The end times are nigh, but at least we have some killer extreme metal to show for it. As the veil of the apocalypse is drawn, melodic black and death worshipers Sons Ov Omega Reign supreme. Get in here for an exclusive look at armageddon.
Tomorrow, February 18th, Black Lion Records will release Sons Of Omega’s long-gestating debut coinciding with a release show in the band’s hometown of Umeå, Sweden (home to Meshuggah, Cult of Luna, and more). Reign is the end result of years of hard work; the band was formed initially in 2012 by Tiamat Invictus (guitars and vocals) and Arktos (drums). The two have been crafting songs ever since, recruiting full vocalist Anthropos and guitarist Mors along the way; the duo of Mors and Invictus finally settled upon a lyrical topic, namely a fascination with death and eschatology, and took the strongest of their sonic ideas into the studio in 2015. What you’re hearing now is literally the end result of years upon years of preparation and practice.
That long creative process is immediately evident in the first track “Pandora.” Clean guitars and swelling basslines set an adventurous tone for the record while melodic vocals invite us upona spiritual journey through shifting, sweeping guitar lines and changing rhythms. In truth, “Pandora” is Reign in quintessence; Sons Ov Omega are unafraid to experiment, interchanging clean and growled vocals with acoustic passages and prominent bass while the drums arc with refined cymbal work atop a rocksteady double bass back beat. The long track is itself a miniature epic, a microcosm of the technicality and songwriting skill evident in the work of progressive greats like Opeth and Enslaved. It’s clear from this introduction alone that Reign is going to be quite the ride.
Thankfully, the record isn’t just artistic revelry; “Fields of Ember” gets down to brass tacks with some punchy melodic death metal riffs reminiscent of early At the Gates or Scar Symmetry. The latter comparison seems especially apt in light of the strong interplay between growls and singing, although some songs, like the mystic “Quetzalcoatl” with its fiery leads and spiraling divebombs, still deliver plenty of extreme moments to satisfy even the most jaded of headbangers. Those scraped-out, low-register riffs near the end of “Quetzalcoatl” are especially heinous, proving that Sons Ov Omega are far more than just another pale facsimile of the early Swedish scene.
Thankfully, the adventurousness persists throughout the record’s whole runtime. “Nuclear Salvation” boasts an especially exotic introduction and a tasty chromatic lead line sure to make fans of Nevermore salivate. “Malleus Malleficarum” features jarring rhythmic syncopation that wouldn’t be out of place on a dissonant death record, and the apocryphal throat-singing on “Kali” is bound to make your skin crawl. One of my favorite moments is the oddly off-kilter drums on “Deluge” that remind me of Opeth’s “The Grand Conjuration” before the song takes a decidedly more aggressive turn full of arpeggiated riffs and moody bass reverberations. Special moments like this are doled out expertly across the whole album, demonstrating the care and articulation imparted into this record during its long creation.
As evident from the sheer diversity mentioned here, Sons Ov Omega have crafted a daring, even thrilling debut that drinks deep from the wells of metal’s storied history and legion subgenres to deliver a welcome progressive tale of doom and destruction. If you like Perihelion Ship, Dark Tranquillity, Cult of Fire, and Therion, you’re sure to find much to love here. Comment below and let me know which tracks have you sold!