Swedish death-thrash. Are there any finer words in the English language? A country that’s produced some of the finest death metal the world has ever seen. OPETH, ENTOMBED, and at least one SHINING and now SARCATOR. Formed of Felix Lindkvist (Guitar, Vocals), Mateo Tervonen (Guitars), Emil Eriksson (Bass) and Jesper Rosén (Drums) and taking influence from bands like SODOM. Whilst they don’t have the biggest back catalogue (Spotify lists two EPs with two songs each, and both of those releases were in 2019) they sound like old pros. 2020’s release is Visions of Purgatory, a relatively long EP with a whopping four tracks acts as a compilation of their previous releases. This sounds like I’m ridiculing them but when your sound is as polished as theirs producing anything is an admirable feat and here’s why.
We open with Purgatory Unleashed that I initially intended on describing as a whirlwind, a blur of notes but now I don’t think the latter half of that sentence is correct. A blur implies no definition but you can hear every note as its own thing. Each one is perfectly placed to give it its own identity but together it all forms a cohesive piece that gets you nodding along only a few seconds in. Rosén’s drumming shines through here as it is loaded with little fills and so tastefully implemented that I had to go and look up what else he has done. I was surprised to learn…nothing. He’s done nothing else that can be found online. He’s 17. He’s 17 and he’s great. Life is really unfair at times.
Ignoring my jealousy at someone’s talent the next track up is Deicidal, and indeed this sounds like music to kill a god to. It’s the musical equivalent to the painting Saturn Devouring His Son and is begging for a suitable video to accompany it. When the harshness brakes, there’s a slow lead section that’s almost floating. It’s so gentle that in many ways it’s the eye of the storm before Lindkvist releases a guttural scream and it gets so much heavier.
Then slow brooding power chords before letting loose into a maelstrom of genius that they have chosen to call Desolate Visions. Whilst it doesn’t have the technicality of a lot of modern Death metal tracks, it doesn’t really need them as the thrash influence fills in the gaps. It’s here where Lindkvist’s voice really gets a chance to shine. I’d like to invite you to step away for a minute and remember OPETH’s cover of Circle of the Tyrants and how powerful Mikael Åkerfeldt’s voice is there and then come back to the present. That’s how I feel about the vocals here.
The EP ends on a fourty second piece called Sepulchral Noise. This song is weird. Not because it’s especially unusual, songs of its type have existed for decades but because it sounds like a Napalm Death track. It’s fast, aggressive, loud and ever so short. It feels as though it’s meant to bookend the release and I feel as though it achieves that very well.
I hope this release isn’t the end of SARCATOR’s career because I can see great things coming for them in the future.
Words: Jacob McCrone
Visions Of Purgatory is out now.
Find SARCATOR on Facebook.