Review Summary: Australian death metallers, Sakkuth deliver a very high quality melodic/old-school death metal record, without leaving the headbanging urges behind.
Based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, Sakkuth first appeared with their self-tilted EP in 1998. Between then and 2008's From Wretched Blood
, the band has released 2000's Quest From Within
and 2002's Don't Fight the Urge
(re-issued in 2005 as well). The band has remained relatively hidden from any publicity whatsoever within the underground scene outside of their homeland. Combining thrashing, corroding, old-school death metal styles with catchy, highly melodic NWOBHM-style, Iron Maiden-esque riffing and occasional clean interludes, their sound is devoid of any keyboards or other gizmos to enhance their melodies, so they rely on the fantastic licks churned out by twin fret-board fanatics, Scott McIvor and Nathan Bruen, to provide most of the melody within the album.
After thirty seconds of ominous, mechanical noises, growler Moises Contrearas lets out a short grunt and the album hits at full force with the first melodic lashing in the form of "Murderous Intent". Moises' performance throughout the album is consistently the same deep, aggressive, tormented growl that adds several levels of heaviness to the record. Sparingly, rumbling spoken word vocals are also present, breaking the monotony somewhat. Some listeners may find Moises' vocals unvaried and repetitious, but they do suit the music fairly well and add the aforementioned heaviness that is one of the key elements to the album as a whole. One of the notable moments vocally is at the end of the fifth track, "Rebirth". Moises chants, "My own free will"
as the song fades into the distant silence. The vocals fit into place nearly perfectly in this section and emphasize the feeling of the song effectively. Lyrically, the album focuses mainly on topics of ones oncoming doom and then the revitalizing following (as in evidence by song titles like "Rebirth" and "As I Went Below").
On the matter of the rhythm section, drummer Damien Biggers tosses out some terrific work behind the kit, adding various lengthy, ambitious fills and excellent, bludgeoning double bass patterns. He moves around the kit with on-the-spot precision and really contributes to the often speedy tempos of the song, pushing them forward with rampant hostility. He also knows when to not overplay when the clean sections make themselves apparent. Bassist Vaughan Piffero is audible within several passages in the album. For the most part, he sticks to mimicking the guitarists, adding the thick, brawny low end to support their rushing, melodic ambitions. Last, but certainly not least is the guitars, and boy, do they impress. McIvor and Bruen unleash a flurried torrent of rapid-fire, melodic leads, heavy, crunching undertones and shredding, often-melodic, varied solos. At times, Arghoslenty licks show themselves, and at others, riffs harkening back to the glory days of Edge of Sanity appear, creating a melodic, changing firestorm of fret-board finesse that thrills throughout the album's every turn. The solos contain various amounts of shred and at times even incorporate groove into their delivery (Check "Tomorrow We Die" for an example of this). Occasional pinched harmonics and the aforementioned clean sections show themselves as well, with the best example of the latter being on album highlight, "Rebirth". Clearly the centerpiece of Sakkuth's sound, the guitarists enhance the enjoyability of the album by ten-fold, and add to the overall exemplary showing from the band as a whole.
Highlight-wise, the album slips up very rarely (excluding the relatively unneeded instrumental, "Lost", which should've been melded together with the previous track, "Addict"). One of the most apparent standouts would have to be the longest song on the album, "Rebirth", clocking in at five minutes and fourteen seconds. One of the slower tracks on the album, nearly every element that the band has to offer, including a superb clean section beginning about three minutes and twenty-five seconds in, which heightens the aura of the song significantly and makes it that much more enjoyable to listen to. This song captures the mood of the album perfectly and shows what it is all about. Other rushing, frantic standouts include the opening duo of "Murderous Intent" and "Restless", which contain the aforementioned stellar guitar work throughout their lengths, and the closing trifecta of "Tomorrow We Die", "As I Went Below" and "Torment of the Body and Soul", which close out the album with convincing consistency.
To all fans of Arghoslent, Edge of Sanity and other such bands, check this album out, it contains several elements of these bands' sound and merges them and combines them with Sakkuth's own sound to create a worthwhile metal album all-around. The guitar work on this album is simply tremendous and should please any metal fan out there, along with the great rhythm section and suffocating vocals. To anyone looking for a worthwhile melodic death metal album with no extra filler and unneeded wankery, this is a recommendation. From Wretched Blood
gets a 4.5 out of 5.