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Sojourner > Perennial > Reviews
Sojourner - Perennial

The beginning of a new chapter - 75%

Tomek8754, September 27th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, Digital, Napalm Records

Sojourner is one of the gems of melancholic black metal genre. This international collective has been active since 2015, and during that time they managed to release three extremely atmospheric albums, on which the darkness was illuminated by folk instruments and the wonderful voice of Chloe Bray. Unfortunately, in 2020 the singer left the ranks of the group, and soon her fate was shared by the longtime bassist: Mike Wilson. "Perennial" is therefore the beginning of a new chapter in the history of the project: for it is the first release with the new line-up. Has the magic remained?

EP "Perennial" is available both digitally and as a limited vinyl. It consists of two songs, which together last more than 12 minutes: the title track and "Relics of the Natural Realm". The former is a kind of introduction to the fans of the new singer, who became Lucia Amelia Emmanueli. Musically, there's no revolution here, because we get a little over 7 minutes of extremely atmospheric music, not afraid to touch the more sensitive strings, as well as to punch listener in the face within one composition. Strong black metal mixes here with more gothic, melancholic sounds, and to the guitars (what a beautiful work in the background!) can join the keyboards or flageolet. Emilio is flawless on vocals (his lines harmonize well with Mike Lamb's parts towards the end), while Chloe's successor... is just okay. The chorus presented by her is memorable and the more powerful ending makes an impression, but the verses alone could have been more intriguing.

On the other hand, I cannot complain about "Relics of the Natural Realm", being a direct continuation of the first number in Sojourner's history. "Heritage of the Natural Realm" was long, strong and elaborate, while the sequel is... its complete opposite: an extremely intimate, delicate piece, led mostly by keyboards. And although there is even a clean, male vocal, it is Lucia who rules and divides. The Italian singer is downright flawless: at times she charms with her dreamy voice, and at other times her surprisingly expressive vocals are reminiscent of Kate Bush. At the very end, "Relics of the Natural Realm" unexpectedly explodes with a black metal rumble, pulling the listener out of this land of gentleness. Emilio does his thing at the front, and Mike plays beautifully in the background. And when one wonders where we are about to go with the musicians, it all... ends unexpectedly. I don't know about you, but I demand a continuation!

"Perennial" is a successful bridge between what was and what is to come. There are clear references to the past, both musically (the beginning of the first track reminds me the beginning of the debut single) and lyrically. On the EP, nature takes back what was rightfully hers, allowing to create something new on the ruins of civilization. Sojourner leaves the old foundations (their style) and begins to build on them with a refreshed lineup. The design is intriguing. Let's hope the end result will be as stunning as Sojourner's previous works.

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