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Label: Worship Tapes / War March Records / Niflhel Records

Date: October 16th, 2020

There are two ways to go with albums like the new Sardonic Witchery. You can love it for what it is or hate it for what it’s not. In short, “Moonlight Sacrifice Ritual” offers an antique approach to music without any intention for progress. Apart of a slightly cleaner production. But that’s about it. An old school album for fans stuck back in the late 80’s / early 90’s.

However, this record is almost refreshing when it comes to sounds like those. A one-man band, almost as a rule, doesn’t sound like this. Doesn’t even show capability of sounding like this. And now I’m not only referring to production work. I’m mostly shooting for these captivating lead guitars. Abundance of melodic leads that keep to the dark side instead of mellowing down the entire tracks is the key point where Sardonic Witchery sticks out of the bunch. And we’re dealing with a fairly primitive version of black metal with notable thrash influence. Basically, the oldest of black metal schools. Speaking of guitars, King Demogorgon, the sole member of this band, is not afraid of using even the solos to push his music to yet another level. Now, please tell me if you can refer to a one-man band having guitars solos incorporated in its sound.

As I stated above, hints of progress, or even a desire for some sort of a fresh approach is non-existent on “Moonlight Sacrifice Ritual”. The whole album is performed according to standards of the genre. Nevertheless, Sardonic Witchery offers an album that is interesting to listen to and not at all derivative. I don’t get that recognizable feeling of “why bother going for this record instead of a familiar classic of the genre”. Using a familiar and well-worn playing field to create a not so familiar record is what will win the game for the US (formerly Portuguese) band.

Among other things to note are the prevalent use of reverberating, almost chanting, clean vocal incantations. Another feature of the early days of the genre, before the screams took over.

And the mentioned production work which is crystal clear in comparison with similar bands and albums. Don’t get me wrong, Sardonic Witchery did not go for the plastic sound of the 21st century, but “Moonlight Sacrifice Ritual” is clearly audible and offers a full enjoyment for the hearing apparatus.

This is an album that will definitely be an absolute delight for fans of Venom, Nifelheim, Dark Funeral, early Emperor (minus the keyboards, of course), Desaster and many similar legends. To speak about some sort of an instant classic would be tasteless at this point in time, but Sardonic Witchery’s former reputation is certainly well-deserved and it can only be further invigorated with records such as “Moonlight Sacrifice Ritual”.

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