Sojourner’s adventurous path to black metal expands, soars on third offering ‘Premonitions’

Photo by Katrina Watt

Taking a sweeping adventure to another place isn’t a bad idea at all with this week drawing to a close and things remaining status quo on the quarantine front. We’ve been trying to push the idea of escapism as being a helpful tool right now, that amid all the darkness and doom we’ve also served you up via the music we cover.

Atmospheric black metal band Sojourner have members spread out over multiple continents, but that distance hasn’t prevented them from making engaged and inventive music that takes folk-based and symphonic elements and bending them to their will. Their latest is “Premonitions,” an eight-track, nearly 57-minute opus that pushes their own boundaries further than ever before, adding plenty of colliding dark and light elements. The band–Emilio Crespo (vocals), Chloe Bray (vocals, guitars, tin whistle/piano), Mike Lamb (guitars, piano, synth/keyboards), Mike Wilson (bass), Riccardo Floridia (drums), and Scotty Lodge handles live bass–started off with Avantegarde Music for their first two records before jumping over the Napalm for this new one, so that should increase the number of people who hear this band and should fall right in with those who feast on their new label’s offerings.

S”The Monolith” starts the record amid keys falling and Bray’s singing unfurling as it takes to the air. The song opens fully by trudging as Crespo’s growls curdle and spread, as classic metal-style guitar work lights up and glows. Bray swings back into the chorus as whistles flutter, beauty and savagery clash, and the song boils out. “Eulogy for the Lost” has a lush start before guitars awaken, and the pace moves along in calculated manner. Growls scar while Bray enrichens the chorus, while woodwinds and keys mix together. Soloing explodes as the plying takes on more texture, and growls punch through, and the guitars rush back and forth over the end. “The Apocalyptic Theater” opens in synth fog as a proggy build takes over, and then things rip open completely, as deep growling and sweeping singing work together. Synth waves crash as the pace gets punchy, and Bray’s voice moves in and gives the ending a boost. “Talas” has keys dripping and Bay’s singing soaring as she takes the bulk of this song that has a murky ballad feel. “I hide in broken towers, but still it knows all that I’ve done,” she admits as the track plays out, and the power later kicks in with Crespo joining on screams. “No, I do not stand alone,” she declares as the song is whisked away by stormy keys.

“Fatal Frame” opens with flutes floating as things slowly bloom before the playing tears open and leaves blistering. This is the most savage cut on the record so far and signals that things get more furious from here. Demonic howls tears through before keys take over again, leading to a final surge that crashes out into calming flutes. “The Deluge” is aptly named as that’s what it feels like with its power coming down on you. Whirring keys give off a castle synth vibe, then the guitars begin to flicker and the playing rains down in glory. Growls smear over the verses, and the chorus is just huge with Bray calling, “These dreams came to nothing, they scatter on the wind”, filling your lungs, and then the pace stamps out again. The fiery assault continues from there as keys crush, and then the song ends in a haze. “Atonement” has flutes calling and synth swimming in dreams before the track gets into full gear. “You are not of this world, I banish you!” Crespo howls as the track keeps gaining intensity and fury. Fires are aggravated further as the growls crush, the keys swell, and the track heads out into the atmosphere. “The Event Horizon” closes the album by punching its way in, letting the leads generate heat and the growls pound flesh. Emotional melodies wrap this track in warmth as synth strings glaze, and then the earth quakes. Rousing clean group calls vibrate behind heavy growls and a charging assault, and then a space storm arrives, dragging everything with it to a world beyond our own.

Sojourner have put a lot of work into their sound and to getting as far as they have through their journey the last five years. “Premonitions” is full-bodied, crushing where it needs to be, oddly beautiful in other spots, and fully an immersive experience. This record is for those with a truly open mind to what they consider heavy, and if you’re up for the trip, you’re going to find a lot that’ll fill your brain and spark your imagination on this powerful record.

For more on the band, go here:

To buy the album (North America), go here:

Or here (World):

For more on the label, go here:

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