- Death Of Inner Self
- Caressing (Of The Spirit)
- Save My Soul
- War In Heaven, War on Earth
- Cyber Sleep
- As The Ash Fall
- Catch The Thief
- The End Is Nigh
Most black metal fans would like to say that they discovered a new album when they were dragging a dead goat through the icy ashes of a forest that they burned down the night before. I wish I could say this, but I only found Armath Sargon when sojourning through the internet (which, I guess, can be just as disturbing). Nevertheless, I’m pleased with what I found. Black metal has always been important and attractive to me on a level more than mere music (although, that is obviously a major factor), because, whether it is Christian, non-Christian or blatantly anti-Christian, there is always a dark, mysterious and intensely spiritual quality about the genre. But with bands like Frost Like Ashes on hiatus and the great Antestor taking their sweet time on new material, the only new black metal I’ve had to satisfy my appetite came from secular bands like Burzum and Glorior Belli; that is, until I stumbled upon Armath Sargon.
Hailing from the great land of Finland, Armath Sargon is a one-man, black metal project that was started back in 2002 with the intention of making its mark on the Christian black metal scene. Seeing how it is 2012, you could call this a ten year anniversary tribute, because the artist has some very important things going on this year. Recently signed to Sanctus Gladius Records, Armath Sargon is not only re-releasing some of his remastered albums, but he is also scheduled to unleash a new record in the coming months titled “Under The Moon And The Sun.” To get the word out about this upcoming release and perhaps introduce black metalists to his music, I am reviewing his late 2011 album Cyberian Inner Death.
The album begins with an intro of tolling bells that soon breaks into the solid, black metal track “Death of Inner Self.” Featuring high-pitch guitars, chugging bass riffs, symphonic keyboards, rapid drums, unconventional song structure and shrieking vocals, this song prepares the listener for the rest of the CD. Like the track itself, the album has its energetic moments and its more slow and doomy moments, with plenty of melodic areas in between. “Cyber Sleep” is a great example of how memorable, powerful and vigorous a high-tempo black metal song can be. Armath Sargon’s vocals, with a borderline white-noise flair to it, shrieks in perfect unison with fast drum beats and quick guitar/keyboard riffs, raising the adrenaline of the listener. In direct contrast, the song “Lament” has a more haunting approach, taking the traditional elements of black metal and incorporating them with dark melodies and sluggish rhythms that match the melancholic lyrics and serve as the antithesis of the brisk drum-work.
Cyberian Inner Death is not a pure black metal album, however; there are plenty of progressive elements that push the boundaries of the traditional. As mentioned, the vocals have a poor quality industrial edge to them—almost like the vocalist is shrieking through a McDonald’s drive-thru speaker—and I love it! That is the interesting thing about black metal; in many cases, the poorer in quality you go, the better it is. I will be the first to admit that I would have enjoyed an occasional variation from this electronic noise style (sometimes it sounds more like a whisper than a scream), but it does not hurt the album. In fact, it is one of the key factors that individualizes it. The symphonic keyboards also bring the otherwise raw recording some mystical ostinatos and, as a result, a more eerie atmosphere as a whole. Even the last track takes on a ritual more commonly known to goregrind, and blasts the listener with a noisy, final 7-second omen of “The end is nigh!”
Overall: From what I have heard of his past work, Armath Sargon has really grown as a musician over the years. What makes this album great is its ability to tastefully build on traditional black metal elements while still remaining loyal to the standard atmosphere of the genre. If you are a devoted fan of black metal, I highly suggest that you grab a copy of Cyberian Inner Death. You can buy it here.
RIYL: Admonish, Antestor, Crimson Moonlight, Frost Like Ashes, Horde, Renascent.