My first love in metal was thrash metal. After about a year of obsession I found my deepest love for many years: power metal. Hence, the name of this blog. In recent years, after being at music school, attempting to record my own music, and opening up my tastes significantly I have come to understand extreme metal much more and now it is my preferred genre of music. Since this shift in my taste, I usually stick to black metal and doom metal, as those usually give me the biggest emotional response. I tend to shy away from things labeled as death metal, as I feel the genre suffers from the exact same things power metal suffers from these days: overdone, flat, lifeless production, and painfully derivative music. It creates a market where many albums released in these genres are trying desperately to approach the ideal Death Metal © or Power Metal ™ sound. Don’t get me wrong. I love plenty of bands and albums from both these genres. Hopefully, you’ll understand my tastes better as this blog unfolds. After all, I am reviewing a death metal band today. Or maybe I’m just ranting. Anyway, SHAARIMOTH!
On the metal archives, Shaarimoth’s lyrical themes are listed as “Sumerian Chaos-Gnosticism” which might lead some of you boutique extreme metal listeners to write off this band as a commonplace Halloween-ass black/death metal group. They aren’t. They are what many death metal bands wish they could be. First of all, the production here is actually quite old school sounding leading many to make a Morbid Angel comparison, which I think is apt. Although, they are no worship band. Second, there is a brilliant mixture of great riffs, something that is very easy to find in most Death Metal © bands, with great atmosphere and great melody, something that is harder to find. This is an album where you won’t actually want to skip the intro track.
Shaarimoth never stays on one idea for too long. If they impress you with a groovy riff, they will immediately shift gears into a crazed, breakneck fast section. The songs themselves do the same sort of alternating between styles, never leaving you bored from track to track. In fact, the entire record can be thought of a cross-section of death metal and black metal styles. Certainly, there is Morbid Angel influence here as mentioned before, but there’s also hints of Behemoth, Tribulation, and Marduk. This music unfolds leading you to its soaring peaks through carefully thought-out atmosphere devices and non-repetitive song structures. As a bonus, Shaarimoth isn’t afraid to use melodic hooks to lock you into a song. The melodies sound natural and not forced. My favorite track, “Fires of Molok”, demonstrates this perfectly.
The vocalist, Rune Andreassen, listed here as “R”, goes between low-pitched death growls and blackened shrieks that sound like demons of another dimension as well as punk-like screaming and Gregorian chant-like choirs that remind us that he is, in fact, human. His vocal performance paints a picture of mankind fighting the evil inside Him, and the evil seems to be winning. I especially love the last track, “Point of Egress”, that has some straight up clean singing on it. The guitar work utilizes the whole neck and every string. The solos are well thought-out and evoke just as wide a range of emotion as the vocals, sometimes laying down a steady, chuggy riff, a sombre mid-ranged lead, a shredding solo that isn’t just boring wankery, and everything in-between. Like I said before, these guys never do the same thing twice. The rhythm work is just as interesting as the lead work. My favorite track to show off the guitar and bass work by Frode Ramsland, listed as “F”, is “Ascension of The Blind Dragon”.
This album is amazing and will keep you coming back again and again. Check it out on Bandcamp or No Clean Singing:
Fires of Molok, Harba di Ashm’dai, Ascension of The Blind Dragon, Point of Egress