Thursday, 4 January 2018

Sawhill Sacrifice - Pimeyteen ja kuolemaan

SAWHILL SACRIFICE - Pimeyteen ja kuolemaan (WOLFSPELL Records CD 2017)
The last package, which I got from Wolfspell Records, brought few releases of bands, which I have never heard about before. Sawhill Sacrifice was one of them. Despite having released their third album already, this was the first time I heard the music of this Finnish band. I don't think I even knew the name previously. It doesn't matter. This third opus is called "Pimeyteen ja kuolemaan" and I have to say that it's another great and recommended release from Wolfspell Records, in my opinion. 
was quite surprised with "Pimeyteen ja kuolemaan". If there's anything that can describe most of the Finnish black metal bands then it's the truly raw, filthy and obscure sound, with most primitive and simplistic means. it's their vulgarity and savagery. Meanwhile Sawhill Sacrifice offers music much more diverse and progressivenot necessarily focused on the traditional forms of this style of music.  Sure, it still is black metal. But just like bands such as Obtained Enslavement or Thyrane did in the 90's, Sawhill Sacrifice is not afraid to include different influences, different styles. Most likely you will be surprised how catchy and memorable this music is. There are plenty of fantastic melodic passages, lots of keyboards filling the sound of the band and even the vocals are varied (they are including female chants!). This diversity between all songs and sometimes even within one particular track, works very well and will give you an interesting and capturing listen. You will find out how catchy the music is, how well composed it is and how good is its melodic side. Luckily though, Sawhill Sacrifice didn't forget also that black metal needs to sound vicious, dark and nasty. 
It all starts with a symphonic intro "Kutsu", which was created by Rob Darken especially for this album. Nice! The first proper song "Sota edessämme" is one of my very favourites. It's very fast, aggressive and powerful in its first part. In the second section the music smoothly transitions into slow, melodic passage, which gives this song an extra flavour. "Minä palvelen Saatanaa" is another fine song, much slower, yet its melodic side gives it quite epic feel, especially with these few clean vocals that appear in this song. This track will show you how important is a good melody for "Pimeyteen ja kuolemaan" and that Sawhill Sacririce have a good skill for composing them (or the guitarist Blade has, as he's composed most of the album himself). There are obviously more fantastic songs, like "Lopullisen voiman äiti". At the same time, I have to admit that it's not like I enjoy everything on "Pimeyteen ja kuolemaan", there are maybe couple of fragments, which I would simply delete, because they sound weaker. The most noticeable is the whole opening section of "Kosmos", which just sounds shit for me, with that weeping atmosphere and bad clean vocals. But it's interesting that such calm and sorrowful fragment opens the door later in the song to one of the most aggressive, malicious and fastest parts of the album. 
Speaking of clean vocals and best songs... After first few listens, the song, which caught my attention the most was the closing track "Valkyria". Insanely good, ten minutes long heathen epic, with some stunning melodies (especially that final melody is just a masterpiece, absolutely fantastic) and amazing female chorus in the end (but also some male chants before that). Later I've found out that it's actually a Nokturnal Mortum cover!!! Well, I don't know this band anymore, I used to have some CDs, but traded them years ago and so I haven't listened to anything from Nokturnal Mortum in years. I was surprised then that it's their cover and that it's such a fantastic song. Well, no idea what the original is like, but this is just killer performance from Sawhill Sacrifice. Maybe it's time to re-discover Nokturnal Mortum music, why not? 
Soooo... I have to make some sort of conclusion for "Pimeyteen ja kuolemaan". But I am sure that the review says it all. It's very good, melodic and atmospheric, yet vicious and aggressive Finnish black metal. Nine songs, fifty minutes of music. It's not traditional black metal, especially if you compare it to such Finnish bands like HornaSargeist or Satanic Warmaster. Sawhill Sacrifice goes very different path, but I think that what they achieved on "Pimeyteen ja kuolemaan" is just superb and I sincerely recommend this album. I am sure that once this review is finished, it won't mean that I will put this CD back to the shelf. No, I want to listen to it again. And again. And I will be coming back to it quite often. For me, it’s one of the best Finnish black metal releases. 
Standout tracks: "Sota edessämme", "Minä palvelen Saatanaa", "Valkyria", "Lopullisen voiman äiti" 
Verdict: 80/100 

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