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Sagreveht - Thanatology

by Leanne "Metal Maiden" Evans at 17 November 2022, 10:52 PM

Record label WORMHOLEDEATH has quite the eclectic roster of talent in its hands, so the prospect of reviewing new signing SAGREVEHT was an exciting one for me, especially discovering that the band hail from one of the bloodiest and violent places known to mankind, Sinaloa. The roots of SAGREVEHT are an interesting one and my natural assumption was that the thematic of the debut, “Thanatology”, would be centred on the aftermath of families’ mourning because of Cartel-related brutality and gang killings: I’m not ashamed to say that I jumped to conclusions. From reading the band’s bio, “Thanatology” was very much a personal catharsis for frontman and band founder Hiram López who was going through his own journey of hell when he was diagnosed with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequently went through gruelling cancer treatment.

While the world was weeping and struggled with lockdowns and life-changing events, Hiram faced his own demons head-on and created SAGREVEHT as an expressive outlet and creative output. The result of his enduring strength and focus is “Thanatology”, a dazzling debut that brings powerful and fierce tracks to the metal altar. Exploring the psychology of personal loss and death, “Thanatology” is a compilation of groove-infused heavy metal for the soul, paving a dark journey through searing melodies and charged vocals. Opener “Distraught” lays down a soft acoustic intro that quickly melts into tight, groovy drums and spitting guitars, laying foundations for an album that sways somewhere between groove metal and nu-metal, with fistfuls of heavy metal distributed throughout. Now don’t be perturbed at the mention of “nu-metal”; you need to listen to the album to understand that there are undulating timbres – influence, if you will – that aren’t in the least bit retrogressive, especially given the consistently heavy groove assault.

The likes of heady “22 Levels” aptly piles layers of instrumentation to the track structure, with a more groove-orientated output at heart and a smattering of nu-metal style effects, whilst the catchy “Sahara Rain” follows in a similar vein with a throbbing rhythm section and temporal switches to keep you on your toes. It’s these aspects that make “Thanatology” head down the road of nostalgia – particularly for someone like me who grew up in the nu-metal tidal wave – where the nod to DISTURBED, SLIPKNOT and DROWNING POOL can be felt. “Bringer of Rain” opens the floodgates with a barrage of metallic aggression in a pure drum onslaught and riff attack. The vocals are impassioned and clean, executed with a gravelly edginess – including some growled harmonies that perniciously solder onto the projection - and propel the track into oblivion, whilst a sharp traditional heavy metal solo knits the cut together effortlessly. The Sinaloan fire roars HARD in this fierce cut, forging the blazing earworm of the album; you’ll have “Bringer of Rain” on repeat, trust me.

Over the halfway mark, “Reinventing Hell” has plenty of potential to be a raging beast - especially unpinned by some fascinating syncopation and dissonance - but feels as if SAGREVEHT has played it a little safe, resulting in something much less hellish than could be achieved. However, “Witness Me!” quickly redeems opting for a more traditional heavy metal display, showcasing the class grooves the band nail, splitting solos and burning vocals. “Journey to the West” - if a little bizarrely - has an eastern flavour that courses throughout, but overall seals the record on a captivating note with some seriously impressive vocal range and joyful twin guitar harmonies, possibly bringing the most introspective contribution to “Thanatology”. Production wise, the finish is pretty clean, and the mix is decent enough - albeit the bass is a lost in a few places – but the end result is a tasty hunk of metallic filth.

Whilst a few of the ideas on this record sometimes feel misplaced, SAGREVEHT shouldn’t quell its creativity by any means, but rather harness its natural aptitude for filthy grooves and mammoth vocals   and ignite more of that Sinaloan fire! However, given that SAGREVEHT’s inception was a little over two years’ ago – with a few members short, nonetheless - it’s refreshing to hear the organic synergy between the band; there’s an obvious natural chemistry that gels effortlessly. Yet the biggest surprise about “Thanatology” is that whilst firmly rooted in the underground, a lot of the cuts wouldn’t go amiss as a mainstream release, making this debut all the more impressive, and certainly worthy of your precious listening time.

Songwriting:   8
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  8
Production:     8

4 Star Rating

1. Distraught
2. 22 Levels
3. Sahara Rain
4. Bringer of Rain
5. Reinventing Hell
6. Witness Me!
7. Journey to the West
Hiram López – Vocals, Guitars
Feryn D .Diaz - Guitars
Socrates Gonzàles - Guitars
Hugo Féliz - Bass
Aldo Hernández - Drums
Record Label: WormHoleDeath


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