Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sargeist - Disciple of the Heinous Path (2005)

Disciple of the Heinous Path is the second full-length from Sargeist. Written in 2001, at the same time as the material on Satanic Black Devotion, this maintains the same atmosphere created on their first album. It would seem that, along with other Finnish bands like Clandestine Blaze, Sargeist is keeping more true to the old Norwegian sound than the current output from that country. The feeling from Darkthrone's Under A Funeral Moon and Transilvanian Hunger is still present, much like on their debut L.P.

The album begins with "Black Treasures of Melancholy". The song starts with a fairly fast pace, featuring mournful and introspective tremolo-picked harmonies. Torog's vocals are much the same as on the previous album, though maybe slightly less reverb. There is more of a gargled quality to them, rather than screaming. Shatraug's trademark songwriting is present, and this could not be mistaken for another band.

"Remains of an Unholy Past" begins with a slightly faster tempo than the previous song, and the tremolo melodies are dark and haunting. These depressive harmonies will take root in the murky recesses of your mind and obsess you. Lyrically, this is definitely a tribute to bands such as Mayhem and Darkthrone. After a few minutes, the pace changes, in sort of an unpleasant way. The galloping riffs aren't so bad, yet the one in between them is entirely pointless and the song is sort of derailed. A couple minutes later, the main theme returns and the cold and hopeless feeling returns.

The next song is "Cursed Blaze of Rituals". This is much slower than the previous two, and imbues the listener with a sense of misery. The open-arpeggio riffs are reminiscent of Burzum. The vocals on this one are very obscure. This possesses the morbid atmosphere of cold graveyards. Halfway through, the song speeds up to kind of a gallop. This doesn't last too long, as the song returns the the previous riff.

The title track is another mid-paced affair, beginning with a very memorable and miserable open-arpeggio riff. The feeling of despair is thick in the dark fog that surrounds you. A few minutes into the song, the riffs change, building sort of an epic feeling before the song speeds up. At no point does the atmosphere if the song get lost, through any of these changes. Everything flows together well.

The cold and grim feeling continues on "Heretic Iron Will". Your feeble spirit is trapped within a swirling black cloud of utter torment. The slow riffs transition to faster ones, alternating back and forth with a catchier riff, which is typical of Shautraug's style. This seems to be pretty standard for Finnish bands, in general. Keeping within the established framework of early 90s Norwegian Black Metal, Sargeist manages to make things interesting, as each song is easily identifiable.

"Echoes From a Morbid Night" is the final song of the album, beginning with fast tremolo riffs and blasting drums. The song alternates between faster and slower riffs, always keeping an epic feeling. There is truly a sense of finality to these harmonies, and it would serve well as the soundtrack for one who is left to lay on the freezing ground, deep in the forest, bleeding in the moonlight.

Other than one odd riff that seemed out of place, there is nothing to complain about, regarding this album. If you appreciated Satanic Black Devotion, this should be no different. The only exception may be that these songs are more mid-paced. If you are looking for a morbid and melancholic atmosphere, then you should get this.