Not content to let Abigail Williams rise to the top of the US symphonic black metal heap, California's Sothis unleash their debut on Candlelight Records, De Oppresso Liber, a furious collection of evil yet majestic black metal adorned with layers of orchestral keyboards, letting us know that you don't have to be from Norway or Sweden to be able to master this sound. References to Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Satyricon, Borknagar, and even Cradle of Filth abound on De Oppresso Liber, yet by no means does this CD sound derivative to any of those bands. Cuts like "Beneath A Black Boiling Sky", "Lunar Descent", and the blasphemous title track are all epic in scope, grand keyboards floating throughout a mix of crushing blast beats and rampaging guitar riffs, while the vocals of singer Drogoth drip with venom and malevolence. King Diamond guitarist Andy LaRocque helped mix the album, and he did a damn fine job, as these songs have a really classy and crisp sound, despite the obvious brutality there's a sheen here that's hard to ignore. Drum wizard Dross is on fire throughout the manic "The Cold Disconnection", his double bass drum frenzy and relentless blast beats cut through a mountain of synths and bombastic riffs, and the band puts on a powerful performance on the majestic black metal piece "Lair Of The Benighted", Drogoth's vocals sounding like they could have come from an old Immortal session-this guy really knows how to channel the whole Scandinavian styled black metal screech!
There you have it, an extremely solid debut from Sothis that is sure to light a fire up the ass of the entire US black metal scene. Better yet, it's easily one of the better symphonic black metal releases from any country this year.
01. Of Night And Silence
02. De Oppresso Liber
03. Beneath A Black Boiling Sky
04. Lunar Descent
05. Obsidian Throne
07. The Cold Disconnection
08. Lair Of The Benighted