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Tried 'n' true old school BM with raw style - 67%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, July 22nd, 2015

German quartet Sarkrista play raw frenzied old school black metal with thin raspy vocals and all-out scrabbly tremolo guitar attack and rapid-fire drumming. What else there is new? Well, not much really, Sarkrista are happy to bash away a style of cold blizzard-like BM chainsaw grind. After a deep frosty introduction that all but freezes off your fingers and toes, the quartet gets stuck into some serious Satanic stuff with "Hollow of the Writhing Serpent", an ongoing churning storm of vocal screech and guitar scree. The percussion isn't very remarkable and settles quickly into a steady groove, and the main glories of the song are in later riffs and melodies that swirl behind the vocals and bring in a melancholy feel.

The title track gives a better example of what Sarkrista are capable of: stylish raw BM with plenty of melody and gravelly singing that can be heard clearly. The musicians have an ear for catchy tunes and incorporate them into the song. If anything though, Sarkrista probably strive too hard in this track to deliver music that appeals to both the underground and the mainstream, and at times the singing is too shouty and aggressive when it should be hateful and just give the impression of rising anger. "The Fury of Revenants" is a further variation on what the title piece has already presented: again the music is good but the vocals are a bit tiresome from too much screeching. As with "The Evil Incarnate", the lyrics should have been a guide as to how to sing the song, with quiet, reverent sections and more triumphant parts. The final track seems to be equal parts celebratory and worshipful, as the musicians await orders from their dark lord to spread disease and death over the Earth.

This EP serves as an ideal introduction to Sarkrista's work: it straddles the divide between the BM underground and the more commercially oriented, pop-friendly melodic side of the BM scene. The musicians are a tight unit whose playing is technically good and consistent throughout. The music is raw enough to appeal to those who consider themselves kvlt followers but is not so raw that it would put off first-time listeners to BM. Those who want something distinctive and original had better look elsewhere though; Sarkrista are content to stick to the tried-n-true. The band could consider striving for a more individual style and sound to lift them above other acts also playing old school melodic BM.