Roundtable Album Review: Sonus Mortis – War Prophecy
Posted by ChristopherMammal
Release Date: 31 March 2015
Length: 56 minutes
Genre: Doom/Death Metal
Studio Albums: Propaganda Dream Sequence (2014)
Location: Dublin, Ireland
WarpRider – Mainly, I am scratching my head for the simple fact that this is a one-person driving force behind all of the blackened rhythms backed by dark, symphonic death and doom. It seems too well put together to be one person, but as the 15-track album blasts its way from one song to the next, it is so easy think this is a 5- or 6-piece finely tuned band firing on all cylinders. But no, it’s just a dude; a busy dude. After a 2013 self-titled EP, a 2014 album called “Propaganda Dream Sequence”, and now “War Prophecy” – there is certainly a well-stocked bank of brutal metal stirring in Kevin Byrnes’ mind.
Sometimes an album with this level of intensity can blur as one long song, however, there are a few songs that stuck out. “The New Holocaust Hypocrisy” is stocked with double bass drumming and lengthy vocal growls. Overall it’s a speedy song broken up with some of the same symphonic darkness found throughout the album. It feels powerful and bombastic. Additionally, the clean vocals on “The Crypt of the Death Prophet” added a nice touch butted up against melodic guitar pieces. The same goes for “Systematic Eradication”.
Overall, “War Prophecy” is a blistering experience softened by dark and brooding symphonic touches that are not in the least bit overpowering. There is an adequate mix of elegance among the carnage of growling vocals and sheer speed. Sonus Mortis, and busy as he is, manages to combine these chaotic elements into a seamless mix of fine-tuned metal! 4.0
RiffRaff –If I had to sum this record up in one word, I’d go with “grand”. At any moment in its near one hour run-time you can hear that Mr. Sonus Mortis is pushing his songwriting capabilities to make his sound as big as possible. Ominous synths emphasize machine-gunning blast beats and chainsaw riffing while rapid-fire growls punch thunder in the face. Smooth clean vocals add touches of emotion and break up anything reminiscent of monotony, and organic tempo changes keep things dynamic and always work to accent the brutality whenever it starts to feel a bit commonplace. Touching stuff really.
If I did have any nitpicks on this record I would say that I would have liked to hear a bit more from the guitar department, maybe a thick riff here and there would have helped pad the rather short-for-a-prog-metal-album songs out without sacrificing their flow. That’s about it really.
“War Prophecy” is well worth the time for any discerning prog-death fan. Lots to love and chew on here. 4.5
Irmelinis – Slightly reminiscent of Dimmu Borgir in atmosphere, these well-composed songs are grand and mighty, giving off a balanced feeling of hope and impending doom. With strong riffs, traditional sounding death metal vocals and great production, “War Prophecy” is quite straightforward in its approach. It’s only been a little over a year since the previous Sonus Mortis record, but this man obviously has no problems presenting us with another heavy, rock-solid concept album this year. Good job! 3.5
ChristopherMammal – This is the kind of metal that oxygenates my blood and makes my beard grow strong. It’s rich, textured, artistically layered, intense, emotive, and somewhat blackened. Some passages are pulse-pounding, others are sublimely uplifting. Kevin Byrne’s extraordinary skill as a one-man band is matched only by his grace as a composer.
His music is tagged as doom/death metal. That’s an inadequate description. The exceptionally musical and varied tracks embrace prog death, melodic and symphonic metal, and deeply atmospheric doom. Some of the thrum-thrumming guitar work is over there with deathcore. Obviously the album was assembled in layers since Kevin Byrne plays every instrument and also does two different types of dark vocals as well as classy clean vocals. In addition, his music is layered in the same way that the helical strands loop around each other and weave together in a molecule of multi-dimensional DNA.
The debut full-length from Sonus Mortis, “Propaganda Dream Sequence”, was my number five metal album of 2014. That gave me high expectations for the next album. “War Prophecy” quite splendidly meets all of those expectations. It’s going to rank high up on my 2015 list. 5.0
A Metal State of Mind Score – 4.3 out of 5