Monday, March 7, 2016

Sacrilegium (review by MMB)

Anima Lucifera
Pagan Records
Release: 18 March 2016
I totally missed the boat on this band. Maybe you have, too? It’s not too late.
Sacrilegium is a black metal band from Poland that was active from 1993 to 2000. They say that some 13 years went by until they got started working on new music again. I have heard the 1996 album “Wicher” and it sounds good and everything, but I did not really understand it and I did not get much of an impression from it. Maybe I found it too abstract or perhaps I was not ready for it. Whatever the case may be, I did not like it very much.
Strike one.
I have heard another recording that was experimental in nature: “Angelus.” I think that I recall some industrial aspects to it. I don’t remember much from it because it was too strange or I was not ready again (I work slowly). Given that the grand total of industrial bands and albums that I have in my collection is a sum total of 0 (big fat zero), my reaction was predictable.
Strike two.
It's three strikes and you're out. Here we go with the third attempt at bat, and did they strike out?!
No, it’s a homerun! Third time's the charm. This is more like it! They brought the goods and I’m riding this thing until the wheels come off.
This album is traditional black metal and what an album it is! Since they are from Poland, and since many people have stereotypes about extreme metal bands from Poland, I'd like to tell you that Sacrilegium sounds nothing like some Polish bands, such as Vader, Hate and Behemoth. Whereas the famous Polish bands are known for loud, chugging, thick guitar sounds, Sacrilegium is more direct, less disguised: you can hear the guitar work clearly because this band is all about the riffs. Sure, they play fast, and all that, but this band wants you to hear the actual work, and not just the loudness. The black metal guitar tone allows for hearing what's going on. The riffs, the tremolo and the melodies are all there at front and center. That, and the maniacal vocals that twist and turn, rage and scream, and put it together in an album and we have the Sacrilegium album that I was hoping for.
Now let me tell you the best part of all: the songs are memorable. It’s black metal, but this is professional, not a demo nor a garage rough work. You can hear the drums. You can hear the melodies. You can hear the tremolo well, hear well the thrashy riffs, too. The songs have plenty of speed and punching power, but they also have quite a bit of black metal melody. The result is an album that I have heard many times now and it gets better every time. I probably surpassed 10 listens days ago, so I don’t know what number I am on now. I stopped counting.
Sacrilegium was formed in early 1993 and Nantur (vocals) and Suclagus (guitars) have remained the core of the band throughout the years. Sacrilegium’s first demo “Sleeptime” came out in 1994, released by Pagan Records in Poland and Wild Rags Records in the United States. It was followed by full-length album “Wicher” in 1996, again released under the wings of Pagan Records. The same year saw the release of ”Jesienne szepty” – a split with North, released by Black Arts. In 1998 came another demo - ”Recidivus”. The next year Sacrilegium reappeared with a new line up to play several concerts. They recorded a new demo ”Embrace the Darkness”, only to split up in 2000. Thirteen years later the paths of Nantur and Suclagus crossed again, and the band has reemerged with a line up dispersed across Europe. Sacrilegium is currently working on a new material.

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