“Alchemical Warfare”

By Lord Randall

Returning with its all-important third album, Ireland’s DREAD SOVEREIGN have pushed past the redline on every element of its sound from the previous releases. Feeling as if 2020 was such an abysmal year it didn’t “deserve” "Alchemical Warfare", the trio intentionally held off until January to unleash unrighteous bloody Hades upon us all. 

And thus, after the seemingly obligatory intro, ‘She Wolves Of The Savage Season’, well…slowly arrives under pummel and plod. Mind you, this is no weakened, weary tread. Those familiar with Nemtheanga’s podcast know well that such words don’t seem in the bassist’s vocabulary. The real orgiastic thrill in the first 2 ½ minutes, though, is the searing solo work of Bones as the rhythm section (rounded out by Con Ri) obliterates beneath. I won’t describe ‘The Great Beast We Serve’ anymore than to say that when live music returns, this is the one that’ll get the bonfires stoked and claret flowing in the pit. 

‘Nature Is The Devil’s Church’ conjures MERCYFUL FATE, while ‘Her Master’s Voice’ tosses more than a fair bit of NAZARETH / URIAH HEEP into the concoction, Nemtheanga giving it his best Dan McCafferty (which, turns out, is pretty damned spot-on). One of the shorter numbers found on offer, ‘Devil’s Bane’ is the sound of a band enjoying itself to the utmost, a contagious energy that carries to the listener, if said listener’s paying attention whatsoever. 

DREAD SOVEREIGN knows itself well, nearly a decade and into the war, members’ pedigree aside, also knows what it is not, able to fill 8+ minutes of space with music/lyrics that hold interest regularly, as well as blast through a VENOM-ous (see what I did there?) ‘You Don’t Move Me (I Don’t Give A Fuck)’ to put that last bit of acid into this "Alchemical Warfare". (This is a cover of a very early BATHORY track--Encyclopedic Mality)