Dread Sovereign “Alchemical Warfare” Review

Dread Sovereign
“Alchemical Warfare”
Metal Blade Records
Released: January 15, 2021

Ireland’s Dread Sovereign are poised to release their third album, Alchemical Warfare, later this month via Metal Blade Records

Originally a side-project that began in 2013, Dread Sovereign, the brainchild of Primordial frontman A.A Nemtheanga is now on its third chapter. 

Obviously, it goes without saying that when a frontman also sings for another band, that comparisons to the former group will surely be drawn. Which is a long winded way of saying that Dread Sovereign, at times, sound like an extension of Primordial. You see, both groups featuring the vocal snarl of one mister Nemtheanga. Some singers have and unmistakable uniqueness to their microphone approach, and that truth suits Nemtheanga like a fine tuxedo and top hat. Given that the vocals are the element of Primordial that I enjoy the most, you would assume that then, by default, I would also enjoy the music of Dread Sovereign – and you would be correct in that assumption – but for more than just the voice.

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You see, with Alchemical Warfare, Dread Sovereign have crafted nine fantastic tracks that lay somewhere between the late 80s Doom metal and early Black metal soundscapes of bands like Venom, Candlemass and Saint Vitus, with a more modern flair of artists like Primordial and Monolord. There are moments where the music is raw and filthy, and others where it is ripe with emotional dirges. Melody. Fist pumping sing-a-longs, such as on tracks like Her Master’s Voice. Try not to lean back and belt out what you don’t know will hurt you. I dare you.

Another thing that Dread Sovereign does exceptionally well, is craft solemn and broody interludes between certain tracks. Something that is oft overlooked these days. Spooky keys and crushing atmosphere. The way Viral Tomb bleeds into Devil’s Bane, for example, is an elevation of what is to come, and an element that more bands should explore. At times, like on Ruin Upon The Temple Mount, they use a slow burn approach. A slow riff that gradually builds up in speed and volume until the song bursts into flames. Melting that ear wax build-up within the listeners skull. Delectable. This is a punishing track, with a riffs heavier than a ships hull, and singing of pure witchery and sorcery that create a spellbound slab of blackened doom. Hence the name Alchemical Warfare I suppose. The clue was in the name all along.

Pre-orders are available from the Metal Blade Records webstore or through the groups bandcamp page. If it’s the vinyl version you’re seeking, act quick! They sell out fast. Especially when the record is this good.

For Fans Of: Cirith Ungol, Primordial, Saint Vitus
Track Listing:

01. A Curse On Men
02. She Wolves Of The Savage Season
03. The Great Beast We Serve
04. Nature Is The Devil’s Church
05. Her Master’s Voice
06. Viral Tomb
07. Devil’s Bane
08. Ruin Upon The Temple Mount
09. You Don’t Move Me (I Don’t Give A Fuck)