Swedish crushers Sarcasm push back with menacing, gritty opus ‘Esoteric Tales of the Unserene’

Photo by by Susanne Thorgren

We don’t often spill out a ton of blatant success stories around here because then we’d have to delve into corporate speak and jargon and things people don’t actually say in real life. That’s not about to change, but we are going to shower Swedish death warriors Sarcasm with similar praise because their path hasn’t been easy, yet here they are, firing back new music at us.

It was just two years ago that we got super excited for Sarcasm’s thunderous second record “Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds,” which followed their long-delayed debut “Burial Dimensions,” a record that  was recorded back in 1994, never got as formal release, and finally was pushed out into the world on a 2011 compilation before the actual issuing on its own in 2016. Got all that? Anyway, the band keeps pushing ahead and hits back with their third album “Esoteric Tales of the Unserene,” a decidedly grimmer, rougher, darker record than their 2017 release. “Ethereal Minds” was outright joyous compared to this record, where the shadows have thickened, and the band—vocalist Heval Bozarslan, guitarists Anders Eriksson and Peter Laitinen, bassist Jonas Söder, drummer Alvaro Svanerö—puts more black metal elements into their vicious stew, making this a more muscular but also additionally misery inducing record that could leave bruising.

“Vortex of the Vultures” has a glorious opening with riffs getting lathered up and Bozarslan’s growls punishing, with him howling, “Don’t you ever question our intentions.” The chorus is melodic and rushing while riffs roll through and the whole thing burns out. “Parochial Past Resonates” has speedy guitar work showering the ground while melodies rush, and the growls echo out. The vocals then strike at a spat-out clip as a strong chorus strikes, and things sweep before being turned to dust. “Flesh Was Carved Out From Seven Faces of God” starts with acoustics rousing before leads glimmer and crunchy verses do damage. The vocals sound raspy and raw, while strong soloing chars the senses before the band rounds back to the chorus, complete with cleaner singing and morbid melodies. “Flawless Anomalies” has leads spiraling into the ground, gruff growls, and a numbing chorus that destroys. Things get dizzying and humid before the band unloads another assault before a mangling end.

“Revolution of Consciousness” has keys dripping before the guitars open up and head to the races, as animalistic growls erupt and go for the throat. The track is absolutely drubbing as the chorus is simple but effective, and the playing comes to a guttural ending. “Realm of Shadowless Existence” has guitars bursting and stabbing across the land, also pushing into classic terrain for a bit. The growls rage while the playing crushes, with a gruff, scratchy surface revealed, and a killer solo bringing this to a massive finish. “Celestial Nights” changes things up a bit, starting slower and letting the juices settle. Things are doomier and stickier, with keyboards giving a horror film feel, and thick fog obscuring your vision. Acoustics rise while the mood remains murky, with movie score-style synth strings dropping the curtain. “The Great Calm Embraced” just explodes with drums acting like a killing machine and devastation being spread out. Synth swallows some of the smoke while militaristic drums leave welts, and the track disappears into a strange cloud.

Sarcasm certainly haven’t had the easiest road in bringing their brand of death metal to public consciousness, but what they lost in time they’ve made up for in grit and tenacity. “Esoteric Tales of the Unserene” is a pounding, merciless response to an album that brought them back into the conversation, and it might take some time for it to really sink in (I had to spend a few listens myself). This band withstood the misery of some unfortunate years and used that as fuel to keep their music on edge and still able to shred tendons.

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

To buy the album, go here: https://www.chaos-records.com/shop/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.chaos-records.com

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