As part of a continuing reissue series that has taken in “Souls at Zero” and “Enemy of the Sun”, “Sovereign”, originally released on the bands own Neurot label in 2000, comes at us with all the bludgeoning force that one would expect from a Neurosis release. This edition comes with the addition of feedback and electronic noise anguished “Misgiven” as a bonus, but not entirely helpful, concluding track. Gently being eased into the EP by opener “Prayer” in all it’s down-tempo, majestic, but sinister glory, should not mislead the listener for what they are about to receive. Tribal beats, bass heavy distortion, feral vocals and ethereal recorded spoken word passages infuse the tracks with a menace and a grandeur that you would come to expect from a Neurosis release.
The strength of the release comes from two tracks, “An Offering”, which subtlety builds on the momentum of “Prayer”, and “Sovereign”. The title track, coming in at a mighty 13 minutes, would have been a stately conclusion to the original release, marching forward as it does with slabs of noise and guitar drones driven constantly by titanic percussion, evolving into dual vocal and guitar riff heavy conclusion, which is led out with a delicate piano line supporting some fairly clean (for Neurosis) vocal style.
The shorter format of the EP may not always be entirely in keeping with what Neurosis have been better known and loved for, earth shattering, epic hymns, but this should not detract from what is on offer here as an entity in itself. “Sovereign” as a whole is produced just at the right side of unclean, and has more of a minimalist feeling reminiscent of “A Sun That Never Sets” as opposed to the pounding of “Times of Grace”, but there is no doubt that if you are searching for intelligent, challenging, experimental metal, than you need look no further than this release.