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Sarcoptes – Prayers to Oblivion Award winner

Prayers to Oblivion
by Kris Marsden at 09 February 2023, 3:18 AM

American blackened death/thrash metallers SARCOPTES have been around since 2008, with two EPs and a debut, “Songs and Dances of Death” (released in 2016). 24th February 2023 SARCOPTES unleashes their second release, “Prayers to Oblivion”, released via Transcending Obscurity Records.

“Prayers to Oblivion” provides and delivers a mammoth release upon the listener’s ears, offering five songs -where each piece tells horrors of twilight-light stories (stories in chronological order), from “World War One”, “The Spanish Flu”, to the “Vietnam War”. At the same time, where do I begin? Which song to pick for the first discussion? Sitting here listening to their infested musical spectrum and inking this review -I was deeply drawn into SARCOPTES music, their sound/atmosphere, the instrumentation/vocals…

Instantly the listener presses that play button, and one is welcome to “Prayers to Oblivion” opening piece, “The Trench”, a fourteen-minute piece which welcomes the listener’s ears with an introductory soundscape of rain, bombs, gunfire and an unsettlingly quickening heartbeat (simultaneously capturing this sound via headphones is genuinely horrifying) before the razorblade of guitar work, and bombastic drum work fires in -following suit with a horror-orchestral of the synths/keys and unhallow screams. The following piece is the “Spanish Flu”, a short piece with a duration of only four minutes -a song that captures this blackened thrash musical spectrum of breakneck riffs, drums and screams and all backed by a haunting keyboard work. And finally, the last track for discussion is another fourteen-minute piece, “Dead Silence”, opting for a thrasher and darker atmosphere at the start -before switching back to breakneck riffs and drumming, back with screams and haunting keyboard work—simultaneously, when hitting that seventh-minute mark of the song -the music drowns the listener’s ears and soul with this slow dreary-doom like atmosphere/instrumental (fret-board solo insert later on) score -backed with the sound of the tolling of a bell -the ringer of death -yet beautiful for some strange reason -making that the feeling of death has reached out and touched you and sent you to your deathly grave of silence – the shivers down my back with this…

“Prayers to Oblivion” offers the listener a unique blend of symphonic/epic black metal fused with classic thrash and death metal influences—set to a soundscape of nightmarish grandeur and brutal violence—at the same time, this is no atmospheric or ambient black metal band nor epic black/death nor thrash -but something different and unique, three of the long songs do not feel repetitive nor overdone/overlong, while the instrumental/vocal artistry consists of guitar work that utilising blackened (breakneck-speed) thrash riffage that’s razor-sharp, massive drum work consists of various tones, fills, tempos and frostbitten blast beats, the orchestral/keyboard work that captures this haunting atmosphere for each song and those vocals that capture the death, war, pain, suffering, torment and horrors confined within the lyrics and it’s these screams that needs a mention, within those screams capture the lyrical theme - simultaneously this is what I get and feel from Garrett Garvey’s screams -but not identical that of Tom Araya’s (of SLAYER) famous screams on the well-known song “Angel of Death” and within those Araya screams capture the pain, the horror and terror within the lyrics and the song itself. Then there is the “Dead Silence”, which seems to capture some essence of doom metal with the song slowing down and the “sound of silence atmosphere.”

“Prayers to Oblivion” is an impressive record that captures epic/symphonic, black, death, thrash and even some doom metal while telling a tale of horror, death, and war. At the same time, the production and sound of the album are incredible and massive, while the devilmanship, musicianship and showmanship deliver and provide five impressive epic songs -that need playing loud -neither repetitive nor dull -full-on entertaining.

Appendix, I love dark artwork. -brutal as hell! And there are no YouTube videos available for this album.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. Trenches
2. Spanish Flu
3. Dead Silence
4. Tet
5. Massacre at My Lai
Garrett Garvey – Drums, Vocals
Sean Zimmerman – Bass, Guitars, Keyboards
Record Label: Transcending Obscurity Records


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Edited 25 March 2023

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