Purity Through Fire, 2017
Genre: Black Metal
2. The Lurking Giant
3. The Gathering of Blackest Shadows
4. Summoners of the Serpents Wrath
5. Ascending from the Deep
6. He, Who Liveth and Reigneth Forevermore
7. The Sea pt. 2 (My Cold Grave)
8. Black Devouring Flames
9. Rituals of Flames and Skulls
Sarkrista have locked themselves away for the past year be fairly silent when it comes to releasing music. Naturally this is because a full-length was looming and it is finally here. Staying away from releasing music as fast as they have has done the project some good and here we finally see the band start to step out of their tried and true composition ideas. Don't worry, that core Sargeist sound is still inherent in the underpinnings of the project, and I doubt that will ever be leaving anytime soon. But I feel that "Summoners of the Serpent's Wrath" delves into a bit more variation before and some outright experimentation with what that core sound can give us.
I think they have taken some serious time to create riffs that are of a higher quality than the previous releases. Either that or they've just gotten better at writing and maybe we'll see Sarkrista crank out material of this quality very fast in the future. Personally, as a songwriter, I prefer it when bands take time to curate their riffs and try to produce something of very high quality rather than just release material for the sake of releasing it. "Summoners of the Serpent's Wrath" feels like a well curated album and only chooses some of the highest quality music within the Sarkrista riff closet. In order to complement this, everything else had to step up as well. Here the drums are a bit more elaborate in arrangement than I remember in prior albums. There's a bit more flare to the arrangements making the drums stand out a little more than before. I'm really glad they balanced Revenant's vocals in the mix very well, because it really helps compliment the entire album perfectly. This is, especially, the case when it comes to songs like "The Sea pt. 2" which is probably one of the more experimental tracks on the album (for them). It features a slow plodding pace and even has some piano sections complimenting various parts of the song. Overall it creates for a very incredible listening experience and they did a wonderful job putting it together. However, my favorite song on the album has to be "He, Who Liveth and Reigneth Forever" which has some of the most intoxicating riffing around.
In the end this is an excellent album and this is probably going to be my go to Sarkrista album when I want to listen to this band. The stark improvements they've made all around has really put them on a whole new level. I only hope they can continue to maintain this quality form here and even build on it if that's even possible at this point. Definitely a must hear album for this year.
Metal Throne Productions, 2015
Genre: Black Metal
1. Ascending from the Urns
2. Behold Perdition!
3. Their Drowned Sanctuary
4. Still Death
5. Festing Over Your Dead Corpse
6. Through Times Immemorial
Side Sad: ...coming eventually...
I don't know what happened, but on this split I feel like Sarkrista have really stepped things up quite a bit. Every track, without exception, is really really well done. On the prior material, it was very much the same, but for whatever reason these three songs really feel like they hit way harder. The rhythms are more intoxicating than even before and they really did a spectacular job all around. The vocals are mixed into the music in a far more balanced fashion, so nothing ever overwhelms the mix and we simply sit in pure enjoyment of what Sarkrista has composed this time around. If this is any indicator of where Sarkrista's future music is going to be trending, I'll be pretty excited to hear what they have coming next.
Purity Through Fire, 2015
Genre: Black Metal
2. Hollow of the Writhing Serpent
3. The Evil Incarnate
4. The Fury of Revenants
5. Blaze of Arrival
Sarkrista kick off 2015 with a new Ep pressed onto wax. They're also working with a new record label and this is on 12" vinyl limited to 300 copies. I was lucky enough to get a copy of this. The artwork for this release is something that really stood out to me. It's truly stunning material to look at and really fits the aesthetic of Sarkrista's sound.
You can expect more of the same, as much hasn't changed in the Sarkrista style since their foundation. I think they are experimenting more with production value than song arrangements. They almost have it perfect on this release, things aren't too harsh, but they're just harsh enough to give that raw Black Metal feeling, while still having production good enough that you can hear everything in a very balanced fashion.
At this point in time though, I wasn't as into the latest Sargeist album for some reason. It just didn't hold up against "Let the Devil In" for me, but now I'll be turning to bands like Sarkrista to get that new Sargeist fix when I want to hear a newer album in their style.
Immortal Frost Productions, 2014
Genre: Black Metal
1. Evoking the Terminal Curses
2. The Sea pt.1 (Rise of Leviathan)
3. Black Fog Shadows
4. Nocturnal Prayer
Side Unhuman Disease: ...coming eventually...
Sarkrista bring us, yet another split as they close out 2014. They bring out two more tracks from their style, and weirdly the production sits a little better in quality than the previous split. This still feel harsh and quite raw, but not as much as before. There isn't much to say beyond the two tracks here, but I do really like the song "The Sea" on here. This really stood out as a very solid Sarkrista track with great riffs all around. As usual if you like what you've heard from Sarkrista before, it will surely be just as enjoyable.
Misanthropic Art Productions, 2014
Genre: Black Metal
1. My Eyes Turn Pure White
2. Diabolic Gathering
3. Ashen Woodland
5. Hulluuden Porteilla
6. Murheen Laakso
Side Sielunvihollinen: ...coming eventually...
With a quality release like "The Acheronian Worship" it didn't take Sarkrista long to fall into the split track, a time honored tradition in Black Metal. Their first foray into this format begins with teaming up with a great Finnish band Sielunvihollinen.
The first thing you'll hear on this release is the stark difference in production, or maybe just mastering. Everything sounds so much more harsh when compared with "The Acheronian Worship", you can hear things feel a bit more distorted in the mix, adding a sharper and far more piercing edge to the overall feel of the split. Perhaps this was done to meld with the Sielunvihollinen side a bit more seamlessly. Either way it took a couple second to shift gears with this release, but once settled in it sits comfortably as a harsher version of what we got on "The Acheronian Worship". Sarkrista certainly aren't breaking new ground, so if you enjoyed the debut, you'll enjoy three more tracks of their style. The harsher production value works well with their style and I didn't mind that extra degree of sharpness in their music.
Misanthropic Art Productions, 2013
Genre: Black Metal
2. Grim Satanic Vengeance
3. Funerals and Flaring Torches
4. Ruchless Winter
5. Messenger of Harm
6. Realm of Eternal Coldness
7. Wrath Incarnation
8. Black Clouds of Revelation
Sarkrista hit the ground running with their debut album "The Acheronian Worship". This fairly experienced band hits hard with their debut full-length, but as with most bands today they haven't really formed into their own unique sound. You can tell that Sarkrista is close to achieving this, but for now a portion of Black Metal fans may find the album too similar to other bands in the genre.
Despite the fact that Sarkrista originate in Germany, may will find their sound steeped in the Finnish style of Black Metal. For me, Sarkrista do blend the two regional sounds together, but they are certainly heavier on the Finnish style. For I hear influences such as Sargeist (the most prominent), Horna, and Satanic Warmaster in their sound the most. Whereas I don't really find a particularly distinct band to reference for Germany, other than the fact that some songs have that German feel to them like you hear in bands like Shores of Ladon or Schrat. If you like the bands I've referenced so far, then there stands a very good chance you will enjoy what "The Acheronian Worship" is giving to us, because they really take a page out of these bands' book and mix it all together on a single release.
The performance and production quality are all very well done. The production is, frankly, perfect for Black Metal. You can hear everything that is going on, and yet there is still a degree of rawness to the whole style giving it that really sharp edge that I love to hear in Black Metal. At times the vocals may overtake the mix, but Sarkrista do a much better job mixing their vocals than many other projects. I've kind of gotten used to the fact that in the majority of Black Metal projects the vocals will seemingly take over the mix, even though they really should sit balanced with the other instruments in my opinion. It also helps that Revenant is a solid vocalist, so even though moments overtake the mix, it's not overly annoying, but I am still sad to hear the guitars fall into the background sometimes.
So, there are some listeners that may walk away with a rather narrow view of the project, because there are people out there endlessly looking for pure originality, when that doesn't really exist, ah well. For me, I'm going to enjoy the release for what it is, well composed Black Metal. Because no matter how you look at it, these songs are well written and arranged. There's at least one extremely solid riff per song that really stands above the rest, so the album never gets boring in that regard. There's always something very good going on and I look forward to seeing where Sarkrista eventually take this style.