When Black Metal hits, it can be new and exciting, epic and evil, raw and powerful. When Black Metal got to the mainstream there was a strange a fusion and the symphonic and classical moments were used to keep this, larger than life evil power, a voice. When it works it works really well and certainly bands like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth have used this, incorporating orchestras and choirs into their performances. It has somewhat overshadowed a colder sound, a chilling evil touch to the Symphonic Black Metal. Where Emperor, Anorexia Nervosa and some Carpathian Forest dwell in the deep darkness of Symphonic Black Metal. It’s somewhat more subtle... chilling even. Sar Isatum are one such band.
Shurpu is the debut album for Colorado’s Black Metal band Sar Isatum. The brief epic symphony of ‘Sar Isatum’ breaks the album with a punishing guitar. It is all in the energy of a punishing music for Sar Isatum. The synth only an atmosphere to the violence. The growling vocals a powerful example of the best of Black Metal. Recalling the most sinister music of bands like the aforementioned Emperor, ‘Black Gate’ and ‘Halls of Pestilence’ keep the album firmly rooted in a precise and energetic fire that rages within the bands music. These tracks push the band to their utmost Blackened Death Metal.
In contrast to this we have the more symphonic variety of tracks like ‘Celestial Diaspora’ that closes by falling to an atmospheric arrangement. Showing the band can effortlessly move between a raging fire and ice cold stab. Both energetic and atmospherically chilling the album screams at you, but in the almost constant vocal work that keeps to an atmospheric growl, songs run the danger of bleeding in to each other. What makes for a very promising album throughout, hides in itself some ice cold gems within a snow below zero. This is a small price to pay for an album that is relentless in its evil, pure in its hatred and chilling in its nihilism.
Sar Isatum’s debut album marks a very mature and well defined sound for the band. It really shouldn’t be a first album, and therefore shows too much promise. Songs may cross over each other but they tread on themselves in a fast horde of fiercely proud evil. Shurpu is a effortlessly proud album ready to stand its own amongst the rest of the horned dragons of Black Metal. There will be a lot more from Sar Isatum.