Having shared stages with the likes of Loathe, Palm Reader and Heriot while gaining a reputation for an intense volatile live set Sobriquet have sharpened their collective blades at the grindstone having forged their sound with 2017’s “Akeldama” and 2020’s “A Hundred Thousand Tongues“. The Sheffield based quintet comprising vocalist Ludovico Fahey, guitarist duo Tom Green-Morgan and Jake Askew alongside a rhythm section of Michael Chilton on bass and James Turner on drums have long rooted their sound in late 90’s hardcore with influences from cult film but when it came to writing their third record in isolation, there were seemingly no end of challenges. So focused on ensuring that they got this one right, the story goes that they wrote a whole entire other EP before scrapping it and using “Death of the Author” as the benchmark for new writings. Recorded with Lewis Johns at The Ranch (Employed To Serve, Bailer) the EP that runs on a theme of metamorphosis, from doubt and frustration through newfound passion to the journey of enlightenment as the reason for living reveals itself…
The concept of the EP makes “Apotheosis” a thinking mans record but the beauty of it is that it is there if you want to dive into it but its by no means a requirement. Opening cut “Death Of The Author” sets the tone, a high energy split personality of a cut that seamlessly blends the power of Hardcore with the emotive qualities of Post-Hardcore. The result of that is you get powerful bursts of violent turbulent energy with powerful uncleans and driving rhythms that switch to sing-a-long clean vocals and melodic guitars, all held together by clever musicianship and tempo changes. What works well is the decision to cross over the styles so you get moments of melodic guitar with unclean vocal and vice versa, the darkness of the lyrical narrative evident in the passion and emotion of the vocal performance. A shade heavier “Grief Seed” has the same contrasting moments within its style while having a couple of powerful breakdown sections that really bring it home, the balance in the mix from Johns being key to ensuring there is no clash between the elements of this storming performance. There are a couple of minor diction issues with Fahey having a couple of nasal moments in transition, however those grow on you with each repeated listen because the music is so captivating that it carries you away in the tide of emotion as Fahey shares his thoughts.
The darkness unfolds still further with “The Dark, The Light, The Void“, an instrumental of aching beauty and the band are accompanied by icy piano moments that add a touch of melancholia and flow along similar lines to recent offerings by The Hope Burden. The difference here being that rather than remaining trapped within a World of despair and self doubt, the protagonist in this collection of tales told in the first person is on a journey to enlightenment. Then comes the records biggest surprise in “Divine” which is a violent rampage designed for the mosh pit with brutal breakdowns, bursts of Black Metal blast beats and throat shredding uncleans… while at the same time still having some almost choral clean vocals with an ethereal quality and a sing-a-long chorus all rammed into 143 seconds of complete and utter madness. It’s a stone cold winner with a brilliantly schizophrenic quality to it, the music mimicking the turbulence of the lyrics perfectly and while almost double the length, “The Tower” repeats the same heavier style just in a more drawn out fashion. An EP that has to be listened to in full “Apotheosis“, marks the definitive chapter of Sobriquet while at the same time confirming there is plenty of life in the Post-Hardcore genre in 2022… [7.5/10]
Death Of The Author
The Dark, The Light, The Void
“Apotheosis” by Sobriquet is out 2nd September 2022