One could write several paragraphs about the genesis of Sonja at this point. I’m sure any reader who hasn’t spent 2018 in a cave knows what happened around the black metal band Absu. In the following lines, however, I will limit myself to the music, which speaks for itself…
On their debut Loud Arriver, Sonja play a mixture of dark, (hard) rock and classic metal, which has so much soul and fire that I almost get dizzy with delight. This album is unquestionably something very special, as it is the product of artists who meet their listeners with an open visor and give them very deep insights into their innermost being. The trio, consisting of Melissa Moore (guitar/vocals), Ben Brand (bass) and Grzesiek Czapla (drums), plays themselves collectively into a real rapture, which inevitably makes me think of bands from The Devil’s Blood cosmos, who are in a class of their own in this respect. The fact that Melissa’s sometimes completely unleashed, ecstatic guitar playing shows certain parallels to grandmaster Selim, completes the picture…
The eight riff-accentuated songs that Sonja have on offer are quite catchy, but at the same time so multi-layered that no quick wearing-out effect is to be expected. On the contrary, I’m sure Loud Arriver will be one of the 2022 albums I’ll still be listening to regularly in 10, 20 years. One feature that contributes to this is Melissa’s vocals, which are mixed quite far into the background but are so expressive that you can’t escape their magic. I don’t even want to claim that the former Absu guitarist has an awe-inspiring voice with which she sings the competition into the ground. Nevertheless, her performance hits me right in the heart – in the end, there are two things that count in music: passion and authenticity, and this powerful woman has them in abundance!
As a listening suggestion, I recommend “Wanting Me Dead“, which impresses me in every respect – whether in terms of songwriting, drumming, guitar work or lyrics:
Wanting me dead, they all want me dead; I heard it when they said; Wanting me dead they all want me dead; I saw it when I read; Wanting me dead, they all want me dead; Never waking from my bed; Wanting me dead, they all want me dead; With a shotgun to the head
Conclusion: 2022 is obviously the year of outstanding debuts – after Phantom Spell and Gott, it’s now Sonja who completely captivate me. Melissa, Ben and Grzesiek have chosen the title of their first musical sign of life on record very appropriately. I really hope that we will hear a lot more from this unique formation in the future. The world needs bands like Sonja. The world needs artists like Melissa.