Album Review: DETHRONE THE SOVEREIGN Harbingers of Pestilence
I have no clue what is rumbling in the depths of Salt Lake City, but just last month I discovered the progcore group Machines of Man and now Dethrone the Sovereign from the Utah capital. While the former mentioned band held more in common with Between the Buried and Me, the latter ventures down the deathcore, djent, and tech-death routes instead quite impressively.
This five-piece act began back in 2008, which sounds like a lifetime ago, but the band's lineup transitioned many times through the process of a couple EPs and sharing the stage with legends like Unearth, Periphery, The Black Dahlia Murder, and much more. Heck, the band's name is inspired by lyrics from The Black Dahlia Murder's "Thy Horror Cosmic" off their 2006 Unhallowed record. At the current, the group consists of vocalist Jake Vancil, guitarist Nick Mason, keyboardist Jake Laskowski, bassist Allen Barkley, and drummer Derrik Schroeder for their debut LP, Harbingers of Pestilence, released via Famined Records.
During the first couple listens of the album, I noticed a glaring resemblance to The Discovery-era Born of Osiris on "Weavers of Illusion" and the title track with choppy rhythms, speedy sweeps, and electronics. While the group was somewhat consistent with that proggy deathcore style on a majority of the tracks, the band revealed more influences with time. For example, the album's opener, "Era of Deception Part I," had comparable qualities to The Faceless, Veil of Maya, or Beyond Creation's technical intensity and unpredictability. The sequel to the song carried a more calm and uplifting demeanor.
As the progressive heaviness continued at a striking pace, I was completely thrown off by an acoustic piece titled "Apostasy," which was significant in transitioning the vicious mood of "Torch of Prometheus" to the jazzy intro of "The Eternal Void." And sure, other proggy deathcore have ventured into classical acoustic territory, but Dethrone the Sovereign's execution and dabbling in flamenco felt genuinely professional for a debut. Lastly, "Perennial Eclipse" ended the LP on a very djenty, After the Burial-esque note.
What makes these tracks feel so compelling is each members various contributions. If my assumptions are correct, Vancil is not the only member providing vocals on these recordings with the others adding backing vocals and therefore more overall variety to the range. In the realm of death metal, a band can easily fall into the trap of creating music that seems repetitive due to the limiting nature of death growls, yet in the case of Dethrone the Sovereign, the songs don't possess such monotony as there is a spectrum of vocal delivery. This stays true for the musicians as well with their playing style spread across multiple subgenres.
In the end, Dethrone the Sovereign provides a substantial variety throughout the album. The compositions presented will satisfy fans across the board from tech-death and djent to proggy deathcore and electronic metalcore. There is not a single dull moment on Harbingers of Pestilence as the group's extreme palette represents true dynamism. With an identity that resembles a culmination of respectable and diverse bands active in the scene, this band could be the next The Faceless, Born of Osiris, or some middle ground between the two in regards to quality and popularity with an increase focus on innovation in future releases. I'd definitely have this band's name on your radar as they would fit perfectly on Summer Slaughter or other tours of the sort.