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Slagmark - Purging Sacred Soils

Purging Sacred Soils
by Robert Amer at 27 May 2020, 4:03 PM

Purging Sacred Soils” is the debut release from black metal newcomers SLAGMARK. With an abundance of earth scorching riffs, the German duo blaze onto the scene with ferocity.

The album begins with “Hexenhammer,” an introduction painting a scene from long ago. A chorus of women’s voices are accompanied by ominous strings and intermittent, foreboding chimes of a bell before “Feeding the Urge To Destroy” shatters the scene with a scream propelled by a blast beat and melodic tremolo riff. The melodic riff, like many on the album, has a medieval tonality. This track serves as an energetic opener; it flows smoothly and is apt to draw the attention of first-time listeners at a festival or concert. “Purging Sacred Soils” keeps the intensity going with high energy and more melodic riffs. Another unifying element appearing throughout the album is the subtle shifting of subdivisions in a riff’s tempo by the drummer, Valfor. This aids in keeping the pulse of each song fresh. A welcome change of pace is provided by “Built On Bone Hills,” a mid-tempo departure from the established hailstorm of brutality. It marches on and culminates in an attention-grabbing interlude featuring strings before this theme is layered and launched into a faster tempo. It is one of the most memorable sections of the album and has an atmosphere similar to parts found in SAOR tracks.

Eradication Of All Terrestrial Ulcer” returns to the up-tempo feeling of the first two songs. Unfortunately, there are moments in this track when the sounds of certain cymbals take away from the overall presentation—though this is only imbalance of this sort in the entire release. “As Cathedrals Drowned In Flames” is the strongest track—the most varied in structure, epic in scope, and has all the makings of a memorable set closer. The give and take between the mid-tempo and faster sections has an impressionable effect, in addition to parts in the beginning and middle where the chaotic texture thins out. The album closes with “Unleash Our Brutish Wrath,” a finale that sums up the aggressive tone this release sustains throughout.

SLAGMARK puts forth a solid debut in “Purging Sacred Soils.” While some of the tracks lack structural variance, the overall atmosphere is well executed. Revenant and Valfor show potential with this release in their strong performances. This record marks a good starting point for the German black metal duo.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Hexenhammer
2. Feeding the Urge to Destroy
3. Purging Sacred Soils
4. Built on Bone Hills
5. Eradication of all Terrestrial Ulcer
6. As Cathedrals Drowned in Flames
7. Unleash our Brutish Wrath
Revenant - Vocals & Guitar
Valfor - Drums
Record Label: Purity Through Fire


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Edited 02 July 2020

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