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The fact that Shatraug is a workaholic of disturbing proportions is more or less well known . The guitarist/mastermind of Sargeist currently participates in at least 14(!) active bands. Due to this hotpot of activity, Sargeist were put in a sort of hiatus after the amazing 2010 “Let the Devil in” album, not taking into account a split and an ep released in 2011. Last year the band unleashed a compilation of rarities/b-sides, and this year the time came for the release of their 4th full length album, “Feeding the Crawling Shadows”.
A few seconds into the album and you realise that there is a definite change here in comparison with its predecessor. The sound is evidently rawer and more lo-fi, and – production-wise – a fuzzy, cavernous point of view dominates the recording. The apparent clarity of “Let the Devil in” is missing here. On the new album there is a backtracking for the Finnish, back to the first 2 album aesthetics, a fact also implied by the return of a black and white cover (which remains as “picturesque” as expected by Sargeist). Those people who got into the band via the previous album, are in for a surprise upon the first spin of the album.
The new album is not so dissimilar from the previous one, as far as composition and riff logic are concerned. The guitars are essentially melodic and (putting the willingly “ugly” production aside) quite “harmless”(no a bad thing per se). Riffs are safely dominated by a nostalgic temper, they are catchy enough, and they drag the songs onwards without being especially tiresome, despite their repetitive nature. Hoath Torog’s vocals are bathed in an aura of distant resonance, building up efficaciously the album’s atmosphere. What we have in this record is the classic finnish black metal sound, the one we first met in the late 90’s, in the vein of Satanic Warmaster, Horna, Behexen, etc.
To sum it up, Sargeist deliver a noteworthy successor to their magnum opus. The new album isn’t exactly original, its ideas are definitely less inspired than the ones in “Let the Devil in”, but still it remains a very good specimen of melodic, traditional, lo-fi black metal. Morosely pleasant upon listening, it may be a tad lengthier than needed, but still the fact remains that “Feeding the Crawling Shadows” is evidence of Sargeist still being alive and kicking.