Sonne Adam - Transformation
Century Media
Death Metal
9 songs (41:47)
Release year: 2011
Century Media
Reviewed by Goat

Well, here’s a band that I never expected to see on Century Media, playing the sort of music that normally comes out on much more underground labels. Hailing from Israel, Sonne Adam (‘hater of man’) are determinedly old-school in outlook and sound, somewhere between Darkthrone’s first album and Asphyx in their atmospheric crawling Death Metal. Stylistically shuddering and haunted, twisted and perversely otherworldly, Sonne Adam are onto a good thing here, and they know it. Opener We Who Worship The Black slithers into view, Doom riffs slowly and almost majestically ringing out before an undignified shuffling gallop begins, distant guitar lines curving out and away from the listener like the pathway on that eerie artwork. In some ways this is Black Metal in its effect on you, even as unmistakeably Death Metal as it is in practise. Take I Sing His Words’ bassy Swedish rumble as another example, complete with strangely melodic soloing – very dark, but never less than Death Metal to the core as the discernable Bolt Thrower foundation proves.

What’s particularly stunning is that this is the kind of Death Metal rarely heard in these modern times where Melodeath glitz and Deathcore glamour are the rule rather than the exception, and as a result it really touches something primordial in you. We Death Metalheads have forgotten the primordial swamps from whence our genre first stepped, dripping ooze and wincing at the sun, and even with as relatively clean a production as Transformation has, the memory of what it used to be is still very clear. Such unsettling reminders are littered over the album, the strange trumpeting that opens Solitude In Death and the crackling flames and almost Blut Aus Nordian discord of the title track especially effective.

It’s not quite as perfect as it should be, however, Take Me Back To Where I Belong and Apocalypse proving that even this band aren’t completely immune to the siren call of technicality. Yet the twisted soloing on the latter more than redeems it, more 'wrong' than many a Black Metal band can claim to be. Sonne Adam really are at their best, though, when relentless in pursuit of darkness, as the sickening speed shifts of Shine proves, and the all-out-attack that opens I Claim My Birth In Blood, like some strange version of Amon Amarth from an alternate universe, built around genuine malice rather than plastic axes. Death Metal is as capable as any other genre of stepping away from its boundaries and creating something special – Sonne Adam have very nearly managed it here. I think their follow-up to this will be the bleak esoteric masterpiece that Transformation wants to be, yet no old-schooler will be displeased by the black spell woven here. Recommended.

Killing Songs :
We Who Worship The Black, I Sing His Words, Sonne Adam, Shine, I Claim My Birth In Blood, Transformation
Goat quoted 81 / 100
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