SOMNURI from Brooklyn, NY play an interesting amalgam of sounds on this, their third full length album. A good deal of what they play is raw, angry sludge music with hellacious tortured vocals, but mixed with a much more melodic kind of tuneage that’s a lot like prime 90s grunge. The vocalist Justin Sherrell is a remarkably versatile singer, who runs the gamut from rasping troll-like screeches to almost Eddie Vedder-sounding clean vocals…and all points in between. On top of that, he’s also the guitarist for SOMNURI, so he is very much the focal point for the band.

The contrast between harsh and clean vocals is immediately apparent on ‘Death Is The Beginning’, which hits with very thick and angry sludge and just nasty sounding roars. Before long, the melodic cleans cut in and it’s apparent Sherrell is up there with Burton C. Bell and Nick Holmes as a guy who can do both. At first, I wasn’t sold on it, because there’s an awful lot of bad music out there using the clean/harsh contrast. But as the album rolls on, it becomes impossible to argue with Sherrell’s range and talent. He does a variety of angry harsh vocals, not just a monotone, and his cleans also don’t rely on just one sound. This gives SOMNURI a progressive edge.

They also use variety in their songwriting. ‘Pale Eyes’ and ‘What A Way To Go’ are short, punchy numbers with a lot of aggression and immediacy. Then we have ‘Hollow Visions’ which has a strong ALICE IN CHAINS influence throughout. The title track has a soaring, almost triumphant sound that borders on the cosmic…a great song, for sure. ‘Remnants’ has some of Sherrell’s most hell-raising vocals and ‘A Way Out’ ends things with sludge that is almost dreamy in a way.

Desiderium is a strong and entertaining album from a band that keeps the heaviness intact but is not afraid to experiment.
Review By: Dr. Abner Mality

MNRK Heavy