Album: Sworn to Profound Heresy
Label: Purity Through Fire
Genre: Black Metal
Release Date: March 21st, 2021
For Fans Of: Sargeist, Horna, Azaghal
Incorporating Finnish black metal aesthetics despite not being from Finland is an enthralling thing in the music scene, and the German black metal cult Sarkrista managed to do it. After four years of not releasing a full-length album, they are back on grinding the earth with their third full-length titled Sworn to Profound Heresy.
Featuring collaborations with members of Nocturnal Depression, Curse Upon a Prayer, and AntimateriA, they keep their production furiously raw with a convergence between mid-paced and fast-paced melodies. What also makes this record distinctive is that they present a raw and belligerent take on black metal, intensely heavy on blast beats and tremolo-picked riffs. As for lyrical themes, they focus on satanism and occultism, which happen to be some of the most common themes in the black metal scene. Blasphemy is also one of the themes that stay intact in Sarkrista’s songwriting, and it is vehemently manifested on Sworn to Profound Heresy by featuring an album artwork of a burning church rising an infernal being-shaped smoke that is worshipped by four hooded figures. The artwork and the sounds of this album clearly present a gnarly way of showing homage towards some sort of an infernal force, if it really existed. Despite coming from Germany, Sarkrista has some sort of inclination towards implementing a Nordic aesthetic, shown by the burnt church artwork and the Finnish black metal-inspired sounds.
While Sarkrista’s sounds can be compared to the renowned names in the Finnish black metal scene such as Sargeist, Sielunvihollinen, and Horna (they have done a split with Sielunvihollinen before!), I also sense a Vreid influence on this record, particularly when it comes to the old school approach on black metal. This record is also comparable to the sounds of the Norwegian four-piece unit Kampfar, when it comes to the way both are eclectic in presenting a wide range of vocals, ranging from malevolent shrieks to anthemic choirs. Besides black metal, I can also identify some thrash influences reverberating through. The stark aggression of the blistering guitar riffs impeccably complement the abrasive drumming that is full of chaos, helping build a murky atmosphere – it unleashes voices of resentment and doom.
This album opens with an anthemic choir that has a solemn ambience and would remind the listeners of an ancient ritual, and it’s an interesting approach. It is then followed by the title track with its thunderous tremolo-picked riffs. Tracks like Lair of Cursed Remains and Ablazing Ritual Torches incorporate a progressive amount of bursting fury that transcends the realm of the dead, while The Chosen Ones of Satan would instantly make the listeners headbang in a ravaging way. Conjuring the Profane Fury is, again, strong on tremolo, and it’s also tremendously atmospheric. Destroyer of the Sun is a well-executed tune being played in mid-pace. The Beast Reborn has some sort of a Sargeist-esque kind of vibe and I’m digging it so far. The album ends with A Whisper From Forgotten Coffins which happens to be one of the album’s catchier tunes. All these 9 tracks just complement each other in a way that would radiate vibes of an ancient cult.
When it comes to experiments or innovations, they actually didn’t experiment on things that much on this album, nevertheless it is still a nice and gnarly album to listen to. It is not a boring album at all. In fact, Sarkrista has proved that they can make traditional black metal dynamic, and that’s a good thing. The sinister and hateful expression that is executed on this album happens to be one of its strong points. Not to mention, the tremolo and blast beats here have successfully depicted a haunting melancholy that’s visceral and otherworldly.
- Sworn to Profound Heresy
- Lair of Cursed Remains
- Ablazing Ritual Torches
- The Chosen Ones of Satan
- Conjuring the Profane Fury
- Destroyer of the Sun
- The Beast Reborn
- A Whisper From Forgotten Coffins
Total Playing Time: 48:16