Dread Sovereign – All Hell’s Martyrs

Alan Averill (Nemtheanga) doesn’t like to rest on his laurels. Despite the fact that the latest album of his Primordial is not very recent, he continues to tread the stages of half of Europe (only last February is the excellent performance at Rock’n’Roll in Romagnano Sesia) and, not content, proposes this doom project called Dread Sovereign, along with drummer Simon O’Laoghaire and guitarist Bones of the unknown Wizards of Firetop Mountain. Although not new to forays into the genre, after lending ten years ago his voice to the magnificent Human Antithesis of the Roman Void of Silence, simply label as doom this new adventure of Alan would not be correct: such definition is unexceptionable for tracks like Thirteen Clergy and Cthulhu Opiate Haze, in which the band appears as a version of The Wounded Kings with a male priestly voice instead of a female one, and for the first minutes of several other tracks in which the sound takes subsequently nuances that largely go beyond the schemes of doom music (the sulphurous rituality of the hallucinated Pray To The Devil In Man, the drifts almost in Paradise Lost style in the final parts of We Wield The Spear Of Longinus and Cathars To Their Doom). But these references, in the end, are manipulated and twisted by Alan with particularly poisonous tones and also unusual for his typical vocal range, resting on a musical carpet sufficiently dynamic but not easy to read. It must be said that a linear but effective rhythmic base, by the same Nemtheanga on bass and Sol Dubh, perfectly supports the guitar work of Bones, quite original and able to exhibit unusual sounds for the genre, sometimes showing a touch close to the dark wave of the eighties, as in the beautiful Scourging Iron; an aspect decidedly anomalous, and that many will not have escaped, is however the reiteration in different moments of the disc of the same guitar chords that prove, however, a useful artifice in providing the songs a rhythmic and a charm of its own. As you can guess, All Hell’s Martyrs is not a very easy work, so much so that I wouldn’t call it entirely suitable for the most traditional doom fans; here the ghosts of Sisters Of Mercy and Fields Of The Nephilim wander disturbingly among the scores of the work, giving it an aura in its own way unique: the final and long All Hell’s Martyrs, Transmissions From The Devil Star really seems a track played by the authors of Elizium in the grip of a sort of trip space gothic doom, with magnificent results. On the whole work, however, stands out unequivocal the unique voice for evocative capacity of Alan Averill that, without detracting from the excellent work of the musicians who have accompanied him in all his musical adventures, has always been the element capable of raising to excellence even records that with another singer would be considered good and nothing more. Dread Sovereign with this work partially repay those who had considered Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand a step below a masterpiece like To the Nameless Dead and, even if we are not talking about Primordial here, inevitably the fans of the historical Irish band will not miss the chance to appreciate the abundant hour of quality music contained in All Hell’s Martyrs.

2014 – Ván Records