Combine Steve Souza (ex vocalist for Exodus) and Jed Simon (guitarist for Strapping Young Lad), and you’re bound to get classic metal with a healthy dose of brutality edging into thrash and death. And in grand tradition, it’s taken 13 years for ideas to become what is TENET’s Sovereign.
Souza declares intentions with an immediate, bloodcurling yell heralding ‘Being and Nothingness’. He’s in top notch form, backed throughout by an onslaught of drums and shredding guitars that occasionally spring into rapid melodies. Salutes to the time signature change in ‘Indulge Me’s’ chorus which is reinforced by the staccato, vocal delivery. ‘Crown of Thorns’ increases the assault after which we’re giving breathing room with the more chugging rhythm of ‘Unnameable’. The latter fights for favourite position with it’ spoken, backing vocals and yells of ‘Liar’, something more sinister yet most accessible. Like much of the album, it is anger ripping towards the truth, an acceptance of what is, and standing strong atop it. ‘Take a Long Line’ furthers the cause with a catchy intro that’s repeated as the chorus. ‘Going Down’ lives up to its name with a slow, pondering, headbanging groove whilst ‘Hail Hail!’ screeches us back up to thrashiness, adding chants and a soaring guitar solo so that it’s ensured as one of the best here. Love the vocal outro. ‘Watching You Burn’ and ‘Sovereign’ are solid but don’t beat out other songs for top spot.
TENET’s Sovereign is heavy metal repackaged for the new generation. It may be short at 34 minutes but will be amongst your best 34 minutes this year. It doesn’t break new ground so it won’t be landmark but because of its very successful amalgamation of genres it’s bound to become an underground gem!