SONIC REIGN, Monument in Black (2013, Apostasy)

The skull:
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.

The music:
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