Scott Hilberg – Guitars, Vocals
Rhiannon Wisniewski – Keyboards, Snyth, Vocals
Lou Spencer – Bass
Chris Stolle – Drums
Erik Rueschman – Guitars
Label: Root of all Evil Records
Hometown: Cleveland, OH
A Calling of Arms (instrumental)
Forever the Serpent
Beyond the Shores
Envy of the Seraph
Lair (of the Wendol)
Fulfilling the Throne
The New Beginning (instrumental)
The first I heard of Somnus was on a compilation, allow me a slight break as I rummage through an untidy stack of compilation CD's to find the exact one. Found it! It was hiding, deep amongst a myriad of forgotten metal gems and treasures. The compilation is called Gateway to Hell (Dwell Recordings 1999-A Tribute to Slayer) the track isSeasons in the Abyss. Throughout the track an atmosphere is provided with the use of very effective haunting keyboard melodies that certainly left enough of an impression on me that I began to look for more of the artist's work. Admittedly only a few things impressed me about this tribute/compilation, this track with only a couple of others and the impressive dark and very artistic demonic artwork surrounding the package itself.
The cover depicts a king, in a lounging pose of sorts, upon a wooden and stone constructed throne. A raven is perched upon the throne's heights above ancient symbols of, I would guess, Pagan origin. The backdrop shows a darkened forest draped with mist. A single figure stands guard with a spear in hand. I may in fact be horrendously wrong in my assumptions as the king seems at ease and free from concerns, perhaps the figure is there to usurp the throne as the raven is usually a bird foretelling ill omen as shown in various folklores (tales and pictures) throughout the ages. From the imagery alone I imagine a release similar to perhaps the British folk/metal act Skyclad, admittedly a slight deviation from what I presumed their style to be from the track presented in the Slayer tribute. Gather round all and I shall reap a tale telling of this mysterious Somnus and the musical cacophony within this questionable shiny thing in my careful grasp.
The next track seems a tad messy, is quite long and is quickly forgotten. An organ effect is used throughout and IMO only entangles messily with the guitar's melody. Within is the next track to grab my attention probably resulting from the wind chime effects (seriously). All jokes aside, both female and male vocals complement each other in this mid-tempo track that appears heavier in drum than other tracks throughout the rest of the album. (This track was recorded in a different location/studio than the remainder of the album). Another of my favorite tracks on this release.
I also believe the main vocal style is a tad off base on the album's overall musical style, several times throughout its length I couldn't help but envision Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth) only to then wonder what his talents may have been doing in the CD's undeniably fantasy-esque themed arena. I'll admit I'm not too much of a black metal fan, however, I do feel that this album is worthy of a second listen, though it's perhaps not an album you'd want to listen to on constant repeat, only from time to time. - Cult