Things have been a bit turbulent for Finnish black metal cultists Sargeist. With only mastermind Shatraug left from the line up that recorded Feeding The Crawling Shadows in 2014, including long time collaborators Horns and Hoath Torog leaving, I was pretty apprehensive about this album truth be told. I guess the cover, black and white art instead of the usual single person photograph, also nudged me a little. I mean Shatraug still guides it sure, but I love this band so much that ah, fuck it. Time to let the Devil in.

‘Psychosis Incarnate’ leads off with no by your leave, no intro, nothing but one classic Sargeist ice edged riff which anchors me safely. Next the vocals from Profundus which are perfectly in keeping utilising both mid range snarl and the deeper cavernous sound. It’s a sound we all knew and love and closer to the last album than Let The Devil In. The production is less raw than Feeding… was but still nice and feral and the riff turbulent, intense and, well, Sargeist. ‘To Wander The Nights Eternal Path’ has a feel of maybe earlier Disciples… times. A teeth bared howl, and a superb low end rumble from Gruff and Abysmal which I’ve always loved about Sargeist.

So this is it. Fears vanished as a tempest that can only be Sargeist roars through you, shredding souls and digging the nastiest of hooks deep into you. As we progress it is most definitely closer to Feeding The Crawling Shadows than other works; deft, intense and elemental songs that are woven around the roiling chaos and the direction this seemingly untameable force is turned and wrestled into. It always has the feeling of the riffs barely complying, fighting the sung all the way and capable of snapping free set a moment’s distraction. As they do now and then and the blasts rip through. A dark, subterranean sound full of echoing through deep rock and unlit recesses.

And then after ‘Her Mouth Is An Open Grave’; a harrowing, perfectly named song that crawls through mud, we get the title track. This is simply something special. It could have come from the Let The Devil In sessions, that deep rich blood wine melody to be pulled under by. This is black metal perfection. Intense, mournful but still full of teeth and fury. This is a wolf, lean and desperate but somehow magnificent as it fights to the end. This is Sargeist bloody and roaring. Only From The Bogs Of Aughiska have produced a pure black metal song as good as this in 2018.

Oh, for me this album is a triumph. Sound wise it’s midway between Let The… and Feeding…Production is more epic, storm ridden stuff than the last more inward album. It’s Sargeist.

If you like black metal, there is no excuse. None. Unbound, bloody, wrapped in cold darkness and the band they all fear.

Frankly it’s peerless.

(9/10 Gizmo)