LABEL: Independent
RELEASE: May 5th, 2023
AUTHOR: Samantha Shears

SOVEREIGN COUNCIL albumrand01. World On Fire
The Wait
Breathe You In
Of The Ashes

I’m always eager to hear the latest releases from established bands I know and love, but what truly excites me the most as a music fan is finding talented new bands. That exhilaration of discovery was exactly what I felt listening to SOVEREIGN COUNCIL for the first time, but I was surprised to learn the band is actually not at all new. Formed in 2012 and hailing from Kingston, Ontario, the band released their debut album New Reign ten years ago in 2013, followed two years later by Laniakea. The band currently consists of Lisa Thompson (lead vocals), Joe Moon (lead guitar and backup vocals), Chris Thompson (rhythm guitar), Shaun Vanhooser (bass) and Brandon Schneider (drums). Though the band is still relatively unknown at this point, World On Fireis a fantastic EP that has all of the elements required to change that.

We begin with title track and lead single World On Fire, which serves as a perfect showcase of what SOVEREIGN COUNCIL has to offer. The bright, clear and powerful vocal performance of Lisa Thompson immediately stands out. She delivers the huge, soaring chorus and its equally impressive lead-in flawlessly. The instrumentation is also enjoyable throughout, mixing melodic keyboards with heavy-hitting guitars and drums. It’s a memorable track that has been running through my mind ever since I saw the music video.

Up next is The Wait, a dynamic song primarily driven by power metal riffs, but also quieter moments where the vocals shine through. Husband and wife pair Joe Moon and Lisa share vocal duties here, adding a personal touch to the track’s lyrical journey of finding love. Joe ultimately provides a nice contrast for Lisa that we can also hear in the following two tracks.

Aberration is perhaps the heaviest track on the EP, providing an ominous musical backdrop for telling its tale of struggling with inner demons. Breathe You In is a slower-paced yet powerful song that introduces electronic elements into the mix. Both tunes have a modern feel, taking influence from a variety of metal subgenres.

The grand finale and my personal favourite Of The Ashes is uplifting, dramatic and catchy, with a great guitar solo and another stellar vocal performance from Lisa. It is a thematic return to the beginning — lyrical ideas of setting the world on fire and then rising out of the ashes both represent facets of personal growth, bringing the EP full circle.

World On Fireis simply an excellent EP all around. Every track has something unique to offer and it is easy to imagine any of the five songs becoming a favourite depending on the listener. The melodies are catchy, the production is clean and the talent is immense. In particular, I would recommend this release to fans of bands with a more modern take on symphonic metal, such as recent Within Temptation, Beyond The Black, Dark Horse | White Horse and Phantom Elite to name a few. I’m excited to see what comes next for SOVEREIGN COUNCIL. They have certainly made a fan out of me.