ATREXIAL – Souverain
"Souverain" mixes and blends different elements and traits from (experimental) black metal, death metal, and dark ambient to great effect. The songs are raging and rumbling monsters that come across as crushing and deeply unsettling one moment only to break down into mellow and morose parts consisting of clean guitars or synthesizers the next. You never know what is lurking in the sickening fog ahead when it comes to "Souverain". In other words, this record is a highly varied and dynamic affair that never loses its focus or intensity. These fuckers vary the tempo too, which entails that the tracks sound anything but one-dimensional or linear. Awesome stuff!
One of the strong points of this release is definitely the melodies. Not only do they range from majestic to creepy, but many of them are utterly catchy and even hummable. Despite the many changes and shifts within the each tune, there is a red thread running through everyone of them as well as through the album as a whole. There is something structured and disciplined about "Souverain" that appeals to me greatly, but at the same time it is edgy and unpredictable, which is brilliant. Needless to say, I love the fact that one is constantly in for a surprise when listening to the album, but I also dig the fact that the members of Atrexial have managed to come up with something original and personal that reeks of passion and emotion.
The album may be a little hard to take in and absorb at first, but it is one of those great records that simply require time and patience on the part of the listener. The production is stellar and the musicianship is superb, so there is very little not to love about this disc. If you are on the lookout for atmospheric and/or occult black/death metal with a wicked and slightly modern twist to it, "Souverain" is the answer to your foul prayers. Definitely one to get a hold of!