Monday, January 30, 2017

Sagorah - Control and Create (2016)

Arriving just last night, the sophomore release from this Italian death/thrash and certainly groove metal act was offered to me via social media. I simply posted in one of my notoriously ranty opinions that I was a bit tired of cookie-cutter acts that all sounded the same, and having listened to thousands of albums over the past couple of years (you people should know this quite well if you choose to go back into our Archives and over at the Tower domain backup, where I did the majority of music reviews) you get to the point where you only want to deal with something fresh, unique or just plain awesome.

Well, Sagorah answered my call, and while they are an Italian death metal act; we are not looking at another Sadist unfortunately. That isn't a problem though for me, as these guys have potential. They are at least showing signs of an attempt at more than the hum-drum death of some many other acts, and even if it does inhibit L.D. 50-era Mudvayne grooves at times, there's still quite a bit to chew on despite the disc's short length. For the most part, listeners are getting groovy death metal with slightly unexpected progressive sections, and some bits of thrash in an attempt to literally pepper the pot with as many spices as possible. It's this attention to detail that keeps frontman Iwan Holzer on his toes, as we notice several moments on the disc in which he has to be alert enough to change his vocal sapproach and tone to match abrupt changes in tempo.

With “Imagintation Imprinted” we're getting mostly a display of groove, but that quickly changes into prog and thrash later and is appreciated in that respect. The title cut throws in some nice rock solos (which are mostly unexpected at this point) and then rolls into slightly technical chug. That's a nice way to balance out the grooves, especially because it shows that these guys are capable of many different styles within this death/groove and that they'll be able to take it much further as they progress. Axemen Bryan James Bertoldi and Daniel Slaviero show their Six Feet Under worship on “Face Down” where Holzer makes a great stand-in for Chris Barnes, amongst some slightly core breakdowns and air-raid sirens in the piece. Though the piece is a real hunk of meat, there's a rather unexpected and quite melodic tinge to it's opening that doesn't even entail to the listener the kind of song they're going to get at first – which again, is a real piledriver. Now I know that there's some obvious breakdowns here, but they're not enough for me to get too upset about and these guys are a little younger and probably grew up around some of those core acts as well. It's the presentation as a whole that really works for me, and being a lover of great grooves, Sagorah does just that for me. There's a section on “Fire” in which some blasts are incurred, but a solo also manages to sneak out as well. When we get to “Sleepwalker” that's where I actually noticed the L.D. 50-era Mudvayne grooves, but there's nothing wrong with that, I feel. Especially since they're pumping those grooves in with intriguing bits of melody and yes, some thrash as well.

The most unexpected and promising piece here for me was a song called “Disequilibria” which actually relies heavily on piano keys, synths and melodies, showing again the hefty guitar end of this band. There are no lyrics, it never becomes expanded upon and doesn't do much else unfortunately – but it shows that there's a possibility for these guys to do even more than what they're offering. Even the intro to the record “We Are Cancer” features some electronic vocal filtering and effects that are never heard again. Why not? Same with the keyboards and the piano synths. Why not? Same with the beautiful melodies? Why not? Would it be an absolute sin to take a solo node like in “Disequilibrium” and put it somewhere in the title track? I understand that they wanted to isolate it, as they felt it was such a good piece on it's own, but I think it really would have been better used as the instrumental section of a shorter song. There are already three tracks on the disc that approach the five minute mark, so it seems really odd that the first two cuts are average single length and could be doing much more with their time.

The record itself isn't even thirty minutes long, and the band consider it a full-fledged sophomore instead of an EP which is how I would consider it due to length. The normal length of an LP is about forty minutes or so, which Control and Create simply does not compare to. At the end of the day, the record feels full of different ideas and has some real potential as I've said – but we're not there yet. I simply can't consider this record as anything more than another EP in a band's journey that will hopefully end up in a debut LP after they've truly found their place. Control and Create is a great experimentation that fans of death, groove, thrash, Six Feet Under and a little bit of core will certainly find something here.

(6 Tracks, 25:00)


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