Sarpanitum - _Blessed Be My Brothers_
(Willowtip Records, 2015)
by: Dan Lake (9 out of 10)
Sometimes the line between transcendent idea and hackish gimmick is fine indeed. The difference can be as simple as the competent execution of the music and its final recorded result. On _Blessed Be My Brothers_, the Birmingham-cum-Tokyo trio turn every moment of their third full-length outing into pure death metal gold. Predicated on a foundation of early Christian and Arabic music and built around the theme of Crusades-era atrocities (and the emotions of the historical characters who committed them), _Blessed Be My Brothers_ expresses its heady concept through Gigan-esque guitar squalls, Portal-dense percussion, Carcass-level solos and those satisfyingly low death growls. The album pulls zero punches, makes zero apologies for the brilliant clean sections, and drives forward with every blast-filled second.

In an email exchange with guitarist/vocalist Tom Innocenti, our man had far more eloquent and informed thoughts on the way the album achieves its overall impact, so for a moment we'll get out of the way and let the real deal speak for himself:

"Pretentious as this might potentially sound, I think it is safe to say that myself and [guitarist] Tom Hyde have both experienced increases in our own spiritual awakenings in recent years; perhaps this has influenced our sound somewhat. I think the most unique aspect of our sound is our atmosphere and our almost unintentionally melodious approach to song writing which isn't all that common in extreme blackened death metal. Rather idealistically, we wrote the album with the intention that all of the songs have a consistency so that it works as an entire album, but at the same time we wanted the songs to work as individual pieces. The same applies to the shorter tracks. They were written with exactly the same ethos in mind and are, to us, essential. The album is rather intense and these songs help to maximise this intensity by offering moments of contemplation and respite without taking you away from the momentum and atmospheres built by the previous songs. They are less intense but they most certainly come from the same place.

"We were very mindful of our production sound too as a lot of extreme metal these days either totally worships the old-guard and perpetuates decades old sounds or they embrace a modern, totally plastic, compressed and lifeless (not in a good way) production. We wanted to move away from this and develop an organic and unique production sound and I think it really helps with making the record stand out."

All of the above assertions are completely accurate, and they adequately explain how _Blessed Be My Brothers_ turns a sometimes staid genre on its head and shakes out an astonishing amount of valuable loose change. Spend time with this record and treat yourself to one of the best extreme releases of the year.


(article published 12/8/2015)

10/5/2007 J Ulrey Sarpanitum: Harbinger of Impious Hordes
3/25/2007 J Ulrey 8.5 Sarpanitum - Despoilment of Origin
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