Label: Moon Records / Black Death Production
Date: February 6th, 2022
Oh, the conflicting thoughts and how to disburse them!
I’ve trusted Moon Records, and its owner’s choice of bands to sign, from the day I’ve heard about the label. There’s always been a quantity of talent on its roster. After all, the label did sign my own band a decade ago, and we’re among the best bands in the world! Okay, maybe we’re not, but I like us very much.
So, I get to trade for the new Moon Records (in cooperation with Black Death Production) release. Publicized as a Polish black metal band, Sarg was a promising (albeit, a simple) name. There was a time I swallowed anything that the Polish black metal scene spewed upon the world, all the while being convinced that theirs was a dominant scene when the Scandinavian bubble burst. Now that the Polish hype has died down a bit, I was hoping for another gem to emerge.
Then I got the CD. Again, it is simply titled which could be a warning sign. It is also simply designed, though I cannot say it is without effect. The cover illustration is, without doubt, evocative of the “Demon” this trio is looking to summon. So, I flipped the CD and found the track listing which contains seven “Demons”. Well, I’ve come to hate these “solutions”. They were intriguing at first, before they became a cliché and now it’s downright ridiculous. Will I hate the music, too?
Prior to putting the plastic to action, I’ve done a bit of research. It turns out Sarg is a ten year old beast, with “Demon” being their ninth full length record. Plus, they’ve got a demo, an EP and a split with Profanatism under their belt. Productive, or hyper productive? Quality, quantity or both?
I told you there were conflicting thoughts. And the one way to deal with them is to actually push “play”. So, I did.
Out of all the simplicity I wrote about earlier, it turns out Sarg’s music is not as minimalist as one might assume. Especially considering their mentioned productivity. There is enough variety here to fill out these thirty seven minutes. Stylistic diversity as well, though the band doesn’t leave the black metal playing field for a second there. What they did is combine a few traditional ways of performing black metal into one. There’s the roughness of Celtic Frost and Hellhammer, primitive force of Beherit, for best example, and the Nordic chill of Horna or early Gorgoroth. Surprisingly, I do not find much of the Polish ferocity in black metal, even if the album exudes enough energy.
Still, these elements are tied together nicely and thus form a complete and homogenous picture for the listener. Credit for this should go to the drummer, Kristofer, who managed to find quite creative solutions to the puzzles at hand. Even if the man is quite confident when it comes to black metal’s traditional rhythms, he displayed imagination when imagination was necessary, adding dynamics to the record which would likely grow dull without it. I’m calling your attention to “Demon IV”, for proof.
Honestly, I cannot find a bigger fault with the other elements that make up “Demon”. And I don’t see any black metal fan finding one. The fact is that Sarg didn’t create anything all that spectacular, or paradigm shifting. However, they also did not record “just another black metal album”. There is value to “Demon”, for the die-hard black metal fans at least. The others might skip, though it really cannot hurt to try Sarg out.
Hmm, perhaps there is one fault to “Demon”. It’s the “Demon VII”, an ambient outro that lasts way too long and is a calming experience. I would have expected ominous, disconcerting, unnerving… Definitely not this. It just sounds as if the demon called it a day, went home, kicked of his shoes, put his feet up in the air and just relaxed for a while. Simply weird.