Tenet - Sovereign ©2009 Century Media
1. Being and Nothingness
2. Indulge Me
3. Crown of Thorns
4. Unnameable
5. Take a Long Line
6. Going Down
7. Hail! Hail!
8. Watching You Burn
9. Sovereign

While Tenet has existed in the dreams of Strapping Young Lad's Jed Simon for well over a decade, 2009's Sovereign represents the first officially released material for this extreme metal supergroup. Sure, the term "supergroup" gets thrown around quite a bit, but looking at the roster for this outfit is a veritable who's who of metal for multiple generations. While Jed Simon and Byron Stroud are known primarily for their work with Strapping Young Lad, the other three members have made great contributions to thrash metal over the years. Gene Hoglan needs little introduction as possibly the finest thrash and speed metal drummer alive. Guitarist Glen Alvelais has played for both Forbidden and Testament (although 93% of metal musicians alive today have been in Testament at one point or another). The final piece of the puzzle is Exodus' Steve Souza, who seems rather active for a guy who, in theory, retired from music in the mid 90s.

Fans of Strapping Young Lad's all out assault of speed and aggression will not be disappointed in this debut from Tenet. Nor should it surprise anyone that the three of the four members of Strapping Young Lad would come up with an album that could almost fall into that band's discography. If you are shocked by this development, you probably are also surprised that, each morning, the sun comes up in the east of its own volition and that the Detroit Lions do not win football games on a regular basis. In a way, it would appear that Jed Simon had another bulldozer album in his system and didn't want to wait for Devin Townsend to get around to another SYL project. And that's just fine. Steve Souza is obviously a very capable vocalist, although on this project he contributes some his most extreme performances to date. He might lack the abandonment of sanity that characterizes the best SYL material, but his delivery is aces. Songs like "Hail! Hail!" contain that careening, crushing sound that SYL fans have loved for years.

Sovereign will obviously be compared to Strapping Young Lad's output, an unavoidable pitfall for this outfit. However, in that context, the album stands on its own. It clocks in at just over a half hour, which is actually a perfect length for this sort of affair. If you're missing a metal fist in your face, Sovereign might just provide that need. A very good effort from a group of middle aged men who never seem to let up the intensity in their musical lives.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/2009

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