Century Media Records – 2009 – Canada
2009 is shaping to be a grand year for death metal and its bastard children. Next to such powerful releases from Divine Heresy, Job For A Cowboy, and Behemoth is Tenet’s “Sovereign,” a debut album from some of the best metallic minds in the business, i.e. Strapping Young Lad alumni plus former Exodus screamer Steve “Zetro” Souza. It’s a match made in the pits of hell that spawns such scorchers as “Being and Nothingness,” the crunching “Indulge Me,” and the relentless pace that makes “Unnamable” a wonderful singalong.
What guarantees “Sovereign” ascendance as grand champion in the thrash/death league—think jagged riffs meets a certain Mr. Gene Hoglan’s precision guided drumming—is the sheer ace-ness (if there’s such a word) of the music. With nary a boring track and some two dozen odd albums between each of the members, Tenet go about crafting their punishing sound like the consummate professionals they are. Guitarists Jed Simon and Glen Avelais, Souza, Hoglan, and bassist Byron Stroud are a well-oiled five-cylinder engine that just churns and churns and churns the brutal stuff. Subject your brain to said churning on the furious “Take A Long Line,” whose frenetic pace and gang style backing vocals would leave lovers of ye olde thrash misty eyed. Then there’s the brain melting “Watching You Burn” where Souza’s voice takes on a cartoonish bent, there are just times when the man sounds plain ridiculous on the album—try the totally evil “Going Down,” which eschews intensity for a brooding atmosphere.
A generous slab of heavy metal crunch gives the songs “Crown of Thorns,” “Hail Hail!” and “Indulge Me” some badly needed backbone lest their abrasive natures ruin it for the listener. On its final stretch of numbing sound, the title track blazes away with a flashy guitar solo and enough slam to demolish your house. When it’s finished, the listener would be tempted to start all over—there were some choice guitar solos here that the swirling decibels glossed over at first listen. Having witnessed its sterling qualities, one is tempted to borrow this website’s motto: Tenet’s maiden outing is extreme in ALL.