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  • Sovereign - Neurotic (EP, 2020)

SOVEREIGN - Neurotic demo tape

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SOVEREIGN - "Neurotic demo"

Review from Grizzly Butts

Drastic, irrational, automatic and sustained reactions to the unnatural persistence of mankind are entirely rationalized when considering the overwhelmingly damned stimulus that consciousness provides. Dig up and unseal the pithos of Pandora, let fly sickness across an insane world, and allow death’s neuroses to reveal calm permanence through intensifying waves of morbid thrashing bliss. No greater force exists than that of death its supremacy cannot be achieved through music without reaching deep into the coffins of classic death/thrash metal — The only true path proves itself for the thousandth time by way of the daimon-guided hand(s) that’ve spawned the riffs conjured by way of Oslo, Norway death/thrash metal quartet Sovereign. The third wave cassette release for this first demo tape, ‘Neurotic’, is more than justified on this definitive but still limited edition hit of pure death-thrash worship.

Formed in 2018 between folks who have records by Nocturnal BreedThe Konsortium and Dødskvad under their belts, Sovereign provide urgent convulsive mania among nostalgic and/or long devout fans of late 80’s and early 90’s thrash metal of the extreme variety. Their first official demo (‘Sovereign‘, 2019) was initially released in incredibly limited numbers from the venerable Snake Oil Kassettforlag and later re-titled ‘Neurotic’ when reissued on its second run of a hundred tapes from the same limited run label; This third run from Redefining Darkness Records cranks out another hundred tapes for the North American audience and now includes their first single, “Iron Cast”, as a bonus track. What is all the fuss about? Pure death/thrash metal with some phenomenal riffcraft driving the ship.

Fans of Devastation‘s ‘Idolatry’ and its exacerbation of ‘Beneath the Remains’ and ‘Arise’-era Sepultura riffing will get a kick out of the pit-ready groove of opener “Immersed in Ashes” and certain refrains therein. The holy grail of pre-’89 Pestilence riffs (see: ‘The Penance‘) and the sort of crunched-out death/thrash riffing you’d expect from the finer releases from bands like Invocator and Agressor are a reasonable comparison for the three tracks that comprise the ‘Neurotic’ demo. The big song for my taste would be “Paroxysm of Madness”, a masterfully woven groove n’ grinder that’d grip and strangle the shit out of my blown mind for its resemblance of early Obliveon, particularly their highly evolved second album, ‘Nemesis’. The faster sections of ‘Neurotic’ otherwise never quite reach ‘Neverending Destiny’ levels of speed but they nonetheless come close in terms of intensity that fans of Fusa maniacs in Sepulcher and Kolbotn’s Nekromantheon will recognize immediately. This’d be enough for most folks to either sneer at or quickly grab the tape as their mouth begins to foam but, there is a surprising amount of depth and damage crammed into this relatively short demo beyond the fine taste in death/thrash metal traditions expressed within. It doesn’t need to be all that complicated a recommendation from this point. Sovereign‘s sound is a dry old soul of the highest order and their riffs are a revitalizing tonic for the death-thrasher brain, the appeal there is clear as day and I’ve probably listened to this damn thing a hundred times in three weeks. High recommendation.

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