Gothic metal

Sad Legend – Searching For The Hope in Utter Darkness – South Korea

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Cursive white basic font is one of the few stylistic follies in a mostly fine release

The self-titled debut of Korean Sad Legend (1998) had a lot of melodic black metal trails, but already on their second official release, EP Searching For The Hope in Utter Darkness (2002), Sad Legend stripped almost all the black metal off. Instead the EP brought in more melancholy

The title track that starts the EP is a particularly somber piece. The memorable and mournful lead melody with double bass thundering reminds of their black metal roots. The track also features some screeching vocals underneath until the band shifts to an atmospheric slow section. It is quite typical for them really and has some gothic metal / symphonic rock in it with grandiose clean vocals and growling doubling. Naamah’s voice is not as versatile as on their final full-length The Revenge of Soul (2009, that I also reviewed earlier last month) but he does the vocals with great esteem.

I am not quite sure who made the final decision to include female vocals on the title track because they are quite horribly out of tune. The folk/power metal flirting that they proceeded to do a lot more on their final LP is also present here, with an awful casio keyboard interlude. On The Revenge of Soul such misses would be completely gone, Sad Legend really learned from their mistakes. Luckily Searching For The Hope In Utter Darkness does end with some nice progressive bits leading to the brilliant lead melody.

It brings a pleasantly expectant tone as the second track starts. And boy is Sigh on the Billow something to behold. The cliche waves crashing on the shore and gentle guitar with magical clean vocals is a wonderful sigh(t) to listen to. I’ve never been a big fan of power ballads but Sigh on the Billow is a rare breed. The female vocals also work here. Or is it actually Naamah singing with a ridiculously high-pitched voice? Knowing the vocal capabilities that Naamah showed on the next album this would not surprise me.

The track ends into another overreaction with merry folk metal keyboard alteration of the main theme. Perhaps I am too unforgiving but after a few listens I grew to dig this variation, even though at first listen I sighed audibly enough to wake my neighbours.

Third track An Echo of Bizzare Screams might be the shortest and also the least memorable but the march style on which the drums are played with is particularly refreshing. It is a compact but a rather sweet track.

I might label the closest genre to Searching For The Hope In Utter Darkness Gothic metal but it does not have the melodramatic vocals gothic bands usually go for. Instead you have strong varied vocals and compositions which have a lot of symphonic metal elements and a distant trail of black and power metal with a good amount Korean mystique!

8½/10

Also check the review of their final 2009 release here: https://likemusictoyourears.com/2017/04/15/sad-legend-the-revenge-of-soul/

Sad Legend – The Revenge of Soul – South Korea

248819Sad Legend’s final album The Revenge of Soul from 2009 is quite a triumph. It features ridiculously atmospheric sections and vocals to die for! Naamah who composed all the tracks has a skill to slow down and bring cinematic pinnacles in sections where you would not expect them.

It is indeed a Sad Legend that the main man Naamah seems to have broken up the band and has not released anything since The Revenge of Soul (according to Discogs and Metal-archives).

The best part of the album is the thick atmosphere and the vocals. And oh the vocals! The variety of vocal styles is spectacular. Great clean vocals, regular, orchestral and also high-pitched falsetto. The black metallish rasp is something I really enjoy. At best it is also tastefully doubled. I loved the sound of Korean on their EP Searching For The Hope In Utter Darkness (2002, review upcoming!) but in in The Revenge Of Soul the articulation is even better.

But there’s more! The verse vocals on Executioner sound to be recorded with a crappy mic, the singing style is very raspy, a bit hardcore punkish really. On first listen the scratching of the mic got on my nerves. However the raspy sound soon transformed into really enjoyable and for an noisehead the scratches actually add to the elements. Below the raspy there’s also some angelic clean vocal doubling.

It’s unbelievable how Naamah, better known as a drummer is actually the sole recipient of all this! And every damn instrument as well! Seriously, who is this guy! I noted there’s some female vocals that are unmarked in discogs, so perhaps it is not the only unmarked thing? Who knows.

If Sad Legend were melodic black metal at one point The Revenge of Soul is gothic metal and power metal and also quite symphonic. Black metal is only present in the raspy growled vocal style.115942_artist

Axe, and Executioner are especially solid compositions. The variety between heavy, angelic, fast and punky parts of Executioner is surprising. Sad Legend has a lot of power metal trails and Maruta is mostly from those roots. It’s middle part is one of the key moments of the album with extremely graceful chanting.

Elegy of Slaughter Echoing In The East is at par with Maruta but lacks the big pinnacle. At least it combines four more frigging vocal styles (spoken word, grudge movie like, dramatic symphonic chanting, falsetto)!

The ending trinity is unfortunately not as strong as the first four. Imjin War (power ballad with some female vocals) and The Reaper’s Song (another different clean vocal sound) feature some catchy repeating vocal-phrases which aren’t my thing really. But it’s pretty entertaining to catch oneself trying to sing-along to Korean. The last track Night of the Hunt has the strongest, a bit folkish, cinematic sense to it. A nearly galloping rhythm is followed by a long acoustic interlude, some progressive section switching until the beginning rhythmics kick in again.

I can imagine the album separates people, some people are bound like the more catchy song-writing of the end-album, but I prefer the grandiose beginning.

The masterful vocal performances and thick atmosphere turn the album to an extremely positive release. There’s a sense of uniqueness in it that will make it a regular visitor on my playlists.

Searching For The Hope In Utter Darkness is musically probably a better release, but The Revenge of Soul is at par to it because of its more consistent dynamics, atmosphere that stays intact and better vocals.

8+/10

Also check my review of their great 2002 EP: https://likemusictoyourears.com/2017/05/01/sad-legend-searching-for-the-hope-in-utter-darkness/

Sad Legend does not seem to have any real presence in the internet, hence I cannot link their site!

For further reading, a rather good in-depth article about the 2nd track, Maruta: http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/107097/20140904/sad-legend-maruta.htm

Mozambique metal – Sarcotrofia and Darkest Place – Metals Around the World

In this special I am going to review every metal release ever to come out of Mozambique. In total *drum roll* two releases from two bands according to The Metal Archives! Both bands SarcotrofiA and Darkest Place are from the capital, Maputo. However, there is (or was) probably a lot more activity, as the trailer for a documentary “Terra Pesada” below shows there has definitely been some gigging in the past. Judging by their website www.terrapesada.com, the documentary is not out yet.


SarcotrofiA

540735The band does excel in describing themselves in their Soundcloud:
A SOUTHERN AFRICAN VERSATILE TOP LISTED BAND IN THE METAL SCENERY, FROM MAPUTO/MOZAMBIQUE, WITH SUPER JOINT INFLUENCIES OF MOZAMBICAN TRADITIONAL RHYTHMS WITH METAL, TURNING IT INTO GUTTURAL GENRE.

FOUNDED BY GORO FAST (drummer) IN 2006 FROM THE ASHES OF ANOTHER PAST BAND CALLED Sarcomaticaposa, THEN AFTER SEVERALS LINE UP CHANGES, BECAME SarcotrofiA. WE NOW SCREAM OUT OUR SOUND IN GUTTURAL ROTTEN PORNOVAGINOTOPSY WAY; FROM THERE UNTIL NOW HAS BEEN WORKING HARD, TRYING TO BRING THE BEST UNEXPLORED SIDE OF MUSIC TO THE LISTENERS AND LOVERS OF THIS MUSICAL GENRE. THE BAND HAS BEEN WORKING HARD ENOUGH IN ATTEMPT TO CREATE AN IDENTITY AS SarcotrofiA.

ACTIVE MEMBERS:
Namesis Daude: Guttural Throat
Euclides Anatolly: Rotten Riffs
Jubless Jubileu: Grinder pussies
Goro Fast – Drums

PAST MEMBER
Lolah Orlanda: Porno Vaginotopsy


I find it particularly funny that the other basic metal band roles are easy to find out from descriptions, but their bassist, whose role seems to be “Grinder pussies”. And how about that ex-member from the time they only did hardcore porn!

SarcotrofiA is nothing new in the game of humouristically heavy brutal death / grindcore. They released the 2nd ever Mozambique metal release, a 5 track EP Left to Rot (Hypocrisy’s Penetralia, anyone?) in 2013. They fall in the sweet sector of bands who are not full humour goregrind like for example Gutalax, but definitely have some tongue in cheek there.

The instruments separate quite well being still chaotic. The guitars lack sense of power though and drums have too much of that. Sounds are really similar to what a small European band might conceive as their first demo. You can hear that these guys can play their instruments surprisingly well and are no strangers to sudden tempo switches. Especially the drummer Goro Fast does an impressive job, fast tempos and all kinds of fills while keeping in tempo.

mz-lgflagMozambique has one of the most distinctive country flags. I mean how metal is it to have an actual AK-47 in the flag of your country. And how could you not use that in your grindcore, i mean guttural rotten pornovaginotopsy bands album cover. It’s meant to be really.

I am rarely a fan of goregrind and unfortunately for me there’s not that much interesting stuff going on in Left to Rot but individual riffs like the intro of Brutal Slab and Panic At a Morgue. Both tracks identically turn to chaotic blasting after solid hard-hitting intros, Brutal Slab has some more memorable riffing. The whole Panic At a Morgue track could be deemed almost progressive as it has about 20 sections just placed after each other. Even though the riffs are not technical by any means. It is a prime example that there definitely is a lot of stuff happening, riffs varying all the sudden and behind it very deep guttural growling.

The advertised Mozambiquan traditional rhythms are too hard to find, the band could really be from Europe. This kind of stuff has its fans too though. Central Europe has a lot of semi-humouristic brutal death metal / grindcore gigs, SarcotrofiA could well be a regular in those places, given different circumstances.

Listen Left To Rot from their Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/sarcotrofia/ghost-monk?in=sarcotrofia/sets/left-to-rot-ep-2014

P.S. Without me noticing, in the summer of 2016 SarcotrofiA did play a live gig in Czech Republic and in November 2016 the band announced in their Facebook that Goro Fast is currently the only member and he is moving the band to Europe. It may be that SarcotrofiA is closer than I imagined in being a regular at grindcore gigs around the old continent of metal. They also stated that an album is in plans. If SarcotrofiA manages to incorporate some of Mozambique background to their music, they could breeze some fresh air to goregrind.


Darkest Place EP

297518First lets make it clear. When you find an independently released “E.P” that’s the first metal recording in the history of Mozambique (2006) it is very hard to believe it to sound something else than a demo. And it doesn’t. Darkest Place unfortunately split up before they could make another release as their newest demo compositions from 2010 started to show a lot of promise, but this EP is wobbly.

Darkest Place is labeled as “Extreme Gothic Metal” in metal-archives. They do have growling vocals but it can be argued that the 3rd track Frightening Nights is the only extreme metal track. It is actually the 1st track in Metal-archives but my version labels it third. Metal-archives also lists a track called “Lost in the dark” as third, that I do not have nor does Darkest Place youtube site.

First two tracks Hour of Death and Wrong Creations are more easily labelled as one of the hundreds of gothic rock/metal clones that came after the success of Within Temptation, Evanescence and Nightwish. Especially Hour of Death is incredibly tame, almost a pop track really. Sure, Wrong Creations has some balls and distortion guitars. It’s overpeaked with amateuristic growling vocals and a 30 second + 5 second blastbeat sections. With a whopping 9 minute length it’s also an overly stretched composition.

Wrong Creations does some trails of doom oldies like Paradise Lost. At best their sound has some of the melancholy grandeur of Lilitu.

Musicianship is very wobbly. Especially some of the clean parts without distortion show that the guitarist’s timing and note lengths are too often off. It is not hard to guess that the recording is a work by a very young band early in their learning curve of instruments. I don’t think the studio technicians in Mozambique would have any idea how to record metal either. If it has been even recorded in a studio. The casio keyboard sound on top gives it unwelcome cheeriness.

Surprisingly the heaviest song Frightening Nights has a lot better demo sound. It has some black metallish darkness and is probably the best piece of the record. From 1 to 3 minutes the band luckily does not have cheery sounding keyboards in there and the dark riffing is very welcome. It’s funny to hear a gothic metal band that actually shows some promise in the blacker fields.

After 5 minutes Frightening Nights goes all cut and paste, a section after each other. Especially the last half a minute after some quite mindless fast guitar soloing is completely puzzling: guitar, drums, casio keyboards -> cuts out and turns to just acoustic guitar (with quiet drums) -> suddenly it turns to keyboards with different sound that fail to play the melody right + the sound of a lightning :D. It really reminds of Damien Storm’s grandiose puzzlingness.

darkest-place-ashesThe band has split up but their Youtube also lists a 2010 release Ashes of the Earth that shows a great deal more maturity in compositions. It would have been interesting had they managed to record these tracks with more experience.

This youtube clip must be completely computer made but the sounds aren’t half bad: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8qlTg5yBiA
A live clip of their newer track, “was filmed by a show called Rockzone, T.v Station Tim”:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rVDAjgjKzM
Wrong Creations from their first EP:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPMGByFaGbY
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Darkest-Place-111254205443/


Bonus material

Update 28.06.17

One of the makers of Terra Pesada Documentary (www.terrapesada.com) kindly linked another Mosambique metal band that is even gigging at the moment, Norbormide NMD (www.facebook.com/norbormidenmd). Self described: “NMD blends various Heavy/Death Metalcore and fusion elements creating a unique sound that will surely broaden your Musical Horizons!)”. These guys seem to know what they are doing, the sounds have a lot of punch too: https://soundcloud.com/user-291612655/vozes

SarcotrofiA

I love the few rare descriptions that you can find from Sarcotrofia in the internet. In total equals the amount of Mozambique metal releases, 2. The next one is funny and puzzling at the same time. I mean, this time the bass player gets titled in but drummer is stated as “horrible”. It’s actually meant to be a positive thing I think, haha! I mean just read this jewel: “If you hate brutal metal make sure you listen to this EP so that you hate it more. If you love this EP make sure that you call the doctor, you sick freak.” 😕 😕 😕

Sarcotrofia
It is the time for these zombies from Mozambique to prove that metal music will not be stopped, no matter what the circumstances may be. In 2006 the drumming maniac named Goro Fast decided to bring together a group of metalheads that could take metal from the mind to the gutter. I should warn you: if you are a politically correct individual and you get easily offended by disgusting imaginations, you better stop reading right now because things are about to get fugly. Sick and disgusting death metal is the only game in town here. I don’t have much information to tell you, except that this band is not for those with a weak stomach. The band is:

Namesis Daude: grunt screams chaos
Euclides Anatolly: guitar butcher chaos
Jubless Jubileu: bass abuser chaos
Goro Fast: horrible drumming chaos

The band writes guttural brutality with songs like the EP “Left to Rot”:
1.Ghost Monk 03:10
2.Brutal Stab 04:53
3.RATM 04:53
4.Benighted 04:29
5.Panic At Morgue 05:52
total time 23:17

If you hate brutal metal make sure you listen to this EP so that you hate it more. If you love this EP make sure that you call the doctor, you sick freak. http://www.soundcloud.com/sarcotrofia
http://metalbulletin.blogspot.com/2015/10/sarcotrofia.html