Irish trio Dread Sovereign's cobwebbed take on ancient doom harkens back to the oldest of the old gods—Venom, Celtic Frost, Saint Vitus, Cirith Ungol—who worshipped evil, decay, and human wretchedness instead of seeking answers from the occult (or at the tail end of a spliff). Their last record, All Hell's Martyrs, served as an introduction; now, with the imminent release of their second full-length, Dread Sovereign offer a warning.
For Doom the Bell Tolls is dark—immensely dark. The sound of church bells ring out, puncturing the murky, twilit atmosphere and punctuating the howling ripples of distorted riffs. Joined by drummer Johnny King (Malthusian, Sodb) and guitarist Bones (Wizards of Firetop Mountain), vocalist and bassist Nemtheanga (AKA Primordial's Alan Averill) lays aside his usually epic vocal stylings in favor of an eerie sort of ur-wail, a wavering cry that undulates through the sepulchral fog to bring tidings of doom. A perfectly grimy (and extremely fitting) Venom cover at the end sees them ramp up the sleaze in a gritted-teeth reminder that doom has always been dirty. Satan, laughing, spreads his wings.
As Averill told us, "Dread Sovereign is me stumbling around in the dark attic of my brain bumping into jagged and pointy objects in the murk… I'm not sure I can be bothered to open the curtains, I can see enough here to make out the four walls... It's doom with some filth and scum and rock 'n' roll and some early black metal boots to the temple. It's part freedom from my other musical adventures, where I can write, produce and be in control of the aesthetic. No aims, no goals, just that it exists and then see how it all falls. It's doom in the classic sense, not hippie occult witchy hocus pocus, but more cast in the blueprint of dark metal like Cirith Ungol, Candlemass or Celtic Frost."
Kim Kelly has known these mischievous lads for ages, and is doomed on Twitter.