Review 1935 : Sonus Mortis – Of Red Barren Earth – English

Sonus Mortis has been making music for ten years.

Created in Ireland by Kevin Byrne (all instruments/vocals, ex-Valediction), the project releases albums on a regular basis. Of Red Barren Earth, his seventh, was released in 2023.

From the very first seconds, Among The Marrow And The Machines unveils a rich sound with carefully crafted orchestrations that skilfully enhance the musician’s heavy yet hypnotic riffs. The arrival of vocals also reinforces the contrast between the elements, making them almost complementary, like the eerie leads that hover as we lead into The Elimination Of The Archaic, a more energetic composition whose keyboards add an ominous touch. Screams are complemented by some softer backing vocals, which perfectly fit with the more haunting parts, which are easily strengthened before Overwhelming Mass softens the atmosphere, giving the screams a darker dimension. The track is quite short, but it allows us a moment of floating between leads before Then There Was Silence From The World places its heavy riffs while howls rage between the various orchestrations. The choirs come in again towards the end of the track, making it more theatrical before the final break followed by its heady melodies, then Of Red Barren Earth unveils slower and above all, more disquieting sounds. The superimposition of voices makes the track as surprising as it is fascinating, but it also suddenly grows stronger, becoming majestic and impressive before giving way to Harbinger Of Doom, a short but intense track which develops a jerky rhythm to support its aggressive tones, without denying the more melodic passages. Reality, Our Collective Destroyer revives its slow riffs to draw us into its dissonant slumber before making it thicker, then it’s with almost joyous tones that The Threads Of Life, the last track, begins but darkness is never far away and it won’t be long before it invades the weighing riffs, which finally explode to close the album.

Sonus Mortis handles haunting riffs as well as orchestrations or more virulent parts, making Of Red Barren Earth a highly rhythmic and diverse album. Its creator deserves some rest after such an album.


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