Sar Nath – Sorrow and Psychopathium Consummate (2015)

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This is the second record from Texas Black metal act Sar Nath, and it comes from a man by the name of Travis Niemeyer who is here accredited as Lord Sar Nath Hypnosia. Though it has it’s funerary elements, I like the fact that the vocal approach isn’t a monotonous howl and instead literally sounds like a man gone insane. He uses all sorts of different approaches here, from thick growls to raspy scowls and everything in between. The music as a whole is tremolo heavy, though full of atmosphere and minimalist in that sense. It’s also very raw to fit in with the nature of the traditional black metal approach. There are even industrial effects utilized, like intermission “Hellrolling Deathwish Master” (2:46) which comes in thickly with bass and effect-laden vocals that almost change the style of the genre completely. This will probably upset the kvltists as industrial and effects aren’t their thing, but I champion approaches like this, especially when they still keep up with the raw feel of the music. Even guitar solos appear on the disc, which certainly doesn’t hurt. The core of this listen is made by that of the atmosphere, which seems to cover an awful lot of anger and frustration which I feel is what listeners will understand the most out of this. Sorrow and Psychopathium Consummate might start with sorrow, but it doesn’t feel like a morose and plodding thing. Instead, it’s much closer to that of nihilism and general disdain for human existence. It seems to capture the energy of the classic Norwegian era, especially with “Bleakened” (4:12) which even hearkens back to lo-fi Darkthrone. The disc culminates in “Aokigahara Residence” (8:20) of which I’ve been speaking to some locals about (the internet is an amazing thing) and the Japanese forest in mention here certainly seems to be a popular destination for death. It’s interesting, as the Japanese have a low homicide rate, but a high suicide rate. In any case, this piece seems to capture the nature of such a place rather well and seems a good send off to what is a very frantic and enraged piece of music. Niemeyer has definitely proven himself as a strong musician here and his experiments seem to intrigue me far more than anything else. Sar Nath really seems to accomplish quite a bit more than most acts do these days, and that’s something worth mentioning. I’m not the biggest fan of this kind of raw black metal, but he’s made it quite interesting for me and I’d certainly recommend it, as well as the dozens of other records he has created over the years. Purists will certainly want to take note however, despite the fact that there are still some (necessary) experiments in place.

(10 Tracks, 48:00)

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