SODB – Don Seantalamh a Chuid Féin 12”

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Sodb review (from www.metalireland.com) If you have been keeping a weather eye on our tiny black metal scene of late you will no doubt be aware of the name Sodb (pronounce Sod-uv). Well it does fairly stick out, doesn’t it? The band have just released their first demo tape, and it’s damn good. ‘Don Seantalamh…’ opens up with a brief snarling incantation before ripping head-first into a berzerker attack that brings to mind the recent(ish) surge of Scandinavian orthodoxy. Fast and chaotic yet utterly precise, its first half is a rush of pure spite that will leave your head boggled and sore. A midpoint reprieve of brittle guitar tinkering gradually swells back into a more panoramic ending, the band casting an eye back on the wreckage they have created. It’s a hell of an opener and it sets the tone nicely for what is to follow. One of the absolute highlights, ‘Don Seantalamh a Chuid Féin’, is up next and drops the gears a few notches allowing the fantastic and creative basswork to take center stage, positioning their sound somewhere between the vast scope of Altar of Plagues (with whom they share a drummer) and Black Twilight Circle oddballs, Arizmenda. An otherwise standard enough post-black metal open-chord workout is elevated to a whole new level of sophistication with that playful, roving bass line meandering in and out, providing a supple and addictive groove. It’s exciting to see a band show this level of panache and confidence so early in their existence, and hints at greater things in future. Thematically we are buried deep in the world of ancient Irish folklore and myths but they have it down to a fine art, songwriter E’en O’Loingsigh’s background in Irish lore really providing depth and colour to the songs. The lyrics are finely crafted, weaving the Irish language, ancient native poetry and English into a dazzling tapestry that creates a whole world in and of itself. Most impressive. ‘Old and Withered Form’ buzzes to life with a simple Burzum style riff that picks up where ‘Don Seantalamh…’ leaves off but grows into something slightly more complex. The tempo shifts and subtly changes throughout with the guitars coiling around each other like vines. It’s a good song but probably has the least to offer in terms of surprises. It does highlight the excellent production, though, and that deserves a mention. The recording is clear and powerful, raw yet robust and really invigorates the songs. From the wall of sound approach of the opener to the more subdued moments dotted throughout, it never takes its eye off the ball, allowing each instrument ample space to breath. The entire demo is of a high standard on all fronts but the grand finalé, the brilliantly named ‘Tethered to Braying Beasts’, stands out as a particular highlight. Really, that is such a cool name for a song and it is backed up by some equally fantastic music. Sprawling and vast, it brings to mind Primordial at their most triumphant. And then there is the mid-section that strips everything down to the bare bones, the drums and bass holding the structure while the guitars provide a delicate, clean melody that is topped by my favourite vocal part on the entire record. O’Loingsigh’s spoken words, delivered with a thick Dublin accent sound so honest and raw, adding a parochial aspect to the song that ironically makes it sound more worldly and gives the band a geographical context that just makes perfect sense. I really hope the band play around more with the vocals in the future as it might help set them apart in a scene that is pretty densely populated. This is a hugely satisfying listen from start to finish and will turn a few heads, I’m sure. Personally I find it pretty intoxicating and have listened to it a few times a day for the past week or more and find new hidden details to enjoy with each spin. It may also be interesting to note that most of the guys and gals here hail from the hardcore punk scene, much like the excellent Fuil na Seanchoille, but maybe that’s a story best left for another day. Whatever way you care to slice it, it gets the seal of approval.