Sonus Mortis – Hail the Tragedies of Man (Self-Released)

Tuesday, 13th December 2016
Rating: 8.5/10

Much of the time, the lone wolf acts (read: one man bands) are relegated to the black metal regime. But over the years, due to recording technologies, it’s permeated other genres as well. To the case that you arguably wouldn’t know about some of them if you didn’t bother to look it up. Irish symphonic extreme band Sonus Mortis has cranked out three releases in the last three years, with Hail the Tragedies of Man being the latest offering, and featuring the type of sound you’d never expect to come from a one-piece band.

Spanning the blackened/death region as well as some forays into gothic, Sonus Mortis create a slurry of symphonic darkness. At points it seems to channel the late ‘90s/early 2000s symphonic black metal establishment (Dimmu Borgir et al) with strong keys not taking over for the guitars, but working alongside them to create an approach that maintains its heaviness while displaying a more grand and epic atmosphere. There’s a genuinely dark vibe that comes across (check out “Null and Void”), with none of the ‘cheese factor’ sinking in from the symphonic elements. A wall of sound sometimes drives the heavier sections forward, as in “I See Humans But No Humanity,” vaguely recalling The Project Hate MCMXCIX. But perhaps Sonus Mortis’ strongest asset though is the use of gothic-styled cleans. They bring a more dramatic flair to songs like “The Great Catholic Collapse” and the title track, and are frequently employed throughout the album to change things up. Again, they lack the usual hokey-ness that gothic croons can give off, and provide a genuinely emotive outlet for the more melodic sections of the material.

A much larger and fuller sound than one would immediately think of for a one-piece band, Sonus Mortis impress with their varied yet still extreme approach. Hail the Tragedies of Man has plenty of appeal from the symphonic, blackened death, and gothic realms, all while being true to what it is. An under-the-radar gem.

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