Sovereign Council – World on Fire (Self-Released)

Wednesday, 10th May 2023
Rating: 9 / 10

Kingston, Ontario’s Sovereign Council have developed their symphonic, progressive metal style over the last eleven years. They’ve released two full-lengths independently with 2013’s New Reign and 2015’s Laniakea – although it has now been eight years now between products as the latest EP World on Fire finally hits the streets. When a veteran group takes the time to refine songwriting while dealing with lineup changes, usually one can expect a finer outcome due to this detailed attention aspect. The family/spouse dynamic within the band (rhythm guitarist Chris Thompson and vocalist Lisa Thompson are cousins – lead guitarist/backup vocalist Joe Moon and Lisa are husband/wife) also strengthens the unity aspect for these five tracks.

There’s an immediacy to the power chord choices, tempo support, and melodic vocal resonance that’s palpable. You can feel the emotions penetrating the aural landscape right from the start through the opening title cut – Lisa possessing that uplifting register that traverses pop, rock, and symphonic metal angles. Even as the keyboards weave into the song structures, the heavier guitar tones get proper respect in the mix. The attack more aligned to artists like Kamelot and Evergrey within an alluring, mood shifting track like “The Wait”, Joe’s softer melodic moments vocally heightening the emotive lead break as another unique earworm next to Lisa’s supreme comfort zone during the main verses/chorus. The songwriting contains the necessary diversity to keep listener interest throughout – “Breathe You In” sitting more in that commercial, symphonic metal vein where artists like Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil garnered radio/video push. Drummer Brandon Schneider gets ample chance to showcase his powerful rhythmic chops in the double kick shapeshifting closer “Of the Ashes” – a bit more technical on the guitar side through some down picking choices without sacrificing the passionate vocal highs that deserve praise (and should go over tremendously live).

To me it’s shocking that most prominent labels into a powerful style of symphonic, progressive metal have not reached out to sign Sovereign Council. World on Fire contains all the ideal components in sound, songwriting, tones, and natural talent to be a great addition to any roster.

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