Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sonne Adam - Transformation

OSDM is now officially a fad with major labels like Century Media signing bands of the style and promoting their music. So how does a commercial label handle such music? Surprisingly well if Israel's Sonne Adam are anything to go by.

Sonne Adam's debut Transformation released in April 2011 and I honestly hadn't heard much about it. I heard some skepticism from others when they learned who was producing the non-LP versions of the album, but not much other than that. Upon my first listen I noticed a few things. One that these guys have a unique sound, and two that the former means I can't rant about how they sound like Incantation in this review.

Despite being an old school death metal band first and foremost, there's a lot of doom in Sonne Adam's sound. The oddly dry, crunchy guitar tone combined with slow-paced doom structuring leads to some tracks that take a bit long to wind up. I'd argue that the guitar tone is almost sludgy but that might be taking it a bit far, and honestly I'm not a fan. The tone leaves a bit too much space making Transformation significantly less abrasive than its OSDM counterparts. It also doesn't leave much room for imagination, and Transformation is significantly less 'visual' than its peers like Disma if that makes any sense.There are a few effects on here which serve as an attempt at creating atmosphere to substitute for the lack of harshness, a light echo on the vocalist's delivery being the most noticeable. His delivery is otherwise relatively clean and it's surprisingly easy to make out the lyrics, especially on the more spacious tracks like "We Who Worship the Black."

The atmosphere on Transformation is much stronger than the questionable production. Sonne Adam's songwriting lends itself to interesting, swirling riffs which often devolve into the more cavernous doom sections. "Take Me Back to Where I Belong" is probably the most obvious example of this. Some of the more layered sections are my favorite and they seem to crop up more on the latter half of the album. "Shine" features some interesting tremolo subtleties while the title track's solo is best described as eerie, and the closer "Apocalypse" is almost Mithras-esque in the same regard. There's also a ritualistic sound present, but while other bands capitalize on it Sonne Adam seems to utilize it as more of a fleeting presence.

Something about Transformation just irks me though. Parts of it stick, and it isn't unmemorable, but I don't find it very satisfying. As a cohesive release Transformation is fine but individually a lot of tracks are lacking or littered with filler riffs, their fillerness exacerbated by the production. "Sonne Adam" is pretty boring until the latter half of the song, and "I Sing His Words" plods along with a degree of predictability. The most dull track on Transformation has to be "I Claim My Birth In Blood" though. Lame vocal whisper effects and snooze riffing make it easily the least interesting track. The album as a whole is enjoyable if hit or miss and definitely worth a listen though.

7.5 out of 10


1. We Who Worship the Black

2. I Sing His Words

3. Sonne Adam

4. Solitude in Death

5. Take Me Back to Where I Belong

6. Shine

7. I Claim My Birth in Blood

8. Transformation

9. Apocalypse

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