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Saħħar > Pjanetaċidju > Reviews
Saħħar - Pjanetaċidju

EP seems like a snapshot of a much greater BM epic work - 75%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, May 14th, 2019

Saħħar is the solo symphonic black metal project of multi-instrumentalist Antikrist (Marton Saliba to his mum) who is based in a small town named Pietà in Malta. Appropriately for an act based there, Saħħar's main aims are fighting Christianity and black magic. (The band's name means "wizard" in the Maltese language.) Just as appropriately, Saħħar's style of symphonic BM, while heavily dependent on synthesiser, combines vicious aggression, snarling vocals and a sound that is also unearthly, strangely exotic and reeking of decay and degeneracy. The contrast between the raw and racing melodic BM and the more louche orchestration can be intriguing - each genre seems to make the other more monstrous and less human than it really is. Antikrist has a knack for choosing the most unexpected and dissonant chords and tones to combine into a style of music utterly alien and evil.

The songs on this EP are all quite short and there's so much in them they pass very quickly so the EP is best heard as one entire work cut into six chapters. The black metal Antikrist brings to the project ranges from the fast and speedy raw melodic stuff to slower and more epic blackened death metal, with changes in vocal style that reflect the change in genre. The orchestral elements are usually secondary to the metal aspects and the vocals but they're varied enough that, if Antikrist had wanted to, he could have composed long tracks of atmosphere and drama without any guitars at all. Right up to the end of the EP there's a new surprise around the corner: church organ and a synth choir make an appearance on track 5 and the last track is full-blown Hollywood B-grade movie soundtrack orchestral bombast.

The earlier half of the EP is much more interesting than the second half: as long as Antikrist is blasting away on raw grinding tremolo guitar and shouting into the microphone, and the symphonic elements are limited to out-of-tune cold ambient synth wash that makes the listener feel nauseous, with just the occasional apocalyptic trumpet blast, everything is A-OK with me. Once the music enters movie soundtrack territory, it skates perilously close to theatricality. Maybe making the church organ the main instrument on one track was a more unforgivable sin than Antikrist could have anticipated. I fear Satan will not be pleased!

Each track has the potential to be a much longer and more developed work than what appears here and the EP does give the impression of trying to cram too much into a short recording. Perhaps some time into the future this EP could be revisited and reworked into a more epic and deep recording. The synthesised orchestral parts could be replaced with live instruments to give the music a much more raw edge. As it is now though, the EP seems like a cramped snapshot of something much greater struggling to express itself.