There are side projects. There are super groups. There are side projects that become main projects. And then there is TENET. This Canadian band is a culmination of all three, whose debut album was released without a whole lot of a hype created for it. It’s odd considering how many recognizable names are included on the debut’s line-up. Needless to say, if you are a fan of either Thrash or STRAPPING YOUNG LAD, then this is going to be right up your ally.
TENET’s debut release, “Sovereign”, just pours talent from its ranks. Fronted as the new project from ex-SYL guitarist Jed Simon (which ironically formed quite some time ago but was never fully realized until this release), this release features some pretty stellar members. Of course, its pretty easy to figure out the reason why Byron Stroud would be on the bass duties and drum for hire Gene Hoglan would be behind the kit, both being from SYL themselves, but throw into the line up Glen Alvelais (now formerly of underrated Thrashers FORBIDDEN) and Steve Souza (formerly of EXODUS) on vocals and this band looks to be a damn party of talent! The result musically is a combination of that SYL rhythmatic beatdown combined with some of the Thrash tendencies of that 80s sect of the Bay Area. Again, if you are fan of either, you should probably just buy this album.
The music on “Sovereign” is pretty much what one would expect from the talent. This debut is full of experienced writing that incorporates the heavy polyrhythms with a triggered sound and bass heavy mix with the flourishes and energy of Thrash. The guitars mostly focus on those riffs with some nice burst solos and the occasional atmospheric touch (“Going Down” for example) and the rhythm section do what they do best with their quick energetic blasts. It’s nice to hear Souza doing something again (DUBLIN DEATH PATROL was nice but obviously not a wholly serious project) and I have always found his unique snarling vocals endearing even in this more aggressive setting.
With TENET, I really wanted this to be one of my top albums of the year, but with each spin I found that it didn’t quite hold up to its own standards. With this much talent, this album should have cannonballed through the rest and through your chest leaving you headbanging and screaming every word along the way, but I found that although I enjoyed the album, it didn’t really blow me away. Don’t know what exactly the reason is, but with time the album wore a bit thin with me and eventually, I just sort of moved onto new music. Honestly, this is just a nitpicky detail, but I thought I would still share it.
TENET is a massive band with some much name recognition that you will know at least one of the bands from the members’ history. It wasn’t quite the masterpiece one would hope, but “Sovereign” is still a solid Modern Thrash undertaking.
Songs to check out: “Take A Long Line”, “Being And Nothingness”, “Hail Hail”.
(Online January 17, 2010)