Sunday, 14 November 2010
[ALBUM REVIEW]Sargeist - Let the Devil In
1. Empire of Suffering
2. A Spell to Awaken the Temple
3. From the Black Coffin Lair
4. Burning Voice of Adoration
5. Nocturnal Revelation
6. Discovering the Enshrouded Eye
7. Let the Devil In
8. Sanguine Rituals
9. Twilight Breath of Satan
10. As Darkness Tears the World Apart
One of black metal's most famous vagabonds, Shatraug, is back again, and this time with the latest Sargeist album. Shatraug likes to keep himself occupied, already having multiple releases with various projects already this year. And who can blame him when you're one of the most critically acclaimed artists still operating in the black metal scene? Sargeist were always a band I had an extremely large amount of time for. There is a subtle malevolence about Satanic Black Devotion and Disciple of the Heinious Path which always keeps dragging me back to them. They're not groundbreaking releases by any means, but it's Shatraug's penchant for being able to write an infectious riff and Hoath Torog's fantastic vocals patterns that always kept my Sargeist albums at the top of my CD pile.
If you're a fan of any of Sargeist's previous releases, then in short, this album will blow your skull clean fucking through. Whereas the previous albums did tend to be fairly inconsistent at times, Sargeist take the best aspects of everything produced before, and conjoined them all into one grandiose manifestation of pure old school black metal genius. The general sound of Sargeist isn't really comparable to much of that say in the original Norwegian Scene, Sargeist quite clearly have that recognizable Finnish sound, in fact he had a significant hand in helping develop that sound. It's the overall attitude and atmosphere within the recording that is comparable to bands such as old Gorgoroth and Emperor. It has always appeared to me that Shatraug is a clear believer in doing things the traditional way, and with material such as this, how can you argue?
If you've heard Behexen, which you most likely have if you're a fan of Sargeist, Hoath Torog's vocals are pretty much identical to theirs. As he's a member of both bands, that's pretty much a given, but whereas Behexen are an all out blasphemic hailstorm, Sargeist are much more brooding. Hoath Torog's vocals are utterly intense, when I say he's one of the strongest vocalists in the scene at the minute, I mean that. He coils each phrase, each word, writhing perfectly around each chord. Budding vocalists take note, this is exactly how black metal vocals should be done, delivered with an iron authority, driving the music without ever becoming distracting. The vocals have a good amount of reverb on them, as Sargeist have always done, and when done properly, such as here, add that tormented touch perfectly. The riffing is deceptively melodic, Shatraug's style here varies from fast to slow, mainly utilising traditional tremolo riffing, but with a certain almost rockish feel to it a times. The riff in “Discovering the Enshrouded Eye” for one is a good example to this. Horn is still the drummer, and adds a heady amount of brutality to the proceedings, from hyper-speed blasting and fills, to almost punk like rhythms, it compliments the melodic guitar lines flawlessly, avoiding ever becoming overpowering. My only problem? The album name. I can't help but get an image of old Lucifer standing outside your house soaked to the skin in the pouring rain, knocking to get in, and your nagging wife telling you to let him in.
Of all Shatraug's projects, and there are many of them, I can safely say this is the best release by any single one of them by far. It was a fairly unexpected drop, this album, but oh so welcome. In a scene which some may say is starting to lose sight of it roots, Let the Devil In is a modern benchmark of how it should be done for any burgeoning black metal band to strive for. Combining the 'true' ethics of old, and building upon their previous work, Sargeist have created a majestic work of tyrannical black art, spiralling oblivion. You can tell they put a hell of a lot of work into this release, because it shows. With Let the Devil In, Sargeist have evolved into something mighty. The bar is set, people.
Written for Metalcrypt