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Ysgaroth - Storm over a Black Sea

Storm over a Black Sea
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 16 October 2020, 6:48 AM

YSGAROTH is a Progressive Extreme Metal band conjured in Vancouver, Canada that seamlessly blends elements of various metal subgenres into a vicious hybrid. Initially, YSGAROTH started as Kurt Steigler’s Black Metal studio project, a non-serious musical outlet, but over time he grew attached to the songs and wanted to take them live. “Storm over a Black Sea” contains six tracks.

“Rain” sets the mood for the album…bass guitar with phaser effects and some leads overtop, with larger crashes of drums and guitars, building into a structure that features full-on instrumentation. “Nam Gloria Stanas” is next. It’s over seven minutes long. Following a short opening sequence, the vocals come in…it sounds more like Black Metal to me. That is, until the odd passage at the half-way mark. I’m not entirely sure of what to make of it, but it does help break up the intensity, especially from the vocals. It seems like an unsuccessful mix-mash of sounds to me.

“Sacred” features a burning intensity, with thunderous drumming and riffing, and vocals sung at the speed of light. The raging intensity does not let up, and continues throughout the entire track. It’s like Black Metal X100. “Alter of Scars” is just under 12-minutes, opening with a bit more of a straightforward riff. The vocal style is what perhaps rubs me the wrong way. It’s both the cadence and the sound…the screams come off as almost winey for me. There are several different riffs here, taking the track all over the place.

“Forward unto Death” is a bit slower in pace, but those harrowing vocals and thunderous drumming almost take over the entire track. The guitars are fierce as well. Some clean vocals come in, completely unexpected. The dissonant riffing continues, as they push the sound forward. “Deluge” closes the album…and it’s a 17-minute beast. Following some opening chaos, it takes a step back, at least with the instruments…but the vocals continue their assault on your ears. But, the madness soon returns, double-fold. The sound drops again and picks back up again, in no discernable pattern.

Overall, my main problem with the album seems to be the generalized lack of direction, and that this is just Black Metal played with more fervor than your standard run of the mill works. The vocal style just turned me off as well. The incredible fury that the band has cannot be contained, but the lack of direction on the album left a lot to be desired, for me, and I don’t get many Progressive elements either.

Songwriting: 3
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 3
Production: 7

2 Star Rating

1. Rain
2. Nam Gloria Satanas
3. Sacred
4. Alter of Scars
5. Forward unto Death
6. Deluge
Shawn Hillman – Bass
Steve Cuddington – Drums
Kurt Steigleder – Guitars, Vocals
Jessie Grace – Vocals on “Nam Gloria Satanas” and “Forward unto Death”
Erik Leonhard – First guitar solo in “Deluge”
Record Label: Independent


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