Sargeist – The Rebirth of a Cursed Existence
If there is any one person responsible for the current stylistic form of crust driven black metal in Finland, Shatraug is as guilty a party as they come. He is either currently in, or been in almost 20 bands. The most notable/popular being Horna and Behexen, but his unholy seal of harsh melodies and acidic guitar tone is a defining factor that spins a malevolent strand throughout his entire body of work. Sargeist is yet another brooding labor of black metal art for the man that has produced 3 well received full-length albums and a wicked amount of split and EP releases that are difficult to keep up with.
The Rebirth of a Cursed Existence isn’t a new album, rather a compilation release that compiles all of Sargeist’s vinyl only material on 1 72 minute CD so that the completists out there won’t wreck their mom’s credit in trying to obtain everything on ebay. To the uninitiated, Sargeist have a lo-fi sound and production at their back for a bleak misanthropic desire for lifelessness sonically, but Shatraug and crew use it effectively alongside a musical pulse that feels like frozen Celtic Frost riffs with that mid-paced tempo, and dissonant “melodies” that scrape the senses with harshness and despair. The heavy movement in the tempo and riffs at times reveals the punk spirit often found in the Finnish scene and it keeps the listener trained on the ancient hooks with head nodding abandon as on the plodding track “Sinister Glow of the Funeral Torches”. Hoath Torog’s (also in Behexen and Lords of the Left Hand) vocals are like ice glaciers scraping over razors as he further destroys any feelings of hope and life with his piercing cries for darkness.
Sargeist’s blend of hellish melody and affinity for slower paced black metal in a lot of ways sets them apart from other bands that sound a lot like them due to their unwavering dedication to their craft, but this isn’t saying much due to the fact that there are probably a dozen releases in your black metal collection that enchant a similar sonic woodland. That’s the thing with Sargeist…. when they are on, I have always appreciated the experience, but there isn’t enough of an engaging atmosphere on display here to fully win me over to hunt down all of their material. If you are more in-tune with the harshness and stubbornly unoriginal sound, then The Rebirth of a Cursed Existence is the perfect release to fill in the holes that may have been lurking in your Sargeist collection. Typical yet decent black metal. -Marty
~ by martyworm on August 7, 2013.