posted on 8/2009 By:
Much in the way that an Adam Sandler film will have the same cast of familiar and ugly characters, so too has Tenet. Hold on, Tenet? Some people will do anything for a good logo.
Initialized in 1996 by Jed Simon (SYL, Zimmers Hole), the project has been kept on the down low, biding its time for a free schedule to crop up. Eventually the time was made, and a deal with Century Media gave Simon the opportunity to finally work on the album along with bassist Byron Stroud (SYL, Zimmers Hole also) and drummer Adrian Erlandsson (half of the metal bands in the world). Geographical and commitment issues led to Simon replacing Erlandsson, playing it safe with his best buddy drummer, the man who makes it his business to be in the other half of all metal bands in the world – Gene Hoglan. Guitarist Glen Alvelais (ex-Forbidden) was pulled on board, along with Steve Souza on vocals, and the rest - as they say - can be found on Wikipedia. Wikipedia however, won't tell you what they sound like; that part I will have to do myself.
Sovereign is a pretty short and straight forward thrash album. As to be expected, the rhythm section is tight and ferocious like a virgin Velociraptor, keeping a fairly carnivorous pace throughout, slowing to a chug only for the lengthier “Going Down,” which is easily the low point of the thirty-four minutes. Guitars are just as well performed and produced, demonstrated by the introductory intricacies of “Hail Hail” from a couple of metal's most capable. Lead parts don't noticeably come as thick and fast as you might expect, but there are definitely a few interesting solo sections to get to grips with, such as the duplex lead sound on “Crown of Thorns.”
Tenet do have a certain style to their riffs that takes a few listens to appreciate, but on the whole their sound is not a million miles away from Zimmers Hole. Just like how Steve Souza's voice is not a million miles away from being totally unbearable.
It seems “Zetro” has taken the squeaks and peaks that poked through his relatively decent performance on Exodus's 2004 album Tempo of the Damned and nurtured them into a full on slithery gremlin scream that is a little hard to tolerate or take seriously. As much as this is probably an issue of personal taste, I've never met anyone that likes the taste of shit. No, internet video stars aren't people you meet.
Amongst this tasty little thimble of thrash lurks some pretty neat time signature curve-balls (see: chorus in “Indulge Me”) and some nice and necessary tempo changes, but whilst Souza's voice was ultimately chosen to polish those features off with a classic metal finish, I can't help but feel the sound has been dragged in the wrong direction by one corner leaving the overall shape a bit skewed and uneasy to look at. But if you are a little more primal about your thrash metal, Sovereign will probably tide you over well for the next month.
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