Sarmat
Determined To Strike


3.4
great

Review

by Robert Garland STAFF
August 19th, 2023 | 56 replies


Release Date: 06/16/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A kaleidoscope of avant death inspired jazz OR jazz inspired death avant kaleidoscope…

Bands occasionally do split the bell curve of opinion in acceptable quantities [sometimes]. I mean not every piece of music is going to meet a broader scope of critical acclaim every single time a band releases anything of note. Of that note, is the New York born Sarmat who could best be described as a test tubular creation homing in on the world of free jazz (incorporating the visage and pray and spray mentality of the Imperial Triumphant crowd), the bluster and brutality brought in from the likes of death metal legends Gorguts, Demilich and Ulcerate camps respectively and ungently stir this beaker until it all froths to the top. That said, this combination of salubrious geno could only cultivate itself in the form of Determined To Strike. Sarmat’s debut is madly in love with left hand twists into spaghetti wall chaos…and that’s all part of its charm. I think.

What I mean to say is you’re going to love this… or progressively despise the gaoler who locked you in your cell and put this on with unceasing perpetuity. That’s mostly because for all the grandeur and blistering death metal-isms compiled there’s equal amount of improv-jazz-gone-jank while tempos and timings get thrown to the wind, caught, and released again. Information gleaned early on as “Formed From Filth” thrills with polyrhythmic layers under cacophonic death growls. There’s a manic, if not completely frantic lurch that idolises the sheer freneticism of combining artsy noodle jazz sections atop refined lounge nuance and under the grave of frenzied riffs while somehow landing each aesthetic separately and combined. “Landform” has a cadence brought forth from lighter piano strokes—before turning about face into discordant dissonance. Sarmat are at least determined to define themselves as a metal band with jazz nuance. Determined To Strike at least caters first to the bone crunch the death metal genre is more commonly known for before throwing waves of occasionally immersive and definitely abrasive jazz sections anywhere they’ll stick. By which I mean Sarmat’s schtick doesn’t stop there.

Determined To Strike’s middle section is [probably] by far the wildest thing this side of Gorguts that both does and does not want to sound like Gorguts. “Arsenal Of Tyranny” is poised to hit like a rollercoaster crashing headlong into a wall. The twists and turns here are abrupt, winding and taken completely at a pace unrelenting. At times, Determined To Strike is completely overwhelming and fantastic but can’t escape its more quixotic, stolid trappings. Perhaps if Sarmat found a way to temper or husband its high energy style and focus into something that flows and is cohesive to the point that songwriting leads the ideas they would redefine this niche within a niche. There’s probably not a huge call for trumpet and saxophone stanzas to contest the air space in between gnarled riff-what-the-fuckeries and impenetrable guitar solos only to contrast completely with the listlessness of a jazz-cum lounge section. The title track lurches back into a level of normality, but the butter churn that came before it takes away some of the track’s more caustic, inordinate impact.

Let’s take a sidestep here. The irony isn’t lost, but it’s taken me weeks to put this review together. Life it seems at least contains some parallels to Determined To Strike and the album’s clear and muddier jumps between genres. That’s relevant right? That helps bring Sarmat’s message to a relatable audience? Of course, it’s completely individual in that particular frenzy, but at the same time even a listener caught in the web of their own nightmarish life is still going to see the faults highlighted after every glowing, spectacular phrase. There is simply a lot going on here. As such, Determined To Strike is an album of moments. Some fantastic, some less so and those little bits in between that fill every crack and nook as the music flashes by. Even the record’s back half; as frenzied and caustic as the first, takes the frantic atmosphere and somehow adds more to it. It’s stress on a musical scale disguised as dissonant leads and instrumental jank only to be treated to the a-typical death metal treatment. To break Determined To Strike down to its parts is futile. Sarmat is here and the canvas they paint on is layered, albeit messy around the edges.




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user ratings (56)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2023


18256 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

Hi Sput. It's been a minute.

Demon of the Fall
August 19th 2023


33579 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, this one didn’t do much for me. I had high hopes given some of the protagonists.

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
August 19th 2023


10054 Comments


Praise be pasta man! All the bois are coming back.

Azazzel
August 19th 2023


937 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

great write-up, managed to articulate a lot of connective things I was able to intuit but couldn't find a conceptual framework to house. I put some effort into trying to do the same transcending mere impressionistic description but it's difficult and why I don't write much.

Impressed how you managed to find so many positive things to say and soften the blow on such a frenetically marred record.

new Fleshvessel is a bit more like what I was hoping from this record but I liked the Dubious Disk EP and def curious what Sarmat does next

Demon of the Fall
August 19th 2023


33579 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Fleshveseel is an interesting and relevant comparison. A lot of the neo-classical / jazzy tones / leanings are similar, plus both come across as avant-garde, but really not so much in reality.

botb
August 19th 2023


17775 Comments


This sounds really interesting but I know I’m either gonna hate it or really enjoy it

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 20th 2023


18256 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

New FleshV is fantastic agreed. As far as Imperial Triumphant core goes, that’s the place to be.

Tyler.
August 20th 2023


19020 Comments


This is fun

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
August 20th 2023


18256 Comments

Album Rating: 3.4

You guys are fun.

NexCeleris
August 20th 2023


41 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Tasty hors d'oeuvre. Now back to the kitchen with ye!

tectactoe
August 20th 2023


7270 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Shit rips, glad it finally has a review.

Demon of the Fall
August 20th 2023


33579 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

where’s the Canyon Observer review tho?

neekafat
Staff Reviewer
August 20th 2023


26060 Comments


Is avant death a real thing

Azazzel
August 21st 2023


937 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

mainland Europe certainly thinks so. it's heydey were the 90s as I know it. Netherlands Phlebotomized, Norway's Ved Buens Ende, Czech Republic's !T.O.O.H.!, Austria's Disharmonic Orchestra, Germany's Dark Millennium, Greece's Thy Catafalque (imo), and the grand daddy of em all Australia's diSEMBOWLMENT

https://www.sputnikmusic.com/bands/diSEMBOWELMENT-/6363/

Demon, your future self told me it's waiting for you to write it. great choice

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
August 21st 2023


32015 Comments


Gotta say this didn't do much for me on first listen but I'm gonna rejam it after having some perspective here from the chef himself!

Veldin
August 21st 2023


5240 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This sounds right up my alley. Members of Cleric and Imperial Triumphant too! Always like to check out new albums from I Voidhanger

Demon of the Fall
August 21st 2023


33579 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Reminds me that I should check Phlebotomised. I haven't heard anything from 'Disharmonic Orchestra' either.

!T.O.O.H.! and VBE are eternal jam tier

tectactoe
August 21st 2023


7270 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Veldin gets it.

The rest of you all can take a hike.

NightOnDrunkMountain
Contributing Reviewer
August 23rd 2023


623 Comments


This album is a blink and you'll miss it situation

ChaoticVortex
August 23rd 2023


1583 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Phew, this was sure something a little bit different. There are so really nice, energetic passages and moments on this album, but as a whole its just a tad bit too chaotic to me. No questions about the musicianship tho, these guys are wicked good.



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