Dread Sovereign: All Hell's Martyrs

Primordial frontman seals his doom

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The promise hinted at with last year’s Pray To The Devil In Man EP has come to fruition. 'Epic' is a much overused hyperbole these days (four pints in a Wetherspoon’s is not epic!) but Ireland’s Primordial certainly fit the bill, and singer Alan Nemtheanga brings the same sense of drama and grandeur that makes them, and indeed Dread Sovereign, so spellbinding.

One of metal’s most captivating frontmen has done it again, this time with Primordial drummer Sol Dubh and Zom/Wizards Of Firetop Mountain man Bones in tow to provide some serious classy heavy metal. Billed as a mix of Cirith Ungol, Venom and Saint Vitus, All Hell’s Martyrs’ arcane grooves evoke the spirit of Candlemass’s forgotten doom classic From The 13th Sun, as well the epic majesty of early Solitude Aeternus, all the while maintaining a strong identity all their own.

Boasting a massive production that is warm and organic without surrendering to faux retro fuzz, this an assured record that belies its debut status. Ambient horror soundtrack segments like The Devil’s Venom segue into colossal slabs of doom-laden riffing, while sharing Hour Of 13’s knack for making misery memorable. Cathars To Their Doom may well be the doom anthem of 2014.