Opening with the darkly acoustic The Subtle Kiss Before The Slaughter, a track that wouldn't sound out of place on an Ambix record, Somnus serve up a platter of killer tracks that leave all and sundry no doubt that they are a band that means business. The subtle kiss of the opener soon gives way to Nothing Left But Ashes, a full on brutal assault on the ear drums that provides a perfect soundtrack for the social paranoia of a post 9/11 world. Vocalist James Matthew Wragg spits anger and rage not in a style not unlike Johnny Doom (of Doom / Police Bastard fame), but manages also to deliver some powerful melodic lines as well, without resorting to the cliched post emo vocalisations so beloved of so many of the modern metalcore wannabes.
And so it continues, Killer sees the rhythm section of Jason Cole and Joe Christmas, working up a righteous frenzy that perfectly counterpoints the angry vocals and venomous lyrics; The Stench of Deceit features some relentless riffage from Darren 'Baz' Barrett, has all the attack and brutality of American soldiers attending an Iraqi wedding and again some excellent lyrics and an incredible vocal performance from Mr Wragg. H.I.V. is a blindly fast paced, whiplash inducing thrash out with blast beats a-go-go, that stirs memories of the likes of Sore Throat and the aforementioned Amebix; whilst closer A Better Place - the albums true stand out track delivers all the above and once more contains some wonderfully biting and insightful lyrics. I mean any song that delivers the line '...suicidal monkeys on L.S.D.' has gotta be worth checking out.
In a time where the UK metal scene is awash with third rate metalcore bands with nothing to say, bands like Somnus stand head and shoulders above the rest and come as a real breath of fresh air. I really can't praise this band and this album highly enough. But don't take my world for it, Buy it, play it loud and love it forever.
For fans of... Doom, Anterior, Sore Throat, Amebix, Napalm Death, Carcass, etc...