Sargeist - Feeding The Crawling Shadows - (8.5/10)
Published on March 31, 2014
I hate to admit it since they’re such a well known band, but I only started getting into Sargeist in the past year. I’ve always heard their name thrown around but for whatever reason I failed to check them out. After eventually getting around to giving them a shot, I quickly found a new staple in my black metal listening. I then got the opportunity to see them live (one of the best performances I’ve seen) and then bam– a few months after that a new album. Let The Devil In is probably the best example of a catchy and melodic album that still feels like real black metal, but I have to admit I feared that on their next one they might continue down that path and find themselves treading too far into the realm of the light and fluffy. However, in Feeding The Crawling Shadows they have kept some of that and for the rest they have reverted back to their older, rawer material.
There are still some really fun guitar lines (especially in “Unto The Undead Temple”) and catchy choruses such as in the title track, but this is decidedly more raw and less friendly than their previous album. Is this a good thing? Honestly, I don’t know how to answer that. This is largely a mix of Let The Devil In and Satanic Black Devotion. Truth be told, it can’t hold a candle to either of those albums. The melodies aren’t as strong as in Let The Devil In and the raw riffs don’t hold the same mighty vigour as in Satanic Black Devotion. However, this is Sargeist we are talking about and they did put out a decent effort here. Although by far their weakest full length yet, this is still far above what your average black metal band is putting out.
If I have to give this album anything, it has a tremendous amount of flow. It tends to be really repetitive (perhaps even too much for its own good at times), and the flowing cold, moderately fuzzy guitar tone really saves it from growing too monotonous. The same shrill infuriated rasps are the centre of the vocal performance, but the lower harsh vocals receive a lot more prominence here than they have in the past. This is a very, very good thing. The production is much more raw than its slicker predecessor. No, not their rawest, but it definitely lacks the “pop” sensibilities (by black metal standards, obviously) of Let The Devil In.
Feeding The Crawling Shadows definitely does have some pretty awesome highlights; curiously enough these usually come as parts of songs rather than the entire songs themselves. An infectious guitar line here, a killer vocal section there – but it’s rarely the entire song that sticks out as a clear victor. This is the plight of this record in general. The good parts are amazing but the average part is good but not great. This comes as a bit of a disappointment after their incredible last album where just about every song was a clear display of ingenuity and perseverance.
So here we have it – the first album by Sargeist that doesn’t come off as an effortless victory. It doesn’t come of as a crumbling failure, either. Feeding The Crawling Shadows is their first full length that is good but not amazing. I’ll take this any day over what the next black metal band is doing, though. Featuring a solid mix of Let The Devil In and Satanic Black Devotion this is just that – solid. However, I do feel as if this is a minor disappointment – if only because of their track record of having a penchant for releasing truly incredible albums.