For some reason or other we appear to have missed promo duties on 1st Dread Sovereign album ‘All Hell’s Martyrs’ in 2014. This was somewhat careless considering the band comprise of A.A. Nemtheanga and Dubh Sol from Primordial along with Wizard Of Firetop Mountaineer Bones. Having not properly heard them or managed to catch them live yet I expected heartfelt and crushing doom of the highest order not without a sense of irreverent humour, I mean just look at that album title and try not to groan. We certainly get a slab of the former here but delving in I actually found a fair bit more substance to this than any one trick pony.
Starting with the title track we get an atmospheric build up courtesy of cold bitter wind effects and clanging chimes, it’s all rather ominous and chilly. Classic doom vibes spread their wings into the epic 13 minute 1st track proper ‘Twelve Bells Toll In Salem’ giving me much along the lines of what I anticipated. This is pure old school worship saluting everything from aged Candlemass, Count Raven and beyond. Averill’s vocals are instantly recognisable and full of the passion carried over from his day job, a cry of “Satan” beseechingly riding high as the drums slowly thump along. Everything here is hefty with plenty of weight and ballast as it builds, bass rumbles thickly and those haunting chimes echo in a lengthy instrumental section. It’s certainly involving enough to make you down your pint if you witness it live, get another one and sob heartily into it.
I expected this modus-operandi to continue and was surprised when things continue in a much more upbeat fashion with ‘This World Is Doomed.’ The song still clamours with the essence of the golden age of things but more metal than doom here and now that pint is bouncing along to a rugged groove and heads are a banging as it’s launched with the words “Let’s Go.” This chugs heavily and I couldn’t help note that there’s more than a little anthemic biker Hawkwind stomp about it as much as the likes of any cult, lost in the dawn of time metal great you could mention (Cirith Ungol as far as the PR blurb is concerned). This one’s a most unexpected banger make no mistake! It slows down and perhaps the world is doomed but still it’s not going down without a fist shaken at it.
There have been hints of psychedelia waiting in the wings and they blossom on ‘The Spines of Saturn’ and we head away from our wrecked planet and off on a space chase which again channels the spirit of Hawkwind at their most intense and head-melting. The vocals even sound like they are being projected from an out of control escape pod. Finishing things off with a cover I guess the wind would have been a bit too obvious and Allain has already channelled his inner Bathory with Twilight Of The Gods so it’s left for Venom and a bruising rendition of ‘Live Like an Angel, Die Like a Devil.’
This was an instantly accessible album and I really have enjoyed it but with just 3 main songs 2 introludes and a cover I could really have done with a bit more. Due to the fact that each of the main songs sound quite different too I’m not sure I have got a complete feel of exactly where the band are coming from. Guess it’s time to seek out the debut and hope to catch the band live. Until then or when the world blows up this will do nicely.
(7.5/10 Pete Woods)