The title track, Desiderium, goes many different places, at times reminding me of the dissonance of Gorguts but with a firm grounding in ‘90s alternative rock. The final track – aptly titled The Way Out – reminded me of Anciients with its frequent forays between mostly melodic singing and rasping screams against a tumultuous wall of sound.

Desiderium is a very satisfying and brutally heavy record. The band’s multitude of influences are well represented, but it definitely feels more than the sum of its parts. The tracks don’t go off into excessively long progressive metal standards, yet there is enough energy and frenetic song structures that keep prog metal fans listening. With three impressive records under their belt, one can only wonder what Somnuri have in store for us next.

Label: MNRK Heavy
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Rob Walsh