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Sojourner - Premonitions (2020) - Review

Band: Sojourner
Album title: Premonitions
Release date: 8 May 2020
Label: Napalm Records
Genre: Atmospheric Black/Folk Metal

Tracklist:
01. The Monolith
02. Eulogy For The Lost   
03. The Apocalyptic Theater
04. Talas
05. Fatal Frame
06. The Deluge
07. Atonement
08. The Event Horizon

Quite often beautiful music comes in a form that is reserved for some other kind. Extreme music is not really a thing for sounds that can make your emotions bleed, to make tears fill your eyes or to make the heart beat stronger and your screaming soul full of passion. Yes, the ensemble named Sojourner, whose members come from different parts of the world, Sweden, New Zealand, Italy and Scotland, are doing just that. And even though that it's way too early to talk about the best album of the year, Sojourner's Premonitions is a strong candidate to take the title. It's not so often that we hear such a perfect symbiosis of emotions, technical splendour, atmosphere, power, enviable pathos, melody, and true songwriting majesty that shines in every single tone and line of this musical adventure.

Sojourner already garnered a lot of devoted fans and validity for themselves in the metal underground with their previous two albums, Empires Of Ash (2016) and The Shadowed Road (2018). It was obvious that such a talented band will not go by unrecognized by bigger labels and here they are now signed to Napalm Records, with a new album, with a huge sonic performance and they do offer a lot. If their sound in the past was mainly based on folk and black metal, now the things are a bit different, ok, everything is still there, but it seems way more compact, nothing is really misplaced, the new Sojourner are delivering one of the most intriguing breeds of atmospheric black metal with implemented folk, ambient, delicate gothic, doom, symphonic and even death metal elements. All this makes their music extremely dynamic, and at the same time, even though that some of the influences are evident, their sound has that trademark vibe that can't be misidentified with any other band out there.

It's trully majestic, from the first notes of "The Monolith" on. Such a captivating deeply melancholic epic music with dense atmosphere, yet with well balanced wide range of melodies and rhythms merge together into a desolated, yet captivating soundscape of expressive harmony. Sojourner became more complex, sometimes also violent, they touch broader musical territory. The devastating thick assault of often catchy guitar riffs is in perfect symbiosis with thunderous rhythms, but everything sounds bittersweet when Mike and Chloe spoil us with those majestic melodies and impressive leads. The atmosphere is very deep throughout the record, and intensified with dark symphonic synths, tin whistle and piano, just hear how perfectly is everything working out on "Eulogy For The Lost" for example.

Harsh vocals by Emilio and clean ethereal emotive female vocals by Chloe are in such a magical balance that makes your heart and mind scream of joy, the evocative and brooding epic dark ballad "Talas", unfortunately too short in my opinion, is an example of all this and yet it shows how the song can be emotional, dramatic, dark and at the same time very powerful. It's impossible to point out at any song and say that this one is the best, every single tune has something special in it. Sojourner captivate the listener with their mysterious, evocative and capricious spirit of unexplored wilderness. For sure that the Scandinavian extreme metal had its impact on the music of Sojourner, but as well the nordic folk, world music, the epicness of acts such as Summoning and Caladan Brood, and much more, and yet at the same time it really doesn't matter.

The darkness of "The Deluge" or the grandiose moments in the closing "The Event Horizon" just additionally show the masterful character of Premonitions. Those building up atmospheric tensions, contradictional interactions of beauty and aggression, of darkness and light, filled with exceptional melancholy, simply everything is there just to make those soundscapes offering a listener an unforgetable sonic adventure. It's simple, if you haven't yet, then sit back, put your headphones on and get yourself be taken away into the distant realms of musically unpredictable places. Since the members are quite young I expect in the coming years still a lot from them. Masterpiece!

Review written by: Tomaz
Rating: 9,5/10

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