Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sargeist: The Rebirth of a Cursed Existence

This Finnish band named after a Rotting Christ song, was originally started s a side project by on of the members of Horna, but took on a life of its own. It also features members of Behexen and like the sum of it's parts they don't stray too far from the raw black metal sound. This is a compilation of all the songs that had been available only on cassette or vinyl which have been remastered for this release, though it makes me wonder how bad the sound of the original recordings were, as these are still pretty fuzzy.

 Like most heavy bands the attack of the first song gets by on merit of it's heaviness alone. These guys stick to a certain sound and vary little from it the tempo shows variance on the second song"The Rebirth of a Cursed Existence. The raspy vocals sound like they are foaming at the mouth with every word they spew. Normally I don't review compilations but the band felt like these songs should all be released together and had not been previously released  on cd  , so I see it less of a greatest hit and more of the first proper release they are getting, even though some were written ten years apart.

While many while dismiss certain elements as well that's what you are getting into with Finnish Black Metal, I  think all scenes should be held to consistent standards in regards to the quality of music they release. "Wrath Messiah" benefits from when they drop out of the the typical blasty mcnasties. Though they do tend to let fairly simplistic riffs drone on. Song to song this sort of thing does breed a certain redundancy. "Crimson Wine" takes on a darker tone to vary the feel slightly and almost sounds like a Slayer song in doing so.

Some of their more straight forward numbers take on a more punk feel like "Vorax Obscurum". These come across more as filler as even with straight up punk I don't like it to be this rudimentary, though fans of d-beat might appreciate. The old school blasting of "Unholy Black Happiness"  is not much more complex or dynamic than the punk influenced songs. The cvlt Darkthrone feel of "the Covenant Rite" has much needed ambiance to switch things up. The song writing is pretty basic two part progressions, they use the raw scornful nature of what they do carry most of the momentum. "Dead Raven's Memory" sounds like a continuation of the previous, which is funny considering this is a compilation.There is a guitar melody that picks up the slack mid way through. The guitars show they are capable of creating interesting melodies on "Dark Embrace" it's that they are just unwilling to compromise any measure of savagery to do so.

They do darken things down with "the Crown of Burning Stars" so when the build comes at the two minute mark there is more of a dynamic leap. The problem of many blast dominant black metal bands is they lose their effectiveness when make you numb to the beating. "The Moon Growing Colder" is an example of this is action. there is an epic cascade to the assault but with out a dynamic to play against it's comes across as a monochrome painting. Closing with "Nightmare and Necromancy" follows this pattern even though it does have a slight variation of a gallop to it . I'll give this album a 6.5 as it gives a little too much of the same, though they often capture a mean sweep to the feel, that is no doubt authentic, there are plenty of bands in my ipod that can do that and better.          

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