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Phenomenally brutal - 91%

Noktorn, April 2nd, 2009

My god, the music on this album is the exact opposite of what I expected from the cover art; I was under the incredibly mistaken impression that this would be some melodic, perhaps slightly gothic variety of death metal that I would listen to twice and summarily dismiss. This couldn't be further from the truth, though, as Sanctification in fact is preoccupied with cloning the sound of a certain band that makes my heart go pitter-patter: Sweden's Aeon. Sanctification's style of pounding, ruthless death metal greatly resembles that of the more known band, and while that may not appeal to a large section of the metal-listening populace, there's little I can think of that pleases me more.

If you've heard Aeon, you've heard Sanctification, but the latter band might be even more ruthless and savage than the former. Sanctification's songs are bare and ferocious, generally hovering right around two minutes in length and wasting no time in getting to the hammering blast beats and grinding tremolo riffs. Vocals have the same roaring and demonic quality of Aeon, and the general aesthetic of flat yet ultra-heavy and forward production and blistering playing style is very reminiscent of that band. At the same time, even Aeon had greater dynamics than Sanctification, where the only reprieve on this album is a bare-bones intro track which is immediately smashed and cast aside like a broken doll by the first full-fledged track. This is enormously wrathful music, so single-minded and binary in nature that it would become droning ala 'Transilvanian Hunger' if the songs had a lifespan of over a couple minutes.

Yes, this is incredibly static music, but it's also incredibly satisfying, at least if you can enjoy the 'brutality reigns supreme' aesthetic that this album cultivates. The simple and brute force that this album carries really does bowl the listener over, and the short running time of the album overall allows this sort of incredibly narrow approach to function without getting stale. It's hard to describe this music because it's so primal and carnal in nature; it's an album that is specifically focused on hate and essentially nothing else, and it's up to the prospective listener to decide whether they'd like to here an exploration of the idea that's more focused on volume than depth. Personally, I love it and think that any added complexity would ruin the sheer fury that this album carries.

This is certainly not music for those who think 'Panzer Division Marduk' is excessive, or even for those who crave any real variety of melody in their metal, but for those who indulge in the grim, militaristic variety of brutal death metal practised by Aeon, there's no better an album to pick up.