SabhankraThis Russian label may not release stacks of stuff but the bands they do seem to find always have an interesting quality about them and come from places that you would not always associate metal music with. The other album that arrived with this for example came from Iraq and in the past we have discovered bands from Dubai, Morocco, Bahrain and Moldova from them. Turkey where Sabhankra hail from might not be quite so exotic but this definitely fits within the labels modus operandi and very much has the fiery and windswept feel of far off lands running through it. Described as ‘melodic black thrash’ in some quarters and ‘power – folk, death metal’ by the band themselves this always promised to be interesting.

Starting off with a very melodic weave and gruff vocals ‘Pyron’ sets things up and you are not sure quite how things are going to go genre wise. There are what sounds like some backing female vocal parts and this has hooks that get right in your head and it reminds overall a bit like a slower Therion song. ‘Against The False Gods’ solidifies position more and singer Savaş Sungur rasps and the faster gallop give this a much blacker demeanour. Melodicism and fast strumming riffs are at the forefront and this is very accessible stuff and only takes a couple of listens to win you over. A bit more bass definition in the mix wouldn’t hurt to give it all a bit more drive and oomph and the clicking drums sound a little formulaic but apart from that the tunes are on the whole pretty good.  ‘At times such as on ‘We March’ I am reminded a fair bit of mid era Rotting Christ around their Dead Poet album, which is no bad thing and proves that the band have some good chops about them. ‘Time Of War’ is a standout track and gives an ethnic flavour with some keyboard warbling before taking off on a blackened melodeath romp that’s pretty fast and furious.

This is the band’s third album and follows on from ‘Powercraft’ in 2006 and three EP’s so they obviously have a fair amount of material here meaning that this album lasts over an hour. Luckily despite this and the fact many of the songs are fairly lengthy it has not overstretched itself on the listens I have given it and I have found myself caught up in the flurry of riffs happily playing air-guitar along and picking up on the other nuances within the album such as a waft of clean vocals that drop in on occasionally and really add to the atmosphere of it all. For sheer savagery the band do also manage to hit their stride at times ‘Fate Is Already Written’ proving to be a particularly potent banger which no doubt goes down really well live. Again though listening to it I can’t help thinking that this is more black metal than anything else, this one having more than a faint whiff of Dissection about it as it speeds away.

Apparently Seers Memoir was released at the beginning of the year although it only just found its way to us. A post on the band’s Facebook states that they have just finished recording its follow up. Hopefully this will find its way to us too in due course as this could well be the stepping stone to something really great.

(7/10 Pete Woods)