Friday, January 13, 2012

Saligia - Sic Transit Glöria Mundi

Sic Transit Glöria Mundi

Anyone who’s familiar with the northern U.K. based label Barghest will no doubt be familiar with what Norwegian (Trondheim based) act Saligia offers up on their debut full-length effort ‘Sic Transit Glöria Mundi’. But for those who aren’t aware, Barghest (Who have only been operating since 2010) specialise in releasing uncompromising black metal art to music listeners. And while their list of releases have been limited and selective, you can always be assured of some quality black metal, and the kind that’s generally rooted in the cult lo-fi aesthetics and approaches to sound. Not surprisingly, Saligia’s debut is exactly the kind of album that Barghest prides themselves in specialising in.
Sound wise, Saligia (Who comprise of ex-Fordervet vocalist/guitarist/bassist Ghastly (A.K.A. Ahzari) and Dødsengel/Nephilim drummer Malach Adonai) produce a sound that’s not too dissimilar to a mix of Darkthrone, Attila Csihar (Especially in terms of Ghastly’s vocals) and Mayhem, which means that musically, ‘Sic Transit Glöria Mundi’ (Which is Latin for ‘Thus Passes The Glory Of The World’) is a fairly brutal and simplistic affair for the most part.
The opening track ‘Casus Gloria’ sets the scene for the album, with Ghastly providing plenty of buzzsaw sounding riffs on the guitar front, while Adonai blusters throughout with a relentless barrage on the kit alongside the guitars. Structure wise, there are some well-timed tempo changes to keep the lengthy track interesting, and Ghastly produces an equal amount of harrowing clean sung howls alongside some growling efforts. There’s nothing remotely innovative about the band’s song writing, and even less exploration in their delivery of primitive black metal. But overall, ‘Casus Gloria’ is a strong song, and does give the album a solid start.
‘Sar Ha-Olam’ builds upon the opener with many of the same strong characteristics, but with a little more extremity in the tempo changes (The slower bits are a little slower, and the faster bits a little more hammering and heavier) and the riffs soundimg a little more memorable, while the raw and unforgiving ‘Womb Caverns’ is nothing short of a full scale attack on the sense from start to finish.
As good as ‘Orb Of Flesh’ and ‘Shed Old Skin’ are, the general lack of variation on the riff structures tend to give the songs a bit of a repetitive feel at times, which is only made all too evident on the tracks lengthy running times.
Things do improve with the aggressive urgency of ‘Blood Staineth’ (Which boasts some of Ghastly’s most tortured vocals on the album), while the closing effort ‘Upon The Altar’ finishes the album on a high note with its midpaced and somewhat catchy melancholy melodic mood.
‘Sic Transit Glöria Mundi’ isn’t anything you haven’t heard a million times before from the Norwegian death metal scene, but it’s done exceedingly well. And that will no doubt be more than enough to earn the pair high praise from within the extreme underground black metal scene.

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© Justin Donnelly