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Saarkoth - Jera Award winner

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 03 December 2018, 6:41 AM

United Kingdom’s Melodic Black Metallers SAARKOTH have unleashed their first full length album, “Jera.” I’ve been on a Black Metal kick lately and this album only feeds the fire more.  I know a lot of troo and kvlt won’t go near this stuff but if you, dear reader, have that mindset then you are missing out on an incredible album. The melody itself is subtle, very much tinged with sorrow and gloom, as opposed to a more straight up in your face melody like with a lot of Melodic Death Metal bands. The first track, “The Coming of the Cold,” is an intro; I’m really tired of Black Metal intro tracks but this one is different—it really sets the stage for the rest of the album, a combination of darkness, sadness, and a bit of light mixed with the abrasiveness of Black Metal.

The intro leads into “Beyond The Horizon,” and it immediately shows the knack for writing melodic riffs that Baker and Arnott have.  The beauty of this song, and basically the entire album, is the space in between.  The way the heaviness leads into these atmospheric melodic passages speaks volumes of the band’s grasp on how to make a Metal band, and a Blackened one at that, be caustic and underground while still understanding how being catchy and melody can work to advantage. “Dreams of Emerald,” begins with a short clean passage but even when the heavy parts kick in, the guitars never lose that sense of melodic wonderment.  Nor do they forget how to thrash, as evident by the heavier passages during the lyrical stanzas.  The song has a great ending with some clever usages of keyboards and melodic leads that bring the song full circle.

SAARKOTH haven’t forgotten how to let their Black Metal side shine through all the way; “Awake In Eternal Sleep,” and the first two minutes or so of it, is straight up searing blackness.  The bulk of the following minutes are devoted to well written and played melodic bass and clean guitar passages but it all culminates back into that blackened fury mixed with melody for the end.  One of the album’s best tracks, for sure. The final, title track “Jera” is absolutely breathtaking in it’s beauty for the first minute and forty seven seconds.  Said beauty if trampled by some straight up rage and it is quite the banger.  The two parts of the song couldn’t be more different but they couldn’t work better together. This is both one of the best Melodic and best Black Metal albums that I’ve heard in some time.  If more traditional Black Metal isn’t your style or you think Melodic Metal could use a lot more edge, this album is definitely one makes it hard not to appreciate both styles.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. The Coming Of The Cold
2. Beyond The Horizon
3. A Land Divided
4. Dreams of Emerald
5. A Wound In The World
6. Awake In Eternal Sleep
7. At The End Of The River
8. The Wanderer
9. Jera
Asa Jones – Bass, Vocals
Lewis Baker – Lead Guitars
Ellis Arnott -Rhythm Guitars, Vocals
Daryl Payne – Drums (Session)
Record Label: Morning Star Heathens Music Group


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