“SAPTHURAN plays misanthropic Black Metal Exclusively.”
Misanthropic indeed. The hateful melodic gashes of raw Black Metal found on this album are enough to drive any mortal into a neurotic blood-frenzied state ready to gut his fellow neighbour and toss him atop a pike in the front yard. This is the atmosphere invoked by SAPTHURAN, an up and coming USBM project that seems to draw a great deal of influence from BURZUM as well its contemporaries (LEVIATHAN, XASTHUR).
This release seeks not to dazzle with amazing riff-work or over-the-top speed, rather, this album crushes the listener with an overwhelming atmosphere that captures the energetic spark aptly displayed by the progenitors of the second wave. The production job is rather nihilistic and relatively raw which forms the foundation the buzzing dissonant melodies build upon. This accomplishes a droning hypnotic pattern within the compositions that shed utter terror upon the listener like a nightmare made flesh (or audio rather). As soon as that first shrill scream pierces the air you know you are in for a hell of a turbulent ride.
The guitar-work featured on the album is not of the most complex nature, which is to be expected of compositions such as these, but does bear a certain quality that can only be described as charm. The melodies are tense yet inviting and are capable of altering the mood drastically with the slightest of tempo change or use of dynamics. At certain times an almost medieval atmosphere is established through the riffing in a similar vein to TAAKE’s most recent release. This helps build an epic structure that conjures images of violence and torture, truly horrific.
The rhythm department melds into the bleak atmosphere accenting the melodies with a steady pace. The drums bear that steady pulsating rhythmic quality which sounds like the incessant beating of a heart. The uniqueness of the sound is given a punch of complete quality when the horrific vocals tear through the maelstrom shredding flesh. It is of the high-pitched variety that seems to be found on 99.9% of Moribund Cult Records releases. It must be recognized however, that while there is plenty of LEVIATHAN influence in the vocal approach, the delivery does come across as fresh and has a certain quality of singularity. It also is of great help that they are mixed quite well and seem to almost appear out of nowhere, ready to declare war upon the very existence of man.
“A Means To An End” would be the immediate choice as a standout track due to the excellent diversity. When that fast break comes in at you cannot help but be taken by storm and pulled forth from the ocean of melancholy you had previously been plunged into. Compositions suck as this show that SAPTHURAN is a force to be reckoned with and need to be taken seriously. While not the most original album it is certainly quality and quite impressive for a debut album. The sheer talent to forge a seamless atmosphere of hate testifies to the fact that this project can hold its own against the scene’s greats and certainly has a bright future ahead of it. Turn of the lights and submit to a black holocaust illuminated by moonlight. (Online June 12, 2005)