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Underrated doom debut - 79%

stefan86, October 10th, 2018

There are many criminally underrated bands in the death/doom metal genre, and Somnent is certainly one of them. This is the U.S. one-man project’s first full-length album. It sounds more like a seasoned act, both in terms of songwriting and presentation. Despite only having one album out at this point, I’m genuinely surprised that more people don’t know Somnent. Somnent’s sound is a mix of familar death/doom tactics and nods to lighter, gothic music.

“Sojourn” starts out in a gothic doom metal fashion with the gloomy, melodic title track before heading into heavier territory with “Deceit”. “Sojourn” features lighter vocals, both male and female, while the latter song focuses on the growls. Both sides of Somnent’s musical palette are highly melodic. Tasteful extra experimentation often lingers beyond the wall of rhythm, lead and clean guitars.

The band’s tempo and composition style is often comparable to Sweden’s Draconian and Finland’s Swallow the Sun. Big power chords are accompanied by melodic leads and atmospheric clean guitars. The flow and attention to detail are two of Somnent’s biggest strengths. It’s just all very maturely assembled.

The skillful songwriting and guitar layers allow the vocals to deliver the emotion and hooks. Vocals and lyrics remind me of fellow U.S. doomsters Daylight Dies a bit, portraying heartfelt tales of sorrow and loss. Somnent main-man Giovanni has a very good growling voice. It’s deep, well-enunciated and he really sings it like means it. His understated clean vocals provide a dynamic counterpart to the powerful growls. As I said earlier, there are also female vocals present on some of the songs.

“Sojourn Part II” is the album’s ballad, and it’s a nice nod to newer Katatonia. I love the acoustic guitars and subtle lead melodies. Even though it’s more than a little similar to Katatonia songs like “Omerta” and “Idle Blood”, I’d like them to explore this direction more. It fits these type of bands so well when they go light. It’s also a very good way to increase the album’s longetivity.

“Sojourn” also has a very good production. Everything is audible and packs a solid extreme punch when needed. It’s one of the many things that makes “Sojourn” sound like it’s not a debut album.

A review isn’t a review without some criticism, or at least trying to find some. There isn’t much negative to say about “Sojourn”. These are great songs in a music style I really enjoy. Maybe the one thing I could say is that it gets a bit comfortable in familar death/doom patterns. It’s forgivable, because this is still only the debut album. I’d love to see them explore a more eclectic style, infusing some of the post rock, progressive and alternative “Sojourn Part II” is flirting with. I’m sure it could enrich the Somnent sound a lot.

Genre faithfulness aside, Somnent’s “Sojourn” is a very good death/doom metal album. This band deserves more attention. It will come in the future, because I’m sure that the band’s masterpiece is yet to come.

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