SARCASM "Death Chants Of The Ancient Realms" Double CD (Chaos Records 2020)
With its foundation going back to the year of 1990, it was only in 2016 that the world saw Sarcasm's first full-length work, "Burial Dimensions". In fact, the group’s trajectory has to be put in perspective on a twofold-way, as 1994 saw the dissolution of the original band, with the return happening in 2015 by the hand of its eternal commander, vocalist Heval Bozarslan. Since then, the Swedish horde has been fulminant, carving record after record with a quality and incisive brand of Blackened Death Metal which brings memories of olden days yet sounding fresh, vivid, utterly timeless.
Following "Esoteric Tales of the Unserene", last year's opus and probably the best Sarcasm output to date, time has come to once again ravish through the dark past. "Death Chants of the Ancient Realms" is the aptly titled new release, a gargantuan compiling effort reuniting all the group's demos from 1992 to 1994 with further rehearsal tracks as extras. The result is an epic 28-song maelstrom of old-school Black/Death Metal that serves as an ideal entrance to the band's sound and vision, from the more traditional sounding first tapes to the thunderous obscure melody of 1993’s demos and especially "A Touch of the Burning Red Sunset". While the eruption of the extreme Metal Underground - in the early 1990s - and in particular concerning the Nordic shores of Europe - is well documented, one can't help but repeatedly utter a word while experiencing Sarcasm's music and its evolution in a short period of time: underrated. While the band’s recognition didn't come close to the several widely successful entities of said days, they surely didn't own anything to those in terms of songwriting and performance.
While initial releases such as "Soul Enchantment" and "Fleshwaste" presented a more straight-ahead sound based on the brutality of the riffs and vociferous vocals, there's already an attention and conscientiousness to the atmosphere and overall aura. The 1993 material extends the musical approach and its traits emanate from a further abyss. Sinister somber melodies strike with a ruthless momentum through intense riffing and dynamic variations in a pulsating rhythmic section, while Heval's wails burst spiteful than ever in a bundle of epic, wrathful vocal performances. It was in early 1994's "A Touch of the Burning Red Sunset" that Sarcasm engraved the masterful work of its initial run. A superb ensemble of Death and Black Metal, the four tracks lay all the elements of Sarcasm's recipe, from the potent discharges of brutality to the ominous melodies and malignant atmospherics, an imposing complement to the sumptuous metaphysical lyrical content.
Released on a double CD edition by Chaos Records, "Death Chants of the Ancient Realms" is the perfect vehicle to grasp and experience one of the early 90s strongest hidden jewels, a fountain of perseverance and brilliance from the past still far from draining.