Let The Devil In review by Sargeist

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  • Released: Nov 9, 2010
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 7.1 (12 votes)
Sargeist: Let The Devil In
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Sound — 9
A man of many projects', Sargeist/Horna
mastermind Shatraug has overseen the release of seventeen albums, EPs, demos and splits in the last two years, and the worrying thing is that most of them have been solo efforts. The quality control is lacking at times, but that's part and parcel of being so prolific. His obsessive creative disorder at least goes some way to explaining why it's been five years since the last Sargeist full-length, Disciple Of The Heinous Path'. Since then, we've had only scraps to feed on (out of tune, underproduced scraps at that) but Shatraug's finally left the bedroom for the kitchen and dinner is now served. Empire Of Suffering' lands with the impact of a mortar shell. Here, Shatraug has thrust his arm back through time, grabbed ahold of 2003's seminal Satanic Black Devotion' and pulled it through seven years of songwriting and engineering progression to unleash it on the new decade with full force. It doesn't stop there, either. The entire album is a hurricane of drama and fury, a complete work that is full in sound but raw in style. After the lo-fi wandering of the last few years, it is incredibly satisfying to hear such an emphatic return to what Sargeist does best. That is, taking what Darkthrone did best (trems n blasts on Transilvanian Hunger', FYI) and bringing the cold heart to boiling point. Desensitization leaves mediocrity by the wayside in this extreme metal landscape; it's tough to get by on simple devices but once again, it's pure band chemistry that does the trick. Together the group march through hellish darkness, laying down melancholy suspensions and the natural minor scale as they go; and while it's not a wall-to-wall blast, the emotional pace of the thing is frighteningly quick.

Lyrics — 9
Ah, another way to separate the men from the boys a commanding vocal performance! Behexen's Hoath Torog goes in and gets the job done, channelling the hate and suchlike into something that sounds worryingly like professionalism. If you're not picked up by the whirlwind you may be left behind forever but if anything's gonna pull you back in it's going to be the vocals. Vile, rotten icing on the burnt black cake.

Overall Impression — 10
Dark, fast, melodic, harmonic; Sargeist have here delivered a sucker punch to all the post-atmospheric-black-gaze guff that's taken precedence recently by crafting something that cuts no corners, makes no compromises and yet remains utterly accessible to anybody with even a fleeting interest in black metal. Bolstered by a mix that gives his haunting melodic sense all the power of hell and earth, Shatraug's finally got something to top Satanic Black Devotion'. Really, I just suggest you go and hear it for yourselves. It's one of the best albums of the year - undoubtedly the best black metal has had to offer - so go, go! Who knows how long it'll be before you'll be able to feast like this again?

60 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Northernmight
    Damn.. First time i've ever seen good Black Metal advertised on UG. THANKS! gotta check this album out for sure.
    krvolok
    If you want to believe that TH(song) is better than Pagan Winter again so be it.
    The Wildchild
    I do not seek to convert anyone, I just want answers. I didn't offer any analysis because I wasn't the one who presented the idea in question. I know it's a cop-out to say that you're butthurt but it seems that this is the case. The Renaissance era itself isn't pseudo-intellectual; I don't know where you got the notion that I said it was so. It's just that how you brought it up in the argument it had nothing to do with was clearly an attempt on looking smart. Well, I guess that's enough ad homs for the day.
    krvolok
    How can I be butthurt when you didnt even try to disprove my thesis? FYI in art The Renascence is sometimes regarded a degenerative period.
    The Wildchild
    You didn't even answer my questions. I didn't try to disprove anyone, I just wanted answers with strong foundations. Whether or not The Renaissance was a regressive era is not related to black metal, which is not a parallel to which the Renaissance can be compared to. You're spewing out knee-jerk reactions at a frightening rate.
    valdean
    What's this, we're comparing music with something else in a pretentious manner to prove our "intellect"? Fine. Say, I do think of black metal is in spirit fused with Corn Flakes. It's a syncretism bound to reveal itself in time. Most people find their Corn Flakes most enjoyable just after the milk has been poured in, but after a while when they become soggy, they're not as delicious. I feel that black metal acts in resemblance to this corn based cereal, in that the early periods of black metal were raw and crunchy, but after a while it was like there was no morpic field to rejuvenate the element, and it went with the stream and became watered out. Or should I say, milked out. It is truly a resacralization of tremendous proportions.
    krvolok
    And you are holding the line ever more so.I answered your questions,TH is not as good as the previous albums because it was made just to feed the scene with "Cvlt" material and if you really can't see beyond your dogma and by all means attack me or my thesis,it wont change the fact that you're just a pious crusader of "true" BM and therefor wrong.And notice no IMOs!
    The Wildchild
    Did Darkthrone explicitly state that it was meant to "feed the scene"? Did you ever think about the artist's intentions for making the album, instead of what the album's impression was to you? IMOs or not, you're still basing your arguments on unfounded speculation and personal opinions. Hell, even your ad homs are based on speculation.
    krvolok
    IMOs or not, you're still basing your arguments on unfounded speculation and personal opinions. Hell, even your ad homs are based on speculation.
    but then wildchild so are yours.Your are still actively trying to convert me.You have a need to force you opinion on me,I have answered your question-you didn't like the answer-so I must be wrong.I have given you a theory based on empiric evidence which is self proving but all you see are IMOs and pseudo-intellectualism,on the other hand I see a person who is so bogged in her believes that nothing except that which verifies her point can be viewed as evidence.Unfounded,very well then by default both yours and mine are unfounded because they both derive from the individual conclusions we made.I say deal with,embrace it.
    theogonia777
    i for one don't care for corn flakes. i think Let The Devil In, and to some black metal as a whole, is better compared to a jelly donut. at first you're like "well, people seem to really like these things, so i'll try one." you take your first bite. and... big deal, it's just a regular nothing special donut, but then... the jelly center! hells yeah, this is what i'm talking about! i've really been missing out! but eventually, you finish the jelly part, and it is over to soon, leaving you with the rest of the donut, and it gets unexciting again. until the next donut. i found this album to be rather like that, at first it sounded like it would be just another boring old black metal album, but before long it picked up and became quite interesting, but before the end becomes a bit repetitive, but yet you are still excited about the next album. i liked "From the Black Coffin Lair" in particular. good find, mr duncang (i still didn't like the review though, but whatever)
    krvolok
    Let me add this.In your eyes I'm wrong,today.Perspectives change over time,I know,I was looking at it not to differently from you.So tap yourself on the shoulder,you won a major battle for all BM censors.
    The Wildchild
    Again, you have failed to provide answers to the questions that really matter. I think that says much about the foundations of your opinions, which are just facades, behind which are nothing.
    krvolok
    Again you refuse to validate them simply because they don't suit your opinions.Facades,well if that comforts you so be it,I have no ego to bruise.
    The Wildchild
    krvolok wrote: That is, taking what Darkthrone did best (trems n blasts on Transilvanian Hunger, FYI) FYI you're dead wrong.Despite popular believes Darkthrone's first two black metal albums(A blaze in the northern sky and Under the funeral moon) were the band's best BM releases.Comparatively,Transilvanian Hunger is just uniformed BM.
    From what I've gathered, I can safely say that this statement amounts to nothing.
    The Wildchild
    Dark Funeral are about as generic as you get in black metal. Trem picking, generic song structures, blast beats, razor sharp guitars, shrieks etc. Well, you came in here saying that Transilvanian Hunger was a plain and generic BM album without backing it up with substantial analysis. Instead you went for pseudo-intellectual statements such as bringing up the Renaissance era and comparing it to BM. Unfounded speculation, really.
    krvolok
    and if Bathory's Call From the Grave or Emperor's Inno A Satana are lesser than Jesu dod then you're completely right.
    The Wildchild
    Ooh, look at you, throwing questions to avoid scrutiny! I never said that Transilvanian Hunger is better than any of those. I never said that it's worse either. Personally, I prefer A Blaze in the Northern Sky over most of Darkthrone's early BM output. I like how the riffs on that album seem to fit quite well together. Now, explain to us how Transilvanian Hunger is a generic release.
    krvolok
    You are the one who is avoiding answers.TH>Pagan Winter? I never leave and question unanswered,ask away. "Black metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal. It often uses fast tempos, shrieked vocals, highly distorted guitars played with tremolo picking, blast beat drumming, and unconventional song structure." From the greatest web site ever,Wikipedia Now Lets take a look at TH all riffs are tremolo picked,all are in the usual 4/4 or 2/4 measure,the drumming is almost completely blast beat with an occasional break.The vocals are shrieks and the lyrics are abut Satan,vampires,darkness.Generic when compared with Emperor IX Equilibrium,which has non standard timing,clean vocals lyrics abut mythology,nature and philosophy,shattering performance,blast beats over 200 bpm,double bass drumming,half time feels.Even more so generic when compared to Enslaved's Vikingligr Veldi or Frost.
    The Wildchild
    Avoiding answers? Never leaving questions unanswered? Are you that dense? Yes, Wikipedia is infallible. >_> ALL HAIL THE GREAT KVLT WIKIPEDIA RITE?! (this alone renders your argument baseless, but I'll play along) Diversity doesn't necessarily entail great art (Opeth is a great example of this). Transilvanian Hunger expresses the ideas of emptiness and darkness clearly through the repetition of ideas. Music is about sensible composition, not about who has the most odd meters, who has more clean sections, synths, breakdowns, or quirks. Transilvanian Hunger is an example of an album which expresses the ideas of its creators clearly, however simple it may seem.
    krvolok
    The Wildchild wrote: And I still don't have my answers!
    No,no,no wildchild you're completely right,those albums are actually great and the earth has the circumference of 21.000 km.
    krvolok
    Wildchild,I,unlike you do not seek to convert people into my way of thinking.You didn't offer any analysis of your own,no you just acted like a defender of the faith and you "held the line".If my statement was pseudo-intellectual why not disprove it,ah but you see if De revolutionibus orbium coelestium can not be disproven...If you wish to continue this argument you have my adress.
    krvolok
    The difference between Dark Funeral and the rest is in the details.And they say the devil is in the details, like build ups,drumming,guitar arraignments and thinking out side the box.
    It seems like you're basing your argument on personal preferences and unfounded speculations...
    You see you really don't know me,because I never do that.And I never speculate,as you may know I have a thing abut metalcore,but before posting I go to you tube or their my space or what ever and actually check them out.And all of these albums we have mentioned,I have them and I gave them a lot of time listening wise and I even like some of them.But the fact that I like nay love Behemoth's Sventevid doesn't alter the fact that it is for the better part generic.
    krvolok
    That is, taking what Darkthrone did best (trems n blasts on Transilvanian Hunger, FYI)
    FYI you're dead wrong.Despite popular believes Darkthrone's first two black metal albums(A blaze in the northern sky and Under the funeral moon) were the band's best BM releases.Comparatively,Transilvanian Hunger is just uniformed BM.
    EpiExplorer
    Hells.Mascot wrote: The little flash widget link to Amazon samples popout (which appears to be embedded, according to the HTML source) is great!
    Actually yeah.
    The Wildchild
    krvolok wrote: Darkthrone's first two black metal albums best BM releases.Comparatively,Transilvanian Hunger is just uniformed BM.
    Well that's not for you to decide now, is it?
    NatG
    Nice review, well done. The album is great, a must buy for black metal fans.
    rob904
    Sargeist have here delivered a sucker punch to all the post-atmospheric-black-gaze guff thats taken precedence recently
    lol, Alcest burn
    krvolok
    The Wildchild wrote: krvolok wrote: Darkthrone's first two black metal albums best BM releases.Comparatively,Transilvanian Hunger is just uniformed BM. Well that's not for you to decide now, is it?
    I didn't decide that TH is bad.I just see beyond the all the hype.And Pazerfaust is a much better even though Ferniz does the vocal on that album.
    The Wildchild
    Well, you kind of did. How is it bad, exactly? Keep in mind, there are a couple of overhyped albums that are worth their salt.
    krvolok
    The Wildchild wrote: Well, you kind of did. How is it bad, exactly? Keep in mind, there are a couple of overhyped albums that are worth their salt.
    Were are going into a discussion so I cant reply(I've been warned abut this).
    theogonia777
    The Wildchild wrote: Well, you kind of did. How is it bad, exactly? Keep in mind, there are a couple of overhyped albums that are worth their salt.
    i know you're probably going to try and kill me for this (but fail ), but i have to agree with krvolok on this one. maybe it's just my opinion, but i feel that TH is one of the overhyped albums that is not worth its salt. i'll definitely have to give this a listen, although i didn't like the review, particularly the cheap shot (at least that's what i thought was being implied) at the black shoegaze type bands. (no offense to duncang, you are a cool guy)
    EpiExplorer
    Found this album a little redundant as well as typical. Only recent BM release I've been interested in is this Meads Of Asphodel thing, who are bloody hilarious (and English) and so far its proving to be one of the better avante-garde/what-the-hell-ever BM albums.
    Hells.Mascot
    The little flash widget link to Amazon samples popout (which appears to be embedded, according to the HTML source) is great!
    The Wildchild
    Funny how you mention Dark Funeral, as they epitomize
    krvolok wrote: (shrieks,trems'n'blasts,darkness)
    It seems like you're basing your argument on personal preferences and unfounded speculations...
    NatG
    guitar7masta wrote: i'm no fan of black metal but i like to keep an open mind, since it is just music. No, I thought the same thing, they all sound very similar! but am i the only one that can't tell a difference between any of the songs on this album?
    NatG
    NatG wrote: guitar7masta wrote: i'm no fan of black metal but i like to keep an open mind, since it is just music. No, I thought the same thing, they all sound very similar! but am i the only one that can't tell a difference between any of the songs on this album?
    No, I thought they were all very similar too!
    Echoplex
    rob904 wrote: Sargeist have here delivered a sucker punch to all the post-atmospheric-black-gaze guff thats taken precedence recently lol, Alcest burn
    But there are an absolute assload of other BM bands that have gone that route. Even Enslaved.
    ShoeFaceBass
    Echoplex wrote: But there are an absolute assload of other BM bands that have gone that route. Even Enslaved.
    What Enslaved have you heard that I havent't?