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Saklas - The One Who Swallowed God

The One Who Swallowed God
by Matt Bozenda at 24 May 2022, 12:41 AM

One of the best aspects of Metaldom is the minimum of rules; each genre has defining guidelines, sure, but there are no real hard and fast regulations when it comes to making the stuff. It’s the rules of other genres that get broken here. And even the music industry as a greater entity is not immune to the whims of Heavy Metal Mavericks.

Enter the Chilean gauchos of SAKLAS, a Black metal outfit who have debuted with  a nearly forty minute EP, “The One Who Swallowed God”. Named after the poem by countryman Pablo Neruda, the EP takes up the poet’s philosophical tendencies, as the overbearing existential weight of the music reaches outside of its given place, taking Black metal to places it might not otherwise want to go.

Each of the four tracks are able to stand on their own merits, which is good because there is very little holding it together on the linear level. The opener, “Mastering The Chaos Meditation”, firmly stakes their chosen genre and proceeds to hit the major hallmarks, but it does so in a kind of unsettling and discomforting fashion, made all the more unseemly by the occasional synth piano adding a spooky Gothic/Symphonic aura. After nearly ten minutes, that gives way to the two-and-a-half minute “Empty Realm”, where that piano sound gives off the cruelest old monster movie vibes.

The title track itself is a modern titanic epic, or at least it is for the first eight minutes or so; after that the listener is treated to a full four minutes of stone dead silence. When the music picks up again, it is a very different sound, more akin to a cosmic Industrial/Techno beat which reintegrates some of the more metallic elements as the song trundles past the sixteen minute mark.

The EP is wrapped up with “La Poderosa Muerte”, a cover of the song by Chilean Psych/Prog legends LOS JAIVAS. With exceptions in some places, the song is more or less kept in faith throughout, even though it violently transforms an otherwise mostly sedate Folk song into a Black metal monster.

The core of “The One Who Swallowed God” seems to be an ability to stretch out. Aside from the fact that Chile in general and South America as a whole seems to be fixated on bringing back Classic Thrash and Death metal, a not-so-strict Black metal EP which is longer than a lot of modern albums almost seems like an intentional threat. What SAKLAS has done is challenge the genre’s most loyal fans and dared them to consider something different.

That sort of polarization might turn off some fans but SAKLAS seems keen to do it. And who knows? It could pay off in a big way as a majority of the community finds the worth of “The One Who Swallowed God”. But then again, it could be just another excellent but largely ignored Avant-Garde moment in the history of Heavy Metal. Perhaps we will see when they finally put together their first honest album.

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Master The Chaos Meditation
2. Empty Realm
3. The One Who Swallowed God
4. La Poderosa Muerte
Had3s Cod3 - guitars
VoidLogik - drums
Berkana Ad Astra - synth
Record Label: Personal Records


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Edited 07 July 2022

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