Review Summary: A summary of modern death metal expressionism.
Sutrah’s newest piece is a solid slab of progressive death metal with more experience than this relatively unknown act should be known for - especially considering the musicians that build Aletheia
’s thirty minute length come from a host of well-known to prolific acts in Chthe’ilist, Benighted, Mithridatic, and ex-Svart Crown - but that’s not Sutrah’s biggest calling card. Aletheia
itself is an expressive, diverse listen broken into four separate movements that compliment the next and ultimately culminate into an ambitious [almost] sixteen minute display of devastating death metal.
Despite the overall promise found within such a short release, Aletheia
starts off in quite a sedate fashion. The likes of “Umwelt” opens with a play on chordal dynamics and jutting rhythms. The mood here is mostly calming, but hints at a turmoil yet to come. Light melodies mix in with the band's trudging moments and the atmospheric build remains steady, preventing any overreach too early within the group's central theology. “Lethe” however is a complete workforce. Dissonant freneticism in the guitars is met with equal furor behind the drums; “Lethe’ takes the slow build of the EP’s opening track and accelerates it, tenfold. Blast beats and deep growls quickly become the norm, but the atmospheric build up to come before it remains constant and unyielding even as the dual vocal efforts of Bao and Bellemare run off each other with devastatingly clear results. From here, this little EP only builds. “Dwell” shelters on a nonchalant introduction laced with subtle melancholy - but builds into a progressive death metal onslaught that acts as the EP’s gateway to finality finally breaches the ebb and flow.
It’s this build up that gives so much power to the [near] sixteen minute “Genèse”. But more importantly, ““Genèse” is given the time to flesh out its ideas and meander between the a-typical brutal aesthetics that have defined defined the genre over the course of the last thirty years and also, explore natural deviations within the musicians influences (just like that melodic solo in that brings both optimism and hope).
however has the usual trappings of an EP type release; even though the record pulls a decent thirty minute run time, there’s still a feeling that Sultrah have more to offer, both musically and in context. Most of the music suffers from a larger than life feeling that could do with another ten to twenty minutes of material. This condensed format, despite all its promise, misses out on that “something more”. The deliberate prose of “Genèse” is undoubtedly uplifting in quality - but it’s not enough to push the threshold of indisputably ‘quality” death metal material. Give it another few years and another full-length and Sultrah’s greatness will assuredly be achieved the way it was intended.
It’s almost pre-emptive to say that Sultrah have opened a gateway to all sorts of deathly possibilities, but at its core is a pre-album hinting at potential, rather than achieving it in full. Sure, it’s a cop-out, but there’s a huge world of death metal out there and Aletheia
doesn’t transcend the need for the “new” while there’s still the Ulcerate, Blood Incantation and Gorguts’ of this world still out there.