Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sapthuran - The Wanderer

This review was written by a good friend of mine and I told him I would post the review since I agree with his admiration of this release and with the strength of the release. Thanks again for the willingness to allow me to post the review. (Orion_M)

For what it's worth, Sapthuran is easily my favorite band that fits into the "USBM" category. America is so easily discredited when it comes to black metal, and oftentimes for good reason. Every band is either a hipster magnet or a bunch of 40 year olds trying too hard to recapture the "glory" of the old days (when they weren't great to begin with). So I can understand the misconception that this country is barren when it comes to good black metal acts. However, there is an exception to every rule, and that is exception in this case is Sapthuran.

Sapthuran plays raw black metal, the way it was meant to be. The sound is very old and analog sounding, no fancy studio equipment and no polished overproduction ("bare bones" is probably a fitting description). The drums sound organic and somewhat dull - the snare has little punch and is often reduced to a blast of sound in the background of the overall pattern. The bass drum is rarely audible, being that it too is buried under the crash and ring of the cymbals. The most prominent beat here is a type of full on blast - everything being played at once in rapid succession (hi hat, bass drum, and snare all at the same time). What really adds interest to the drums is when they do show variation, as it becomes all the more noticeable and in turn appreciated. Blast riffs are accompanied by distinctive accents with the cymbals, usually a loud splash or china type sound used repeatedly to emphasize the note changes. This really brings the riffs into focus and adds a memorability factor. Speaking of riffs...these are very distinctively Sapthuran riffs. Proud, grandiose, and epic. They are extremely simple, consisting mostly of power chords and their variants, yet are arranged in such a way to be very particular of melody and mood changes. Emotion is a big factor in their construction and you get the feeling that nothing is done by accident. It really is impossible to describe the exact nature of such sounds in mere words, so I would most closely compare them to the emotional riffs of bands such as Kristallnacht/Seigneur Voland and scenes like Blazebirth Hall.

The bass has a fantastic clean sound, and follows the riffs in almost every instance. Anything else would be unacceptable. I'm really glad it is so clean and fairly audible, as it adds an extra dimension to the sound that would otherwise be quite flat without it. Anyone who says bass isn't necessary to raw black metal really has no idea what they are talking about.

The vocals suit the music perfectly. High and raspy, P.T.H. sings words that paint vivid pictures. The accompanying music only adds to the atmosphere, and the scenes seem to come alive:
"In the deep rests an unknown power,
one which binds the Earth as one.
One which tells the stars where to shine
and knows where next the winds will blow.

The weave of life is in the trees,
in the snows and in the hill,
in the sea so deep and mountains high,
and in the realm where spirits dwell
and turn the cogs of fate and time."

"The Wanderer" really is raw black metal at its finest. Minimalist song structures (2-5 riffs in most cases) ensures each riff gets played out as much as it deserves. Droning chords and haunting melodies paint a picture while plodding, ignorant blasts and sparse croaks tell a story of fate and nature, taking you to a place where the constructs of man are nonexistent and the will of nature is all that matters. Highly recommended.

- Z.S

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The last chapter of the new Bergmetal book talks about the song "Astigan Se Beorg" from The Wanderer: