Israel is a weird scene. Actually, a lot like the South African scene that we’ve done quite a few reviews of here on Angry Metal Guy, it feels like the Israeli scene is another one of those scenes that lacks a cohesive sound. Having produced Orphaned Land and Winterhorde as well as the much darker Salem, the bands and music doesn’t seem to have coalesced around a specific regionalized ‘sound.’ Sonne Adam shows that this is definitely the case, as they produce dark, atmospheric doom and old school death metal. To be frank, I’m fucking astounded that this record is coming out on Century Media at all. There is nothing even remotely commercial about Sonne Adam. Though, I guess the same is true of label mates Triptykon.
What do I mean by that? Well, Transformation, similar to Triptykon‘s Eparistera Daimones, is deathy or grindy doom. This record is crunchy, old school death metal with drums and rapsy vocals that sound like they were recorded in a metal nuclear fall out shelter or something. Everything is just laced with tinny reverb and the guitars have a thick, ugly tone. I’m not sure what these guys are tuned to, but if this isn’t 7 strings downtuned, then they’ve done a fantastic job of making everything as thick and sticky as possible here.
And the tracks contained within aren’t immediately catchy, but they burrow in under your skin like some kind of alien insect and get into your system and once you’ve let that happen, it’s hard to stop listening. “We Who Worship the Black” starts off the record on such a note, with a riff that screams Morbid Angel circa Covenant and is quickly followed up by “I Sing His Words,” another track of pure fucking evil that pummels away at the listener with thick, heavy drums that sound acoustic (but the bass drums might be replaced) a wandering melody that is remarkably sticky in spite of its presentation.
Despite the doomy approach, however, they don’t write long songs. The final track “Apocalypse” is the longest at 5:57 and it also sports possibly one of the coolest riffs on the whole record before falling into characteristic trem picking that is reminiscent of early Norwegian black metal bands. However, shortly after they jump back into the old school death metal riffing. But the whole record is like this; remarkably old school, at the same time feeling almost like ‘blackened’ death metal, laced with blasting and trem picking and lyrics that reek of evil. And it’s hard, despite there being similarities to bands here and there, to make strong comparisons without feeling like it does Sonne Adam a disfavor.
All of that said, this stuff is hard for me at times. I have to be in a very specific moment to really get into this, and while I can appreciate that this is well done I’m not really sure that it’s going to stick with me for too long or end up on my end of year list or anything. So, let’s say this. If what you’re into is atmospheric, doomy death metal then Transformation is for you. These guys will get under the skin of fans of drone and crust, as well because the music is evil, it’s crusty and it’s raw. Like I said, that this is even on Century Media just blows me away because these guys can’t have a high profit margin, but good on them for signing something really heavy and that feels extreme. Sonne Adam will appeal to fans of Hooded Menace, Triptykon, old Morbid Angel or well anything atmospheric, riffy, and slow.