Armath Sargon’s new album, Under The Moon And The Sun released by Nokternal Hemizphear Records is a extreme metal release that blends elements of black metal with some Gothic influences infused with some folk influences. This fella is from the northern Scandinavian lands of Finland. When listening to an album like this one has to put aside any preconceived notions of the genre and its origins. I think one has to be cautious in how we sometimes box things, whether out of preconceived notions, or sometimes even out of misunderstanding. We could be embarrassingly wrong about it. Never under estimate where talent may shine.
Now I am not a big fan of extreme metal, but there are a few extreme bands in my collection that I will pull out for a listen once in awhile, and to be honest I am a fan of a lot of the music that comes out of Sweden and Finland. The quality of musicianship always surprises me out of those regions. So any band out of those areas peeks my interest at least; in other words when they say they are from any of those regions, I won’t easily just turn the page on it, without giving it my full attention.
This album is not a quite Sunday afternoon listen, instead its audio brutality filled with harsh black metal riffage to sure shake some cob webs loose. There is as I said some folk influences mixed in, and I think its that which saves the album from just being another album of heavy riffs and pained vocals.
I still believe its getting harder and harder to put out original music without sounding similar, or even by accident stealing a riff that you might have heard once before, thinking its your own. So in order not to be lost in the sea of bands you got to think out the box, and add elements that are able to enhance the character and vision of your band. Does ARMATH SARGON do that, well I will leave that part for you to decide.
The album has that old school black metal flavor going for it, which I thinks just like with old school punk, adds a nice dose of rawness to it. In today’s technological world, the studio has become a playground for generic over-produced albums, so its great when bands incorporate some root under currents into their sound. For me the greatest measure of a bands ability and sound is only truly appreciated and revealed in a live setting though.
A song like, “Solaris 2” which is a heavy mix of black metal, is not void of technical prowess or ingenuity. The accompanying strings give it a big sound, and the album overall benefits greatly, because of this approach throughout. Its not that there are no other bands utilizing this route, just for me it adds depth and volume, impressing both character and quality when done right. I think here it works well, and adds salt to the heavy riffs and drumming that pound rampantly through the mix. “The Ancient wind 2”, has a great intro before heading into familiar ARMATH territory with its thundering back bone drumming and its signature driven heavy guitar riffs. “Behind the dark forest that wounds me” has that folklore feel, and again its the accompanying strings that save the song from just being another brutal song. It has a big sound track movie feel to it. “Mask that hide our brutality 2”, continues the format, the songs are musically very well written, but there can be some moments of monotony in the songs, but overall its a brutal landscape of great musicianship, and for me this music would be better appreciated in a live setting than boxed on a cd through a stereo system. I have said it before, sometimes there are albums that do not truly highlight the energy of a band, and I am not saying its happening here 100%, all I am saying is that this sound would go down better with strobe lights flashing vigorously to the beat of the music, smoke machines blasting away, and the band on stage doing there thing, and the crowd feeding off the energy of that. That might enhance the effectiveness of a sound like Armath Sargon. Armath takes the intensity down a gear just a tad, still brutal in some ways on, “Lamenting under the heavy burden”, and adds what seems a little of a Gothic approach, which again though not my favorite track, adds diversity, and breaks loose from what otherwise could become a monotonous ride. Its a great song for me from the aspect that it shows Armath Sargon as more than another Black Metal band with finger bleeding riffs, but a talent house of musical visionary and adventure. Well once, “Lamenting under the heavy burden” is over, we head back into the usual Armath recipe of heavy riffs and rapid fire drumming and pain inducing vocals with, “God send…”….again a song that should go well down in a live format. “My limbs got no strength (In death be 2)” Finshes off the album in a galactic overture of great strings and powerful guitar riffage.
In Conclusion this album is a galactic powerhouse of heavy guitars and often rapid fire drumming, and though the album is filled with various string arrangements and electronic sounds that could give it a softer edge overall, the core result remains,and ultimately this is a solid dose of Black Metal intensity. The combination of the strings and the heavy guitar riffs work with great effectiveness through out without wandering off course, and the harmonies are not so over powering that it takes away the aggressiveness and rawness of the guitars and the overall sound of the album. There is a lot of old-school here with enough modern influence for both old and new schoolers to enjoy, and the album has a great overall organic feel that showcases Armath Sargon as a powerhouse of this genre. 8 songs of glorious brutality. Well don’t take my word for it, go and give it a listen yourself.
1. Under The Moon And The Sun PT I
3. The Ancient Wind
4. Behind The Dark Forest That Wounds My Soul
5. Mask That Hides Our Brutality
6. Lamenting Of The Dead
7. God Send…
8. The Departing
Run Time: 64:00
Armath Sargon – All Instruments, Vocals
Opus Apocalypsis Rex 
Winter of Tears and Path of Blood 
Dark and Dead Visions of Fallen Souls 
Love Is Life and Hate Is Death 
Reflections from Eternity 
4th Dimension 
When Love Is Dead… 
Cyberian Inner Death  [review]
Sea of the Blood 
The Book of Revelation 
Under the Moon and the Sun 
Record Label: Nokternal Hemizphear Records, Dec. 2012
Interview with ‘Armath Sargon’ [Sept. 2011]
Video below ” The Ancient Wind”