Sacriphyx – The Western Front

Sac_WesA few weeks ago, after a shipment of vinyl from NWN! Productions arrived at Marty’s distro (his US shipments are still free, so support! http://eihwazrecordings.com/distro/ ), I spotted the vinyl version of The Western Front by Sacriphyx lying around the Worm Gear War Room. On high recommendation from Messrs. Rytkonen and Moran (and also seeing it on UA’s playlist), I purchased my own copy, drove home and gave it a spin.

And promptly discovered my favorite album (so far) this year.

The Western Front cuts across the boundaries of Metal just as the battle trenches of World War I scarred the fields of its combatants. One moment, you are met with pure analog OSDM. The next, you hear meticulously constructed Thrash. Then, harmony-filled, pure Heavy Metal floods the senses. All these are filtered through the sparse blasts beats and production mindset of those understanding the tones of Black Metal. But the Australian duo of Sacriphyx (comprised of guitarist Anthony Till and drummer Neil Dyer) truly shine when they embrace – and dominate– classic Doom. On ‘Without a Trace’, thirds and slogging palm-mutes drop you off in a No Man’s Land of horror and hope in equal measure. Then, with the DNA of Trouble’s Bruce Franklin and Rick Wartell coursing through his blood, Till’s lead guitar work successfully explores the entire scope of Metal and Warfare. The sounds are those of victory/defeat, dirt/grime, blood/guts, and, of course, life/death. As these notes flow from the speakers, hackles will raise on the back of your neck. Melody lines at once sorrowful and exultant electrify the air, and are played with such rapt attention to phrasing and emotional effect you will be uncertain as to whether you should raise a fist or shed a tear. Likely you will do both at once. Anyone with even a passing understanding of the dichotomies of human conflict – namely, its encapsulation of everything disgusting about mankind (atrocity, cowardice, etc) and, conversely, everything that should be championed about our race (justice, heroism, etc), and all permutations in between – will appreciate the personal, yet historical technique of The Western Front‘s storytelling. And while the perspectives are distinctly Australian, the lessons of war – communicated in a straightforward, deathly growl – will take hold of you, no matter your nationality, or your own views on ‘The War to End All Wars’ – or any other conflict, for that matter. In the larger sense, these are simply the tales of men in battle, performed and sung in remembrance with as much fervor and sincerity as those shouted in the mead halls of ages past. Now we push play on an album in the comforts of our own homes, and must often give thought in isolation and contemplation. Nevertheless, the fallen see us and, hearing living art like The Western Front, will appreciate the passing of their sad tales onward, again and again. -Jim

Nuclear War Now! Productions

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~ by cliftonium on May 8, 2013.

3 Responses to “Sacriphyx – The Western Front”

  1. This reminds me of older Rotting Christ when they sounded better in their crusty mystical days, versus the sanitized Rotting Christ that has no soul. Pretty cool shiz.

  2. Actually, song # 2 on this album directly rips off Rotting Christ on the Ades Winds Demo. I knew it sounded to familiar.

  3. Yeah, this is an excellent album…I really like it.

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