Sarpanitum - Blessed Be My Brothers... review


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Band: Sarpanitum
Album: Blessed Be My Brothers...
Release date: February 2015

01. Komenos
02. By Virtuous Reclamation
03. Truth
04. Glorification Upon The Powdered Bones Of The Sundered Dead
05. Immortalised As Golden Spires
06. Thy Sermon Lies Forever Tarnished
07. I Defy For I Am Free
08. Homeland
09. Malek Al-Inkitar
10. Blessed Be My Brothers

I'm writing this as I listen to this CD for the first time. Pure, undiluted, criticism as it happens! You can't get more kvlt!

This is second album proper by Sarpanitum, the English death metal band who dropped their frankly insultingly brilliant debut eight years ago! Honestly I thought the band was done.... turns out not. So what we have here is a death metal concept album based on the First Crusade. The first song proper, "By Virtuous Reclamation," is written from the perspective of Pope Urban II, who launched the First Crusade in the eleventh century.

First impressions were.... tentative. The guitars begin very melodically, almost leading me to assume the band has taken a melo-death Carcass/Arch Enemy route. Oh no.... not in the slightest. It soon erupts into buried, guttural vocals, wild, out-of-control sweep-picking, and Mithras alumnus Leon Macey keeping that death metal alive with some of the most energetic, full-on cavernous drums I've heard since Swarth by Portal.

Portal actually seems to maybe have been a key influence here. The band do seem to be embracing the chaos even more so than on Despoilment Of Origin and I'm all for it. It lends the music a sense of energy and unbridled fury that is just palpable. Hate Eternal's underrated Fury & Flames also springs to mind, as well as Immolation and, of course, Mithras.

This is not to say that Sarpanitum are not their own band. Lyrically alone, so far as I know, for death metal this is a unique topic (Bolt Thrower covered the Fourth Crusade, not the First). There' s a wonderful asymmetry to the music. The drums and guitars and keys and vocals will, from time to time, slip out of sync, or at least appear to. This may sound off-putting, but it adds to the feeling that this is music that the band is struggling to keep control of, like a wild horse that from time to time will escape his rider's control. The asymmetry also keeps things interesting as the music refuses to fall into a rut.

A nice use of medieval paintings for the artwork depicting the Crusades sets off the album nicely, as does the production, which is perfect for this style of chaotic music. Not too clean, not too dirty. Yeah... finding it hard to fault this! An easy five stars and wholeheartedly recommended to anyone with enough musical know-how to be reading a review of an album by an obscure death metal band from England.

Hopefully it won't be another 8 years until the next one. Although the wait, it would appear, has very much been worth it.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 10

Written by King Bonzo | 23.04.2015


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

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