Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sarkel - The Last Glory demo '98


Sarkel was Polish pagan black metal band active in mid to late 90's and The Last Glory was the only demo they officially released until recently in 2016 when a compilation CD simply titled 1994-2002 was released by Hell is Here Production. This compilation contains all Sarkel material: this demo and other previously unreleased rehearsals. Unfortunately I haven't bought this CD yet, and rip of it hasn't leaked on web either so for now we only have this demo '98 to enjoy.

The Last Glory was originally self-released as cassette in '98, and then re-released by Nawia Productions (also as a tape) in 2000. What I have is the re-release which is regular tape with pro cover. I don't like cover artwork that much, it's kind of too boring and too normal. Also, tape's not hand-numbered so I've no idea how rare it actually is. People still sell this re-release on Discogs, and the price is low so grab it if you like it!

The demo contains 8 songs and lasts for almost 31 minutes including a short intro and an outro. The music is really enjoyable mid tempo keyboard driven black metal. Single thing I like the most about this demo is how loud the bass is, I wonder if it's only me always paying so much attention to bass sound and bass lines; maybe the result of that is me thinking bass sounds louder here than on most other black metal demos - but I can hardly even notice the vocals, 80% of what my brain registers while listening to this demo are bass and keyboards. It may be because I used to, long ago, play both of those instruments, who knows?
I also can't single out anything that's bad about the demo - for me, everything is exactly on it's place.

Let's just make conclusions even though I could write about this demo for another hour, I do feel very inspired by it. So - what we have here is interesting atmospheric black metal mixed with pagan black metal and it's obvious that Sarkel had lots of potential - song structures are interesting, little bit complex and technical which makes me able to listen to this demo many times again and again without getting bored. Each instrument is very well played - especially keyboards which just proves Sarkel wasn't some forgotten band which released one boring demo with simple unoriginal music like many other bands obsure as Sarkel sometimes are... I really think there's nothing that could had been done better here, everything is very good and even though this isn't one of my all time favorite Polish demos, that's not because the demo isn't good enough but because Polish people just make so much amazing music. Recommended!

Edit: I've just found the 2016 Sarkel compilation to download in flac, I will add it to web this evening, but I won't be reviewing it on my blog. If you're registered on metalarea site, you will be able to download it from there after I add it. :)

                      Download my tape rip (mp3@CBR320kbps + pics and scans) @ yadi.sk

5 comments:

  1. When the history is written, it will show that extreme metal (black/death/dungeon synth) was the true "indie music", due to the endless wealth of artists who plumbed the genre. It never ceases to amaze me how so many different blogs including Hymns, Asmodian Coven, Diabolus Metal and many others can each post such a prolific amount of releases and not overlap. It seems to go on forever.

    Not a complaint, mind. But there may be more recordings in the BM area than even classical. Haven't heard this or the DOP post yet, so thanks in advance.

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    1. You're welcome. Yes, it amazes me as well how much there is to study in the black metal underground, that's one of the reasons why I love black metal so much. It has so much history, different countries have different black metal history and often bands have specific vibe, just like different eras/periods of black metal from which I prefer the second wave, and of course there's also so many different styles and subgenres. I've been studying black metal underground for many years, and I still learn something new and discover at least one band I didn't know about before each day!

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    2. Indeed. Being American, I was initially intrigued by black metal's Scandinavian beginnings based on social history--e.g., rebellion against Scandinavia's imposed Christianity. Of course the genre's splintered many ways since as you note. While I was very late to the genre, I've come to appreciate the different geographical vibes: I can hear the classical European musical influences in the French and Belgian stuff, for example. I'm nowhere near as attuned to the nuances of different bands as you, Velkaarn and readers such as Grev are, but it's incredible the amount of variety there is within the realm. And when will BM be duly recognized by the music community at large for creating an entirely new way to use the voice in music? That's a major feat by any measure. Thanks for continuing the history and the exploration with everything you do at Hymns, and contributing at the Coven. Very cool stuff.

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    3. Thanks for the nice words. I don't think true underground black metal should (or will) ever be recognized by the music community at large/by the masses, because it's not ment to be music for everyone - not many people can feel, understand and appreciate real black metal, and even fewer people admire obscure bands which made black metal with soul, honest and pure (most just prefer well-produced newer/modern black)... I mean, it should never become commercial music, and it will never be that. And I like that. True value of it is admired by selected few, and that's good.

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  2. Agree on all counts. Something I've always loved about the obscurity point is that the cassettes became and still are talismans: small but precious markers for the believers. I think it was an important aspect of the music's flourishing through the underground. Even though some groups would go on to cross over to the latter well-produced realm that you mention (Immortal comes to mind), the early DIY cassettes for those bands remain holy. Sure Immortal ultimately became simply a heavy metal band that used black vocals (and enjoyed endorsement deals with instrument makers and the like), that doesn't discount their humble beginnings.

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