Servile Sect - _Stratospheric Passenger_
(Sounds of Battle and Souvenir Collecting, 2007)
by: Quentin Kalis (7.5 out of 10)
Another black metal album. Another cover with runes and a desolate landscape. Except, isn't that a Martian landscape? And why is the CD the same colour as vomit after about of absinthe binge drinking? Something is not quite right here! And indeed it isn't; Servile Sect are an "experimental" black metal band, and for once it is not just mere puffery. Actually, I wouldn't even call it black metal, not because of their sound (which I will get to soon enough) but because of the mood; it's contemplative, as if they stared into space and realised how insignificant humanity is in the great scheme of the universe. Not in the traditional nihilistic manner, but with the wonderment and awe induced by a scientific understanding, freed of the trappings of religious superstition.

Their approach relies heavily on repetition generated by fuzzily reverbed and droning guitars, with shrieking vocals surfacing intermittently, but comparatively low in the mix. I think this might have worked better as a wholly instrumental album. Some spoken word passages, presumably samples, are also added, whilst the keyboards are used to present more unorthodox sounds. Apparently, this is not far removed form what Striborg are doing, whom I've not yet had the pleasure of hearing, but even if they are similar, this is still sufficiently novel to be worthy of a listen.


(article published 31/10/2008)

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