If there was ever an audible form of the emotion anger, Sovereign might just be it. Hailing from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, Sovereign supplies blistering, crusty, metallic hardcore in the vain of bands such as Cursed and His Hero Is Gone, a style that seems to be in no short supply nowadays, but is regardless one few bands manage to truly perfect. Luckily, however, Sovereign belongs to the latter, managing to incorporate their influences into their sounds and present them proudly without slipping mindlessly into the plight of being a B-rate Tragedy.

Part of their success in setting themselves apart is heavily dependent on the fact that while it may be fairly obvious these guys really, really like that mid to late 90’s brand of neo-crust, it never becomes a domineering aspect of their sound. To simplify that a bit, while Sovereign may obviously take influence from the more metallic, “epic” (and truly phenomenal) direction the crust punk scene has taken, the band never makes an effort to fully emulate it. The far more metallic aspect is their in their sound, and it easy to hear where these guys spent a significant amount of time listening to bands like Fall Of Efrafa and Nux Vomica, they avoid trying to emulate the post rock heavy, sludgy elements of their sounds that make those bands so distinct.

And thank god they do! It has become somewhat of a painful chore to sift through new dark/crusty hardcore bands who believe they can recreate the atmosphere or ambiance of those bands and instead end up leaving you with 30 second sustained notes at the end of every song. No, instead Sovereign chooses to embrace the more aggressive aspects of those bands sounds, rocking an incredible, Cursed-like guitar tone that inspires the urge to smash something when you hear it alone, but becomes all the more compelling once you hear the full product they have to offer. Add to that the fact the band now boasts two incredible guitar players who play off each other to create a truly massive sound, drums that don’t fall into the rut of simple part regurgitation every song, bass tone so thick and sludgy that it will crush your skull, and vocals that you can practically feel the anger seething through, and you have a full portrait of Sovereign’s sound.

Sovereign is not your average hardcore band, or crust band, or metal band, or metallic/crusty hardcore band. Their music does not fall into the trap of attempting to pummel the listener into submission, but rather, provides the listener with a variety of so many stupidly extreme elements that they have no choice but to allow the music to completely crush them. In a modern world where the majority of metallic hardcore band sounds like a bad Trap Them, and the majority of modern crusty hardcore bands sound like a bad Cursed, it is refreshing to hear a band that manages to pull off both styles near flawlessly, all while retaining their own, distinct sound.

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-JT

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