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Somne's first release shows a lot of potential - 77%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, June 7th, 2013

So far the only release to their name, this self-titled (I presume) demo from Somne is a mostly raw and primitive black metal affair. For something so lo-fi though, the production is not bad, allowing listeners to note the space behind and within tracks and giving the music a near-3D feel.

The first track begins very strongly with storming noise guitar and scraping metal-spade noises. The vocals are stretched ragged and thin with an echo that gives them an extra-throaty ghost quality. They give the impression of being female vocals although the person on voice duty is actually male. Although there are no really distinctive riffs in the music and the lead element is voice, the track has plenty of energy and aggression to spare.

Second track is surprisingly melodic post-metal in its introduction which is fairly long. The main body of the song pounces with renewed anger: buzzing guitar and programmed percussion set the scene for a loop of crashing machine ambience and even more wraith-like howling voices. There are definite riffs present though they are overlaid by a robust set of drumming and vocals strongly dipped in reverb. The song is a long one and flags a bit in parts as it's essentially unvarying but the musicians keep their eye on the goal ahead and the track holds together well.

Again the creaking voices command attention on the third track which is more relaxed in pace than the previous two. Raining acid guitar textures, behind which vibrato guitar riffs can just be heard, are continuous and provide a counterpoint to the sharp vocals. Of the three tracks here, this has a very definite identity with its easy rhythm and distinct repeating riff and is easily the best piece. Later in the song, melodic post-metal blend with raw BM to take the music to a climax.

If this demo is representative of Somne's talent and ambitions, the duo has great potential to be one of Britain's best black metal acts. There is a strong and distinctive style and the musicians back it up with elements drawn from different genres: post-metal, raw BM, some industrial. The playing is consistent across the three tracks and the guys are comfortable playing a long, fairly tight and mostly cohesive song. The guys will need to vary the singing as the vocal can be thin and sometimes gets a bit lost in the music. Overall, this is a very good demo that shows a lot of promise so let's hope Somne will release more original music soon.

Promising Start - 85%

Annihislater, February 19th, 2012

From the north west of England, Somne are a two piece black metal project featuring the illusively named A and T. T handles the musical side of it, with A providing vocals and lyrics. Initially offered as a free download and later made available physically, this demo whilst a bit rough around the edges, shows a lot of promise from this duo.

The Production is very murky and lo-fi, reminiscent of the typical blazebirth hall production at times. There's a definite Walknut vibe on this demo, and the roles of the two in the band even mirror those of Gorruth and Stringsskald (with the exception A does vocal's in addition to lyrics.)

The riffs often remind me of Branikald, both in melody and texture. They are melodic and utilise repetition well with enough variation to avoid getting stagnant. The use of synth is minimal, but driving. Often padding out the texture and atmosphere with slow but purposeful chords. The only time it becomes overly noticeable is in the latter half of the final track where it rises majestically soaring over the music to elevate the music to a new level.

One minor issue with it is the use of a drum machine. I think it could have perhaps done with a bit more by way of production, maybe a little more reverb and bring them up in the mix, and perhaps a bit more work on getting it to sound natural, it sounds a bit too quantized and the velocity doesn't seem to alter much. It doesn't take away from the music in anyway, but it doesn't stand out either.

The vocals are nice and raw, and fit the music wonderfully. They are mixed nicely so they sit in the mix rather than sounding like someone just recording vocals over the top of a song, which is a crime a lot of black metal demo's are guilty of. There's a rawness and a fury to the vocals, and even a feeling of anguish drawing comparisons with what's come to be known as DSBM. I think the production is fantastic too, it makes them sound almost otherworldly at times with the appropriate use of reverb, and not having them clip like hell when recording. Raw though they are, they are still well produced if that doesn't seem too big a contradiction.

In summery, a fantastic first effort from the pair, whilst it isn't completely without fault, the future looks bright (or should that be dark) for them. Definitely recommended if you like atmospheric black metal, DSBM or the bands from the Blazebirth Hall Scene.