Through Creation’s End
~reviewed by Matthew Heilma
For those metal fans out there that enjoy the more melodic side of Black Metal, Somnus is sure to please. Through Creation’s End is the sophomore release by this talented American outfit and much like they demonstrated on their debut release “Awakening The Crown,” Somnus continues to seamlessly weave aggressive black metal elements with enveloping melodic atmospherics. But unlike most bands, there sound is not fragmented and predictable because they don’t just simply have a fast metal part that suddenly gets slow and spooky, but rather, they manage to bring all of these elements together to create one dense and engrossing multi-layered sound. They are among some of the most musical metal acts around – perhaps not when it comes to technical prowess but the sound of this record is extremely rich and profoundly dynamic. It boasts a smooth and clear production, the instruments well-balanced in the mix and the vocals are audible regardless of what style they are delivered in. With the obvious exception of the live bonus track, the CD fails to capture the raw, whirlwind urgency of the band’s live performances, but if it did, perhaps fans would then complain that the sound of the CD isn’t as professional as it could be. It’s a polished production, which accentuates the band’s musicianship more so than their muscle.
Throughout the album’s seven new tracks, Somnus’ tight rhythm sections charge and gallop along, iced with Rhiannon’s cinematic orchestral synths and ghostly female vocals. The guitars are capable of full-throttle, tremolo picked assaults that fluidly segue into misty twin guitar harmonies, which entwine beautifully with buoyant keyboard passages. The ethereal synths linger while the guitars and drums pick up the pace, surging forward into dizzying blast beats – yet the aggression is nicely tempered by the presence synths. Sure, Somnus is not as sonically unrelenting as other ‘true Black Metal’ bands, nor are they quite as dark, but their music is infinitely more interesting, memorable, and emotionally affective. Somnus, in many respects, help remind folks like myself (that have long been disenchanted with the genre) that this kind of music can still be enjoyable and fulfilling.
Scott Hilberg’s vocals follow familiar formulas – gristled growls, raspy screams, and somber clean passages that merge with Rhiannon’s lucid operatic contributions. All things we have heard before, but when executed with the proper sincerity and passion, as Somnus clearly possess, these recognizable traits still manage to produce enjoyable and noteworthy effects. Occasionally the rallying spoken word parts are overdone, but this is, once again, an opus inspired by medieval fantasy and gothic mystique. And Somnus definitely succeed in spiriting their listeners to other worlds and times in a believable way.
Somnus is not your average run-of-the-mill dark metal band. They have a pleasant accessibility but an unmistakable rawness at the core of what they do. They explore the same subjects as other bands, but do so with a greater sense of imagination. They adhere to the imagery but do not hide behind it or let it eclipse their talent as musicians. And above all, their music is powerful, enjoyable, and sincere. As I have before, I highly recommend this band to fans of imaginative, melodic metal.
Somnus – Official Website:
Somnus – Mp3 Site:
Root Of All Evil Records: