SACRILEGA “The Arcana Spear”

BY Lord Randall

When you tell me there’s a new black metal band’s debut clogging up my inbox, I can promise you I’m probably not as thrilled as you’re acting as if I should be. Now, don’t misunderstand; I love black metal as a genre, it’s just that I’m also largely content to move within the realms of the doomed, so it takes a bit to pique my interest. Now, tell me this same band has within its ranks the mighty Paulus Kressman from the Canadian prairie’s RITES OF THY DEGRINGOLADE, and I’m at least giving SACRILEGA a chance.

Far from a one-man show, though, from the opening absurd incantation of ‘The Arcana Spear’, the flesh-rending string scarification of A. [guitars/vocals] and A. [bass] make it clear that they aren’t just along for the ride, more than holding their own with P.’s relentless artillery assault.

Methodical and more overtly melodious than one would expect in its first moments, ‘Tower Of Suppression’ (too quickly in my opinion) hits the redline, the old rip-and-tear front and center. This isn’t a bad thing, though, and we have a good bit of “The Arcana Spear” to go, so it’s safe to expect more twisting, turning.

‘Rites Of The Macabre’ is absolutely gutting, bowel churning black bile, and – as with most of P.’s related output – confirms this as one of the few albums where the drums are not only fantastically performed, but also an entertaining and crucial element often skipped over when it comes to black metal. Squealing screech leads emerge from a solid low end, while ‘Entre Sangre & Veneno’ is gashing, lacerating and hypersonic when it so desires, the amputation complete before the slice is felt.

After the pulse of ‘Embrace The Grand Tyranny’ has subsided, the ashen pontifications of A. died away, two things can be assured: SACRILEGA is just beginning its battle, but ready, it is, for war. Also, “The Arcana Spear” is an album that bears repeated listens and will not reveal all at once to idle passersby. For the lifers.