Saturday, January 7, 2012

Sacramentum - The Coming of Chaos (1997)

The Coming of Chaos is quite a disappointment. Sacramentum's sophomore effort was released on Century Media, in September 1997. Absent is the frozen atmosphere and majestic guitar melodies that hearkened back to Dissection's Storm of the Light's Bane. In fact, the cold Black Metal feeling is almost completely gone. This record features more of a Death Metal vibe mixed in, as well as some typical Gothenburg riffs that do nothing but make the album seem more generic.

Perhaps, the band wanted to distance themselves from the constant comparisons to Dissection (though one can still hear some elements of that band's style, here) that came as a result of the overall approach and sound of Far Away From the Sun. The icy feeling is gone and the music just lacks the same type of cohesion that it once had. For some reason, this record gives the impression of being more mundane and directionless and befitting a tag such as 'extreme Metal', since there are a variety of styles being mixed, with none being particularly strong enough to really give this a definite character. Nearly everything about this is boring. The thrash riffs lack any real energy. The Death Metal parts do very little to create a dark or ominous feeling and there is hardly any Black Metal left. The drumming takes a much more active role, driving the songs as much or more than the guitars, in some cases. Somehow, after making such a brilliant debut, Sacramentum decided to throw it all away.

The production is yet another problem that has a very detrimental effect on The Coming of Chaos. The sound is way too slick and modern. The drumming, in particular, is very clear and high in the mix. Things are just much too crisp. The vocals possess less reverb and are a bit too clear, for some reason. The guitars are kind of buried under the rest and have a flat tone. Far Away From the Sun featured an icy cold sound but here it comes off as lifeless and uninspired.

The Coming of Chaos is such a departure from Sacramentum's first album that it almost sounds like a different band. Switching from Black Metal to the standard Gothenburg sound was a huge mistake, though it could be that they simply had no vision of their own and could only follow what others were doing. While there is still enough of a Dissection influence to possibly interest some, this record is hardly worth listening to. Avoid this and stick with its predecessor.