SONIC REIGN, Monument in Black (2013, Apostasy)
Technically this is a really excellent piece of artwork. It’s got a certain mood, and its realism is tilted just slightly into the realms of dark macabre vibes by the webby, shadowy slashes. But why? I mean, why? Why the fuck? There’s nothing happening here worth capturing in paint-on-canvas. And with band name and album title both so completely, underwhelming generic, you gotta wonder if a decent hired artist (or stolen piece of artwork from a coffee table book) is all this German band is able to muster.
Well, it’s boring. So much like the artwork it’s not funny. The guys can play well and they bring along with them a certain creepy atmosphere that’s made clear by the precision playing and modern recording. It’s basically like dull, middle-era Satyricon (Now, Diabolical; Volcano). It’s rendered very well but the actual ideas are shallow. There’s just not much to bite into here. Like the dull gray skull on the cover; like the band name that’s devoid of any real thought; like the retread, heard-it-already-a-thousand-times album title…it’s all so incredibly amazingly barely exciting.
— Friar Wagner