Fidelium (2011) EP
United Kingdom, Self-released, Blackened Technical Death Metal
Amongst the Catacombs of Blackened, Atmospheric Brutality…
In many ways death metal can be compared to horror movies. The obvious comparison lies within the superficial subject matter, yet with deeper research viewers/listeners can find another great similarity; the divide between the fans of old and new. Some new technical death bands, like the twelfth iteration in a big Hollywood franchise film series, slap the audience in the face with the auditory compliment to blood, guts, and gore, delivered in an almost sterilized fashion. Such gives way to complaints about pro-tool driven, break down ridden copies of a copy, or the modern “weedly-deedly” death metal bands that have forsaken the sinister atmospheres and lurking fear of the disturbing death metal of yesteryear.
Yet occasionally a new entry into the field remembers the absolutely essential atmospherics of old, while bringing a certain new flair to the genre. It drips with a diabolic climate, moving like a sinister, maddening force, playing at the edges of our mind, but simultaneously delivers the tingling terror that makes a listener/viewer say “I have never seen anything like this before” in both technique and subject matter. Everyone has seen a slasher film, just as everyone has heard a death metal album about zombies.
From Birmingham, UK, Sarpanitum traveled through the Nocturnus time machine to ancient Babylonia, Sumeria, and Akkadia, and returned with four songs of atmospheric brutal blackened technical death metal, via Leon Macey’s (of Mithras) Galactic Records. Fidelium’s monumental riffs and imperial aura recall towering ancient columns built in adoration of celestial beings, yet the abyssal vocals and soul drowning lows slither into the deepest catacombs of ancient creatures from the fathomless depths. Through this city moves “the essence of Sarpanitum: an unstoppable siege-engine of blackened death forged in the cradle of civilisation,” an apt description taken from their myspace page.
The aforementioned tool of destruction sits atop rolling double bass and war hammers of brutal death metal, carried in the cosmic swirl of celestial technical death metal similar to a slightly more melodic Mithras. This gigantic weapon is topped with the sharpened and imperial claws of modern Behemoth, surrounded in veteran war chiefs of black metal atmospherics, and fronted by bestial low vocals reminiscent of the catacombs of Nephren-Ka found in Nile. Make no mistake; this band is not simply a rehashing of modern titans, but a new force all in itself.
Returning to the analogy of old versus new horror films, Fidelium is that rare perfect breed of atmospherics and modern techniques, of old suspense and modern brutality, of ambiance and total, churning chaos. For the technical death metal fans who may have missed this last year, here is the reminder to pick up this vividly disturbing, yet fresh, and occasionally even catchy, powerhouse of an EP.
One line metal verdict: Diabolically decadent and soaringly sinister, this simultaneously subterranean yet celestial EP demands your attention.