The Catalyst #1: Sorizon – Thanatos Rising (Track-By-Track Review)

by Cat Braithwaite

In case you haven’t met, Thanatos is the Greek God of Nonviolent Death.  This may make him sound like a gentle, benevolent force, but when you dive into this album, you’ll get to meet this Devil and all the ways he can steal a soul.

Track 1: “Descending into Darkness”
The gates to this modern Hades open with a foreboding, symphonic prelude of sweeping strings and piano. This lush, brief introduction sets the stage for what lies below…

Track 2: “Thanatos Rising”
The title track charges in with fiery guitar riffs that escort you into the chasm. A powerful voice beckons us closer and deeper into the flames. A chorus of demons taunt with rich harmonies, gritty growls and layered rhythms as you repeatedly take 

~“One step closer to the underworld”.~  

This is how Thanatos gets in.  He fascinates with soaring, fresh yet familiar melodies and coaxes us nearer with musings on fear, paranoia and death… just thinking about it can’t hurt, can it?

Track 3: “A Distant Echo”
Marching in with tantalizingly sharp and jagged intro, we’re quickly shifted onto a racing treadmill.  Words you’ve used in anger take physical form and shoot by you in a labyrinth you must traverse at this breakneck speed.

~”Words are the weapons, disabling 
Like a deadly bite with a venomous sting”~

We’ve been cajoled into yet another endless clash of consciousness, attempting to defend what our opponent refuses to hear.  A barrage of vitriol leaves us in a defeated heap, accusations ring in our ears, on repeat.

Track 4: “Lost in a Dream”
Personally, I take this song as an argument in favor of the art of Sacred Astronomy, also known as Astrology.  This ancient timekeeping practice has been mocked, misunderstood and marginalized for millennia but recent events have begun to line up with what the voices have been saying all along.

~”Just look to the sky
For truth you will find”~

Of course, most will not hear it this way.  Another view is from the satellites that dance through space, assisting our every move, while also witnessing phenomena those on Earth may only imagine. We’re all connected. We’re bigger than we realize and we have more impact than we’ve ever known. Is knowing this the secret to a harmonious existence?

Track 5: “Eternity’s Door”
Now that Thanatos has forced us to question everything we’ve known to be true.  This sinister instrumental fugue lends a feeling of being imprisoned on a demonic carousel… as it burns.

Track 6: “Prisoner to Yourself”
The carousel quickly disintegrates and you’re locked in a tasty Devil’s dance with time.  The world we know is crumbling around us again.  Do we have the time and skills to rebuild?  Can we figure it out in time? Is it even worth it?

~”Time waits for no one”~

Track 7: “Hidden Evils”
This elegantly constructed two-way conversation between the battered psyche and the relief of addiction tangoes between melodic pleas and threatening guttural growls.  Both characters are exhausted with the back and forth, but neither will give up.  

~”Overpowering thoughts they will not release”~
~”I’ll dispose of your burdens and help set you free”~

Is resistance truly futile? Is that Hidden Evil the burden to be released?

Track 8: “Imminent Contact”
The universe we built is no longer viable.  New unknowns have begun to fill the spaces once occupied by what was once familiar. We’re still having the arguments from the Track #3, but piece by piece, constructive ideas are beginning to appear. The challenge is to proceed with strength AND humility.

~”The stigma behind this is absolutely false
The propaganda is real, but it’s failing”~

We know our truths.  How do we integrate all the others?

Track 9: “Destined for Despair”
Technology may actually be the cause of AND the solution to all of life’s problems.  It neutralizes our individuality and manipulates us into becoming a “type” as defined by the TechSpace. A digitized, defeated declaration narrates us into the dark mine, as a 

~”Virtual haze
Technical Maze
In the digital age
Gives you the lifeless gaze.”~

Our society has come to depend so deeply on technology that we’ve let it redefine us into something we can’t recognize.

Track 10: “Awaken to This Light”
Giving ourselves to an entirely human experience only acknowledges a small portion of our existence.  When we dive inside our minds we have no limits.

~”Open the gates
Within the mind
Flourish as we all were meant to.”~

We slip out of the digital space when the vocals shift from the digitized narration of Track #9 into a combination of earthy, grounded shouts and clean, airy harmonies.  The guitar solo stands out as a melodic magic carpet, topped with nostalgia and propelled by hope.

Track 11: “Virtual Deception”
Triumphant from the beginning, this track is the sonic embodiment of the determination it will take to escape the TechSpace and rejoin the living!

~”Clinging on to something real
Let go of this digital world”~

While frustration is still a weighty presence, there is great strength, assurance and optimism in the tone of the vocals, leaving me visualizing what could be…

Track 12: “Worth and Wisdom”
We spend our whole lives learning, adjusting and re-adjusting to existence.  We collect and archive information, ways of being and doing that seem to be necessary.  Enter the TechSpace, a space where everything we’ve ever called our own can be found, lost, unvalidated and eliminated.  Remember when we didn’t have this burden?

~”All is lost with a gust of the wind
I wish you were here and conscious again”~

Aah, Thanatos.  You’re a clever one, aren’t you?  You’ve shown us what Hell is like, forced us into verbal battles with our brethren, spied on us with distant satellites, imploded the society we’ve always known, just to offer up a little something addictive to take the edge off.  Back in the digital morass, we thrash and claw to find our way out of the virtual and into the Real, where we can soar again.  If that’s Nonviolent Death, I think I’ll call your twin brother, Hypnos instead. I could use a nap!

To be honest, Thanatos Rising makes me feel as though these brilliant artists have been flies on my wall for the last decade. The pace of technology, how we interact with it, how it affects our personal interactions and how lost we can be without it have been incredibly frustrating for myself and many others, I’m sure.  But, to create such wonderfully detailed, emotional volume that speaks so deeply to the cultural furnace into which we’ve been thrust is purely perfect.  I’m looking forward to more brilliance from Sorizon and hope you’ll give them your time.  It’s so worthwhile.

Sorizon links: website | bandcamp | instagram | facebook | youtube