Sarin
Darker Lakes


4.0
excellent

Review

by PistolPete USER (43 Reviews)
October 23rd, 2017 | 12 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A bit more now than just your everyday Isis clone, Sarin’s new album Darker Lakes is a feast for multiple senses.

The road for Toronto-based post-metal band Sarin hasn’t been the easiest. Aside from various lineup changes the band underwent in between their stunning 2015 album Burial Dream and this year’s release Darker Lakes, Sarin has had difficulty shaking off its annoying and pestering label as merely an “Isis clone”. While the quality of the work Sarin has put out is unquestionably strong, it’s admittedly hard to dispute the “clone” label. 2013’s EP House of Leaves echoes genre legends Isis’ early days (Mosquito Control, The Red Sea, maybe a bit of Celestial) while Burial Dream shifted them forward along the Isis timeline and re-enacts the sound they had on their megahits Oceanic and Panopticon. On the latter album, opener “As Well as the Body” truly does sound like Isis’ “So Did We” and it’s hard not to shake the feeling of how the ending of following track “Monograph” sounds eerily similar to the final climax of “From Sinking” off Oceanic. But when you hear the band talk about the writing process and these criticisms, they don’t seem quite phased by it and their new album Darker Lakes not only incorporated a heavier collaboration between all members, it’s the first release of theirs that can’t be so easily placed on the post-metal spectrum. And while singer and guitarist David Wilson’s growls will still draw the Aaron Turner comparisons, the music itself deviates a bit, involving deeper textures and a heftier use of ambience and electronics this time around. Look no further than the glorious outro of second track “Amber Guide”, where the electronics provide an oddly optimistic and almost cheerful tone (Sarin’s very own version of Panopticon’s “Backlit” if you will. I’ll stop now with the Isis comparisons, I promise).

Wilson stated in interviews that the inspiration behind the album was partially from a day-long hike he took in the Oak Ridges Moraine area, which is in the far north of the Greater Toronto area. During the hike he recalls getting lost and the connections he drew between the ever-shifting natural landscapes of the foundation and the feelings he experienced interacting with them. The record itself is lyrically based around coping with anxiety and respecting the fact that anxiety requires deep introspection and even isolation in order to both understand and sometimes promote healing. However, what the album also evokes (whether intentional or not) is this feeling that the instrumentation is meant to depict the landscape itself, both in sound and texture.

All three interludes dubbed “Darker Lakes” bear names similar to well-known lakes in the Western parts of North America (Moraine, Crater, and Glacier), each track using eerie sound samples and electronics to feel cavernous and murky. The actual full-length tracks cover different aspects of nature’s elements (ice, fire, vegetation, and water) and the music itself reflects that. The jagged dissonance and crashing guitars of “Ice Wrought” literally feel like chunks of glaciers breaking and collapsing, complimented by contrasting use of cleans and muffled harsh vocals to create shifting dynamics in the music. “Embers Circling Downward” begins with heart racing John Carpenter Halloween-esque electronics before it unexpectedly breaks through with crushing guitars to throw the listener off. It feels claustrophobic and anxious, with chugging riffs that almost mimic the flowing yet destructive nature molten lava has. Elsewhere, highlight “Bloom” feels a bit more organic in its construction, with raw, exotic-sounding percussions entering the mix halfway through. Finally, “Ocean Burn” has a more progressive feel, building and swelling up slowly like a wave before eventually crashing into a mess of drums and cymbals. Sarin does get caught in a bit of a self-indulgent chugfest here and there, but the tracks ultimately achieve what they're supposed to.

With Darker Lakes, what we have here from Sarin is a truly engrossing and visceral post-metal album that is visual as much as it is audible. It uses nature’s raw elements as the backdrop to instill within the listener the same feelings of anxiety and isolation that inspired it in the first place. The album inadvertently offers the quintessential post-metal soundtrack to depict the vast, mountainous, and aquatic terrain of North America in all its chaotic, but ultimately beautiful, glory. Sarin has outdone themselves here and Darker Lakes should serve as a significant step forward for the band and maybe even help to shed the “clone” label they were clumped into before.



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user ratings (5)
Chart.
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
PistolPete
October 23rd 2017


4506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm such a horrible fan, this came out in late July and I missed it (also missed them play in Toronto back in August). I suck.



This will undoubtedly rank high on my end of year list. Post-metal is like a drug to me.

teamster
October 23rd 2017


2168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pistol - me too , I missed it. Their last release was good. Will check this. Excellent review and thanks.

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Itwasthatwas
October 23rd 2017


1433 Comments


I love post metal even when its by the numbers so I'll definitely jam this. Thanks for reviewing it

PistolPete
October 23rd 2017


4506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys, yeah I was pretty surprised, wasn't expecting it to be so distinct and as unique as it was considering my blurb about their past albums. Really good stuff, might take a few listens as usual with this genre but it's glorious.

LethalPaintball
October 23rd 2017


770 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hey this is pretty neat

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RogueNine
October 24th 2017


3379 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

New Sarin, eh? I'll get on it.

sizeofanocean
October 25th 2017


55 Comments


Band definitely deserves attention. Listened to some songs and bought the album on bandcamp since it was just 5 CAD, which is like 3,75€ or something and i already downloaded the rest of their discography since it was Name-Your-Price on Bandcamp.

PistolPete
October 25th 2017


4506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^Yeah I ended up just buying it on iTunes as well. Figured by this point in my life I can afford doing that once in a while. They ended up telling me of a small concert they're doing in Toronto Nov 11 at this records store downtown that I'm 100% going to now lol whatever was in my calendar before is gone.

PistolPete
November 12th 2017


4506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ended up seeing these dudes play last night after all. It's supposedly their last concert with the current keys/electronics guy but it was super cool and the small crowd made it very intimate.

teamster
November 12th 2017


2168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Nice. Did u check my list out yet Pete? Still have to check this.

PistolPete
November 13th 2017


4506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I hadn't actually seen it yet, must've posted it on a rare day I wasn't poking around here. I ended up checking out a bunch you had mentioned earlier in the year to me but loads of bands there I hadn't checked yet. You are by far the bigger post-metal fan that's for sure.

teamster
December 8th 2017


2168 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is fucking fantastic. Where are all my post metal brothers? You guys are missing out on one hell of an album. Better than their debut, which I love.



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