Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sargeist - The Dark Embrace (2008)

In November 2008, well over three years since their last full-length album, Sargeist released The Dark Embrace, through Moribund Records. This 7" E.P. was limited to 1000 copies and featured the first new songs that the band had recorded in two and a half years. At the time, it was a welcome sign that this group was, indeed, still alive and functioning. What listeners can expect is another dose of raw Black Metal, retaining the old school approach and production of the early Second Wave, with the distinctive Finnish sense of melody.

The title track begins with a mournful riff that is not too far removed from Horna's more recent material. However, the overall feeling is still more identifiable as belonging to Sargeist. The more melodic sections blend well into the faster tremolo riffs and it really is reminiscent of Satanic Black Devotion, in a sense. The main theme is very memorable in a haunting way, and manages to remain embedded in your skull long after the music has ended.

"The Crown of Burning Stars" starts with an eerie intro that conveys a very gloomy and despondent feeling. In a way, this causes the listener to lower their guard, caught unprepared as the main riff then bursts from the darkness. The tremolo melody is more ambitious than those of the previous song, though maybe not as instantly memorable. It requires a couple listens before its full impact can be felt.

The Dark Embrace is very brief, especially for those of us who had waited three years for another album. In the past, the band didn't seem to give split releases the same type of attention as the full-lengths, since I always felt that there was something lacking. However, in the case of this E.P. they broke away from this, providing songs that are of the same high quality that one would expect from their albums. Sometimes, bands release an E.P. to keep the fans sated while they are working on a new record or just to keep their name out there. This is a rather obscure release, as it came in the middle of a five-year dry spell and was limited to so few copies. Whatever the case, it's a worthy addition to their discography and fans should seek this out, if at all possible.