Sargeist, Satanic Black Devotion

J. Edward Keyes

By J. Edward Keyes

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
The perfect soundtrack for 6/6/06.

A non-stop plummet into white-knuckle horror, Devotion draws energy from typhoon-like guitar work and jackhammer drumming. But where other black metal bands are content to throttle the ears with incessant low-end riffing, Norwegian quartet Sargeist lofts single, sustained guitar lines that crest and shatter against the jagged percussion, gilding their black clouds with a keen melodic sensibility. There's a kind of classical splendor to Sargeist's arrangements that adds a weirdly regal power to the atmosphere of impending doom. They're not kidding with the title either: in a voice that's barely more than a strangled rasp, vocalist Shatraug extols the virtues of "bleeding for Satan" and "finding strength in hate." In the context of stadium metal, that kind of exaggerated menace would be comical; set against Sargeist's pitch-black pounding, the only laughter that comes is the nervous kind.