Sonus Mortis – Propaganda Dream Sequence

If the catacomb moniker and some biographical references seem to direct Sonus Mortis towards death doom territories, it is enough, after a quick look at the futuristic cover, to listen to the first notes of the opener The Cyber Construct to understand that we will be immersed in a surprising and, at times, even exciting symphonic industrial doom. Kevin Byrne, known until today to be the bassist of the Irish melodic deathsters Valediction, proves to be a musician of unexpected depth and, doing everything by himself, shoots over an hour of music capable of grafting on a mood tending to melancholy influences of seminal bands such as the last Samael (especially), Nine Inch Nails and Fear Factory, adding that pinch of Devin Townsend’s madness, the creative vis of the magnificent American Mechina and orchestrations that recall the most recent works of Septicflesh. The death doom, if we want, we can find it in the hood of darkness that all in all hovers constantly on a work perhaps a bit too long for a genre that, with its rhythmic squares, a growl often filtered and frequent symphonic incursions sometimes puts a strain on the ear buds of the listener. Minimal defect, if compared to the ability of Kevin in building songs full of melodic ideas never trivial, which reach the heights of excellence in the aforementioned The Cyber Construct, in the central double composed by the hallucinated The Flock Obscenity and the solemn Automated Future, in the symphonic crescendo of the title track but, but above all in the engaging lyricism of Decompression Countdown, where the rhythms slow down and the sounds are enveloped by a dramatic aura, and in the kaleidoscopic Scolecophagous, a track that admirably manages to blend all the sources the musician has drawn on to compose his work. The Ephemeral Sempiternity Of Time closes in the best way a work that in its descending phase takes on darker tones, but that never loses sight of the balance between the aggressive and the more melodic parts. The CD version also includes two bonus tracks, the last of which is a cover of Marlyn Manson’s Valentines Day: both tracks are certainly successful, but in the end, they add nothing to the value of Propaganda Dream Sequence, and in some ways they risk being counterproductive by further lengthening the duration of a work that, as mentioned, already stands at sixty minutes. It’s no bad thing, though, when an album manages to be so intense, rich and anything but predictable, straddling different musical styles but blended with disarming naturalness by a musician new to these stages like Kevin Byrne. Sonus Mortis is the umpteenth exciting discovery in an underground metal that churns out a continuous stream of self-productions of absolute level like this one, which, if it ended up in the wise hands of the major labels in the sector, could also achieve an unexpected commercial success.

2014 – Independent