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Feeding The Crawling Shadows

W.T.C. Productions (2014)
Rating: 8/10

Emerging from the inhospitable corners of Finland, Sargeist is a true black metal band who has been plying their unearthly trade since 1999. A respected quartet on the European scene, Sargeist have now released their fourth full-length opus, which comes four years after 2010’s superb Let The Devil In platter.

To put it simply, if you like cold, cavernous and sinister black metal that reeks of satanic symbolism and hate, then Feeding The Crawling Shadows is another record you should own to darken your cabin.

Of course, the best quality of Sargeist is their ability to entice the listener by way of often slower tempos which give a false sense of security. The hate is puked out through creeping, silt-thick guitars and those dank drums which echo through every passageway. The quartet are also masters at bracing speed too, rushing through your system like a dose of deadly venom, all wrapped up nicely with catchy riffs and those distant growls and howls.

I’ve always been a sucker for black metal bands who can at once remain remote yet infectious by channelling their unholy message through interesting riffs and nocturnal meandering. Sargeist have become legends in their own right, still carrying the same black metal torch that made its way through the Norwegian wastes all those years ago. Sargeist never strays from their left hand path, and their expression of rage and misanthropy is one to be admired.

The line-up on this opus is Hoath Torog (vocals), Vainaya (bass), Shatraug (guitar) and Horns (drums), and the uneasiness they create is one that is sadly missing from so many other black metal of this ilk. From the opening title track through to the fierce cacophony of ‘Unto The Dead Temple’ and the dank pastures of ‘Snares Of Impurity’, this is an album that dwells in pits of menace, whether by way of faster tempos or more melancholic yelps of anguish.

This is really hateful black metal which culminates in the impure hostile trudge of ‘Funerary Descent’. Those of you who like to hear the guitar breath on black metal albums will love this record because for all of its contaminated qualities. Feeding The Crawling Shadows is masterful musically too; the record showcases the band’s maturity and knowhow in a field long since bogged down by too many generic acts.

With the likes of ‘Return Of The Rats’ or the sickly wave of ‘The Shunned Angel’, Sargeist have risen from their unearthly grave to take the black metal scene by the scruff of the neck and make their disciples realise that there is still life… and death, within this genre that has over the years seen some of its masters melt into modern dynamics and deathlier sounds.

Neil Arnold

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