PICK OF THE WEEK: Sarcasm rage back with classic Scandinavian ferocity on ‘Within the Sphere…’

It’s been a long week, and a lot of negativity has been going on in the world and, as a result, on this site. But it’s the end of the week, it’s a big weekend for metal here on the East Coast, and it won’t kill us to be excited about something for once in our awful lives.

We have a new record from Swedish death crew Sarcasm, and if you need another reason to feel happy, I can’t help you. It’s not often we get a Dark Descent release and feel happy and excited inside. Usually their records bring out the angst and repulsion in our blood, which is how we like it (and why we love their bands). But Sarcasm’s second record “Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds” is a gigantic dose of classic Swedish death that should remind people of the glory days of that country’s metallic output. There’s good reason for that, because the band’s time stretches all the way back to 1990, so they’ve been there and seen everything that land has had to offer. They were a part of it, even if their debut record “Burial Dimensions” wasn’t formally released until last year (though it was recorded in 1994 and initially presented as part of a compilation in 2011), and they’re just now gaining a foothold. The band—vocalist Heval Bozarslan, guitarists Anders Eriksson and Peter Laitinen (the primary songwriter for this record), bassist Jonas Söder, and drummer Matte Modin—sounds absolutely on fire and raging on all cylinders on this record, which I’ve found myself listening to on repeat without even realizing it.

“Bloodsoaked Sunrise” opens the record and gets things off to an immediately raucous start. Strong riffs and vicious growls roll out along with the tempo that should, even against your will, have your head bashing. The track is a short, blistering assault that gets the gates open and the torches blazing. “From the Crimson Fog They Emerged” sounds like an adventure from its title, and it is. Speedy mauling and a raspy chorus are the highlights here, and they are enhanced by a devastating pace and Bozarslan howling, “Once again we are manifest in flesh!” “Embodiment of Source” starts with a mix of clean guitars and acoustics before glorious riffs tear out of the thing. Nasty, fierce growls lead the way, while savagery and melody mix, smearing blinding light with streaks of blood. “Scars of a Land Forgotten” rips apart right away, galloping toward you with reckless abandon, kicking up dust. Forceful growls and intense playing give this track its muscle, while the leads swirl, the drums devastate, and this dose of throwback death metal leaves you as heaping mess.

“In the Grip of Awakening Times” has riffs awakening and meeting up with glorious melodies, giving it a tasty vintage feel that glimmers. A storm of growls and violent, yet catchy playing lather you up nicely, while a trudging assault refuses mercy and chews everything in its way. “Silent Waves Summoned Your Inner Being” has huge riffs (if you haven’t already noticed, this thing is packed with riffs) and a satisfying blast of speed. The verses are raucous as hell, while the leads fly like majestic eagles, and the bloodshed comes to a creaky finish. “A Black Veil for Earth” is the longest track at 8:37, and its first couple minutes are built on establishing mood. As the clean guitars begin to wash away, a slow-driving pace is set, bringing the band closer to smothering doom than death. The track hulks along and the vocals snarl, while a later wave of quiet guitars breaks up the chaos before going back to monstrous scraping and then bleeding away. Closer “The Drowning Light at the Edge of Dawn” is fast and punchy, with wild vocals slicing away and the band forcing you into the heart of their metallic fury. This is their final salvo, so they make sure you’re shaken and beaten thoroughly, keeping their mission burning right up to its volcanic conclusion.

Sarcasm’s second record “Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds” is a goddamn pleasure to behold, and while it has its ample share of darkness and despair, the record is just such a blast to listen to. Beaming with powerful riffs and guttural shrieks, as well as swelling melodies rich with Swedish goodness, Sarcasm are a huge reminder of the heyday of Scandinavian death metal. These guys still are operating at the top of their game, and this killer second record is all the proof anyone needs of their prowess.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/sarcasmsweden

To buy the album, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store

For more on the label, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/