Monday, December 5, 2011

Sonne Adam- Transformation(2011)

Sonne Adam- Transformation

Like ritualistic chants from an ancient and powerful cult, Transformation comes from a dark, dark place. Pulsating with evil, thriving on blood sacrifice and devouring all hope and light in its path, Transformation is a truly atmospheric force of occult devastation. These Israeli's have created and album and crafted a sound which feels familiar without really emulating any Death Metal band before it. An album steeped in the old school yet fresh and modern feeling, Transformation is a rare album indeed, and one that delivers on multiple levels and through multiple listens.

No album I have heard this year would sound more appropriate during a reading of Satanic Rites than Transformation. Everything about this album is meticulously designed to create an atmosphere of hatred and death, yet it never feels over-wrought or forced: the entire album is organic and powerful from the first note to the final, torturous moments and it never relents. It's easy to come up with a list of influences evident on this album: Incantation, Thergothon, disEMBOWELMENT, Autopsy, Morpheus Descends. Yet none of these disparate influences really describe what exactly Transformation sounds like, as Sonne Adam have developed a truly unique sound; one that invokes pure blackness and true Satanic worship. Even the song titles, such as brilliant tracks like "We Who Worship The Black" and "Take ME Back To Where I Belong" are crafted with the express purpose of layering as much blasphemy and demonic wrath on the listener as possible.

The fact that Sonne Adam have so easily evoke atmosphere without layering on tons of static or that Transformation doesn't sound like it was recorded under-water is what makes it so fucking impressive. Unlike say Portal or Ritual Necromancy, whose entire atmosphere comes from production and not composition, Sonne Adam create a suffocating and soul crushing atmosphere through song-writing and creative design, despite a strong and modern production(courtesy of Century Media no doubt). Transformation is far from clean, and there is no extra fluff or drum triggers, but the mix is even, all the instruments sound fantastic and the whole thing feels professional. Transformation proves that quality, atmospheric Death Metal can still be recorded in a studio, by bigger label professionals. The vocals are also a real treat: while pretty much just a mono-tone low growl, they are incredibly clear: unlike the vast majority of Death Metal vocalists, Dahan is easily the most understandable I have heard... well, ever. No doubt the professional production quality and perfect mix has something to do with this, but Dahan's pronunciation is pretty much perfect, and gives Dahan the vibe of a preacher, spreading his heretical word across the land.

And what heretical words indeed. It is rare for me to discuss lyrics in my reviews, mostly because they are not worth discussing. The vast majority of Death Metal vocalists have such trouble with pronunciation, and the production is often so uneven, they might as well be saying "RRRRRRRRRRRRRR" or "OOOOOOOHHHHHHHH". But with Transformation, Sonne Adam's brilliantly dark lyrics add another level to the listening experience. "Take Me Back To Where I Belong" features my personal favorite moment on the album(both musically and lyrically):

It's a day of celebration
Death erases all that was before
And those who fought for alternation
Be served as king before before their human forms
This is the time of procreation
And I shall teach the way of the Sadus god
All the cult is by my side
Together we shall rise to claim the throne

You can look forward to being able to clearly understand every single word, and it is a joy indeed to hear such well constructed and evil Death Metal poetry in all its unholy glory.

I have heaped a lot of praise on this album, and for good reason: Transformation is a masterpiece, a modern day Death Metal classic, deserving of all the accolades it might receive. No other Death Metal album this year has left such a permanent mark on me, or my listening rotation, than Transformation. This album also represents a greater purpose: that professionalism is not dead in Death Metal and that production does not have to be lo-fi and static choked to be atmospheric and demonic. Quit reading this review, and get this album. The dark Gods are calling to you. Answer them.

Rating: 10/10

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