International black metal band Sojourner back with new faces, two jolting songs on ‘Perennial’

Photo by Heike Langhans

For the most part, we spend a lot of time with full-length albums and EPs, and rarely do we tackle anything smaller than that. There’s some logic behind it: There are just too many smaller releases like singles and whatnot that we can’t really justify doing one if we don’t do more. But there also are exceptions to that rule, and you guessed it, we’re at that point today.

I’ve been a fan of international black metal band Sojourner ever since their Avantgarde Music days (though technically I first found out about them when Folkvangr handled their cassette releases, starting with 2016 debut “Empires of Ash”), and I’ve really loved their folk-infused, epic approach to this style of music. So, when they announced a mini release with their new single “Perennial,” also the full title of this release, we got excited and made an exception. It’s our site anyway. Another notable detail is the band is introducing co-vocalist Lucia Amelia Emmanueli, who replaces Chloe Bray, who makes a great showing of herself on these two tracks. The rest of the band—vocalist Emilio Crespo, guitarist Tom O’Dell, guitarist/pianist/synth player Mike Lamb, bassist and fellow newcomer Scotty Lodge, and drummer Riccardo Floridia—continues to up the ante on dramatic, arresting black metal that transports you away and never is awash in anything but escapist, driving power that easily can infect you.

The title track begins things with flutes floating, piano dripping, and then the track bursting to life. Burly and emotional playing gathers and pounds away while Emmanueli slips in as she sweeps in and changes the texture. Crespo’s growls burst as the track continues to surge and blister before the synth swirls in, and then everything simmers and boils. Emmanueli punches back in as the growls punish, choral flourishes add chill, and everything is torn apart before disappearing into the atmosphere. “Relics of the Natural Realm” is the closing track, and waters rush in, the flutes fly again, and Emmanueli’s vocals are prominent and haunting. That slowly trickles as the growls rush in, and then the track heads into solemnity before the ground erupts. The growls crush, the guitars go off, and the melody snakes in and enhances the mood. Vicious growls menace, the guitars exude emotion, and everything bleeds away.

While just a small, two-track release, even that much is a nice serving from Sojourner, who continue to ramp up the black metal drama with “Perennial.” Breaking in Emmanueli was a good choice, and she absolutely shines on these tracks, and this should only solidify their path as they work toward their fourth record. This is a nice, rousing blast from this band that only seems to get better as they go along.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/metalsojourner

To buy the album (U.S. and Canada), go here: https://www.napalmrecordsamerica.com/

Or here (rest of the world): https://napalmrecords.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://label.napalmrecords.com/

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