Sargeist
Feeding the Crawling Shadows


2.5
average

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
March 26th, 2014 | 30 replies | 4,992 views


Release Date: 03/31/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What happens when a quality band forgets what made them a quality band

In many ways, Feeding the Crawling Shadows is atypical for a Sargeist release. From a band that has become quite adept at feeding traditional black metal sounds through a filter that largely removes the more questionable aspects of the genre, it is interesting to see that their fourth full-length record manages to let some stagnation drip through. Granted, the album is far and away the most raw and abrasive LP these Finns have unleashed, but they don’t take full advantage of this potential as much as they should have. Whereas Let the Devil In shot around riff after riff of unabated black metal ferocity, Feeding the Crawling Shadows sometimes wallows in pools of rotting, cliché black metal licks. Granted, Sargeist are still one of the best at reproducing the “pure” black metal vibe in a day and age that has moved on from that motif, but in order to release a quality record in this vein there needs to be enough inspiration to make the music rise above the many albums that try – and fail – to successfully replicate the sounds of the early 90’s.

Sargeist do use non-traditional vocal techniques to attempt to conjure some sort of variation, and indeed these deeper growls do sometimes throw the music back on track, but in the end it’s not enough to separate Feeding the Crawling Shadows from the plethora of other modern black metal bands playing an “old-school” (if second-wave black metal can be referred to as such) style. The album is a vortex of whirling guitars and crashing drumming which, while certainly solid enough to warrant some technical praise, is not supported by songwriting with an equal penchant for quality. The atmosphere is about as stagnant as possible, with little change in pace or style that ultimately causes it to fall flat. Feeding the Crawling Shadows manages to take what good riffs it contains and run them into the ground through near-constant repetition, making for a tiring listen that holds little replay value – something entirely unlike what Sargeist has done in the past.

With their previous albums, there has always been this sense of deja vu that can be attributed to the fact that the band does not try to do anything new, but they overcome this by instead twisting an already venerable sound to their will through quality songwriting and the ability to unleash some serious black metal riffage. Feeding the Crawling Shadows does not do the same. Instead, it is so intent on cutting the production and being impossibly heavy that it forgets that the songwriting needs to be able to support all of this weight. Massive it is, indeed, because by making an album sound so rough and having a near-constant barrage of black metal chaos swirling around it requires some clever tricks to make it all work. This creativity, sadly, is quite absent, because while tracks like “The Unspoken Ones” break quickly into a romp of headbanging fury, in the end it always circles back to that same tired-sounding motif that comprises the core structure of each and every track. Almost nothing is non-traditional, and for that the album suffers greatly. It is a good thing that “Funerary Descent” closes it all off with a hint at what Feeding the Crawling Shadows should have been – atmospherically suffocating, aesthetically varied, and altogether evil – because that allows us a glimpse into what the album is capable of when all of the weight is carried.

Sadly, this is the exception rather than the norm on Feeding the Crawling Shadows, an album which does nothing poorly but does little greatly. It is an album with aspirations that could have made it special, but they were executed in a way that, instead of making those aspirations reality, makes them seem even more lofty a goal. What is left is black metal that sounds like black metal, a designation that nowadays is not exactly the best label. It is good in short bursts because it reminds us of a time that has long since passed, but when taken in as a whole 10 track, 50 minute album, it reveals why this kind of sound has largely fallen by the wayside. There are countless albums out there that do this kind of thing better – hell, even Sargeist themselves have done this kind of thing better several times – so what point is there in Feeding the Crawling Shadows? I’m still trying to locate it, but if the only thing offered here is increased rawness at the expense of quality songwriting, there might not even be one.



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user ratings (14)
Chart.
2.7
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2014



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I really, really wanted to like this. I enjoyed "The Shunned Angel" a lot when they revealed the new track, but listening to an entire album of tracks just like that got real boring real fast. Granted, it does get better toward the end of the record but as a whole this is just so... average for bm in this vein.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2014



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Listen to two tracks here (couldn't embed them in the review because they are listed as private):

https://soundcloud.com/stereogum/sargeist-the-shunned-angel/s-h52F1#t=0:00

https://soundcloud.com/brooklynvegan/sargeist-feeding-the-crawling/s-v8iQh#t=0:00

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2014



17197 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I think this is the most stereotypically "flat" black metal record I've heard this year.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2014



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Agreed. Since it is so traditional in style it always had that potential, but I figured since Sargeist are generally a great band they would avoid that happening.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2014



5915 Comments


Excellent review, I have to check the SC links at some point.

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

Gyromania
March 26th 2014



15198 Comments


2.5 rating from crysis. must be awesome

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2014



17197 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

you'd think, but nope.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2014



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

yeah man i think i actually got this one right for a change

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2014



17197 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Hahaha

Wizard
March 26th 2014



19210 Comments


but I figured since Sargeist are generally a great band they would avoid that happening.

These guys have always sucked tbqh and this is probably crap too. They just play by the rules way too closely and it's boring as shit.

Great review as usual!

Digging: Monarch - Sabbracadaver

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2014



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Nah their previous albums are pretty great

Wizard
March 26th 2014



19210 Comments


They aren't on my bm list on RYM so what does that tell you : p

I should probably revisit them tbqh since it's been years.

Gyromania
March 26th 2014



15198 Comments


yeah man i think i actually got this one right for a change

lmao well played

mindleviticus
March 26th 2014



8164 Comments


Let the Devil In is fantastic

zaruyache
March 26th 2014



5873 Comments


Let the Devil In has some great tracks to it. I was expecting this to sound more like that record (since it was my only experience with this band), so I'm definitely bummed by this release.

Digging: Sunwolf - Beholden To Nothing And No One

Spec
March 27th 2014



27053 Comments


So is the cover supposed to look like "Live In Leipzig"?

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2014



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Nah not really

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
March 27th 2014



6936 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I think you're giving this more praise than you should be Kyle, something making you want to give this more than the usual chance?

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2014



16258 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Might be the fact that I like this band in general plus I enjoy this style of music. I wouldn't say I'm giving it much praise just saying it's quite average.

Wizard
March 27th 2014



19210 Comments


I totally get what you're saying Kyle. There's tons of bands where I love their entire discog and all of a sudden they put out something average and you start second-guessing yourself that you've missed something. All it ever leads to is more disappointment.



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