Dubliner Kevin Byrne’s solo project, named Sonus Mortis, had been in 2014 one of those pleasant discoveries capable of changing for the better the mood of every all-round music fan. Propaganda Dream Sequence had highlighted a fresh and personal approach to extreme matter in its combination of symphonic elements, industrial drives and a death doom base, although, of course, by its nature Sonus Mortis‘ sound was slowed down only at times, often preferring more pounding rhythms. The following War Prophecy has then consolidated the level reached with the debut full length and, maintaining the cadence of one release per year, Kevin in 2016 has punctually offered to their fans this Hail The Tragedies Of Man. If we want, the only downside of hitting the first shot with a work of above average level, makes it more complex progression with subsequent works, but it is not even easy to maintain an equally high standard: the Irish musician succeeds this time thanks to a writing ability always effective and able to integrate a harsh sound with remarkable melodic cues. It remains to reiterate, for the use and consumption of those who wanted to approach the work of the good Byrne, the natural approaches with the last Samael and especially with Mechina (and consequently Fear Factory): in particular the parallelism with the creature of Joe Tiberi (who punctually published his probable new masterpiece in the first day of the year) appears the most interesting because of a similar path but that diverges substantially for the different musical background of the musicians involved. If on the other side of the ocean what comes to us is a storm of futuristic sounds, solemn and spatial, in the most authentic sense of the word, Sonus Mortis put in scene the more atmospheric side and, not by chance, most of the songs make use of slow incipit that prelude to as many sound explosions, alternating with brilliant atmospheric openings; In addition, it should be noted a wider use of clean vocals that prove to be quite effective in its alternation with the more usual filtered scream growl, although the good Kevin does not have a particularly wide vocal range. Hail The Tragedies Of Man shows a series of variations on the theme that make it interesting work at every juncture, in spite of its hour and more duration: in this regard, it’s enough to listen to two tracks that are contiguous in terms of placement in the setlist but very different in terms of approach, such as The Great Catholic Collapse, with its magnificent guitar progressions and a slower pace, and I See Humans But No Humanity, furious for the first half in its unwinding for over eight minutes (second in length only to the opener Chant Demigod) and then resting on a prolonged and vibrant solo.
It’s not talking about every song that you make the best service to Sonus Mortis: the listener prepared and attentive will feel the right pleasure penetrating with patience and curiosity in the music created by Kevin Byrne, ideal soundtrack of his apocalyptic visions. As for the already mentioned Mechina, I continue to be amazed that no label of international importance has not yet cast its gaze on Sonus Mortis: a pity, especially because the knowledge of realities of this thickness would deserve to be extended to an audience infinitely wider than what can produce a willing word of mouth on the web.
2016 – Independent