Finding out about awesome new bands is the greatest thing, isn’t it? When I find stuff I’ve never heard of before that is truly awesome, I always think about how much good music is out there, just waiting to be discovered. Well, I just discovered Somnuri with Desiderium, and damn, talk about a kick to the face!
I hadn’t heard of the band before the day this new record was released, but I decided to check it out and was instantly hooked. While their previous work was closer to your traditional stoner rock/metal, Desiderium shows a much more adventurous side to the Brooklyn band, playing around with a lot of different genres this time around. The album’s core sound is some very sludgy prog metal mixed with a massive infusion of really groovy stoner and even some grunge, making Somnuri stand out from similar-sounding bands. Classifying their sound as a collection of nice influences is selling it short, though. The band is able to incorporate all these influences from many genres and create a real sense of self identity with all of them. Trust me, it really works.
Desiderium starts off massive from the very first minute, and doesn’t let got all the way through. While “Death Is The Beginning” is surely a great intro track with its death metal blasts beats, “Paramnesia” was the song that me made me go ‘woah’ and realize I was listening to something special. Groovy, proggy riffs for days with Mastodon-esque vocals, how can you not love this?
This is an album where every songs stands out, honestly. “What A Way To Go” and “Flesh & Blood” are certified headbangers from top to bottom. “Hollow Visions” is a like a badass lovechild between The Ocean and Alice In Chains. The title track gets really grungy and echoes some Chino Moreno quite a few times. “The Way Out” is just the very definition of an epic capper. Starting with huge vocal melodies, it brings out the tastiest djenty riff I’ve heard in a long time and just keeps punching you in the face with it until it ends. A truly fantastic album closer and already one of my favorite tracks of the year. I was absolutely impressed with just how different each song was from each other and how they all managed to show a new layer to Somnuri‘s sound. All this variety makes for an album that never ceases to hold your attention for its entire duration.
The whole band is to be praised here, but Justin Sherrel’s vocals are a special highlight. With a wide variety of harsh vocals and really powerful melodic cleans, his voice enhances the more powerful moments in the album and brings some real catharsis to a lot of the songs. I really can’t imagine this music to be the same without him.
So, yeah. Do you like your metal sludgy, groovy, experimental, and just nonstop awesome? Then Desiderium is a must-listen for you. Somnuri looks at genres not as archetypes or templates, but as elements to be incorporated into the music. If a certain idea fits the song, they use it. This is experimentation done right, and allows this album to stay fresh and unique for its entire runtime (and the many relistens that are sure to follow). It defies labels, has all the riffs you could need, and doesn’t waste a single second of its runtime.