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Dread Sovereign - For Doom The Bell Tolls

Dread Sovereign - For Doom The Bell Tolls (Ván, 2017)

3 years after the storming debut, here is the second Dread Sovereign record. “For Doom The Bell Tolls” what an amazing album-title, right?

The record starts with the title-track, a short ambient piece with some temple bells, reminding me dark soundtracks. “Twelve Bells Toll in Salem”, the first metal track clocking at 13 minutes bringing the already known downtempo, keeping Alan’s crunching bass and his wailing vocals in front. Just like a super slowed Cirith Ungol, the song is written in barbaric, masculine but despairing doom metal style. Even if the music is based on the heavy bass and drum rhythms and the vocals of Alan, the magnificent guitarplaying of Bones is what gives this music a kick, his godly guitar takes the lead role in the second part of the song.

“This World is Doomed” starts with a basic staccato heavy metal riff reminiscent of both early Priest and “Children of the Grave” of Sabbath, but not for long time, because the band turns this riff into the swirling sea of Dread Sovereign, adding a very dark, atmospheric, almost tribal feeling to it. ThinLizzy-esque riffs around 2:00, again for not too long, because the doom apparatus turns all the influences into a monumental stirring cosmic soup.

Another haunting ambient piece in “Draped in Sepulchral Fog” and we arrive to the last song on the album. “The Spines of Saturn” starts very heavy, tribal and so oppressive that I could believe it’s a Neurosis song, but then turns into a spacy direction, with lot of psychedelia on the guitar, highly reverbed vocals from the background, taking us back to feeling of those fabulous Hawkwind records of the 70’s and ‘80s. No direct metal riffs, only hazy epileptic atmosphere, no choruses, sounds more like a trippy ride, a dark one. An excellent song, making me curious of the future direction of the band.

Then there’s a cover of the Venom classic “Live Like An Angel, Die Like A Devil”, a song the band played live on their tours and they achieved to add a sinister feeling to it.

I have mixed feelings about this record. After the epic debut, this new record sounds quite short. If I take away the 2 ambient pieces and the Venom cover, we have left 3 songs in 27 minutes. We have a long doom song, we have a more direct heavy metal one and a hazy trippy spacey rock song. I have no problems with any of the songs, and excuse my math, but I expected more. More songs, more minutes of music.  This “sounds” more like an EP with a few killer songs.

Although their influences are from the hazy ‘70s and the heroic ‘80s, Dread Sovereign is not about nostalgia. “For Doom The Bell Tolls” is a sharp, modern sounding creation. There is no (doom) metal band like Dread Sovereign, and I only pity the EP-sensation of this new record…

Rating: 8/10

Written by Rob

March 2017