U.S. label Cimmerian Shade Recordings has been building up a roster of quality metal that spans just about all of the genre variants out there since its creation in 2013, and they’ll be introducing another strong addition in just a few days. On April 22nd the label will release ‘Songs and Dances of Death’, the debut full length from California black metal band Sarcoptes. You may not have come across these guys just yet, as their first EP ‘Thanatos’ came out back in 2013 but they’re definitely worth paying attention to if you’re a fan of old-school black metal that has hints of black/thrash and symphonic moments.
Just in time for the release of the album, we’re premiering the song The Fall of Constantinople, which is a perfect track to demonstrate everything that Sarcoptes is capable of. Right from the very start the instrumentals have that perfect mix of abrasive, thrashier riffing and haunting keyboards that add a noticeable symphonic edge. After a mid-tempo lead in, the duo kicks things up significantly and unleashes faster riffing that owes just as much to classic 90s black/thrash as it does the second-wave of black metal. There’s an emphasis on sweeping, epic sounding arrangements that suck the listener into their onslaught, and the regular changes in tempo help to keep things interesting. It also helps that Sarcoptes was able to get a fantastic mix/master job for the record, as the melodic sections and harsher riffing are well balanced and the fuller sound makes it easy to pick out the details over the span of this six-minute song.
The symphonic elements definitely give some nods to Emperor, and this is also supported by Garrett Garvey’s raspier high pitched screams which reminded me quite a bit of Ihsahn. Each word is delivered with that type of vitriol and force that works so well for black metal, and the raspier shrieks and screams are supported by some lower growls that help to fill out the sound. With a lot of American black metal focused on either the traditional second-wave style or the atmospheric variants, Sarcoptes‘ blend of European sounding black metal that heads into both thrash and symphonic directions feels like a breath of fresh air. Enjoy The Fall of Constantinople and keep your eyes peeled for this duo to make some waves in the underground.