It’s not unusual to have bands from one geographic region dipping back in time and getting thematically entranced by a far removed and often ancient civilisation. Just think about the amount of Americans who walk like an Egyptian for example. Saqra’s Cult are from Brussels in Belgium and have gotten all entranced by South America and the Inca way of life, replicating it to musical form with some quite striking sounds and nuances that really do whip you off to a bygone time. With members of acts such as Maleficence, Spermafrost, and Possession in their ranks this is their second album after 2017 release Forgotten Rites, one I must have missed out on as this is my first listen to them. Make no mistake I sat up and took note from the first earth shattering scream unleashed on it and quickly found that I was plundering the depths of a far off place and time myself. The band have been getting a bit of a cult reputation on album and with live performances of late and it’s really no surprise on listening to this. Although the album has only 4 tracks on it and runs at a slim-lined 30 minutes it definitely makes a hell of an impact.

A chanting clamour and aforementioned scream greet the listener on the opening title track and once the musicians blaze into action we are thrust into a seething otherworldly cauldron wondering if we have just heard the musical equivalent of a human sacrifice. This is tempestuous and fevered black metal played at break-neck pace but with some slower tempos really leaving the melody to breathe. Guitars grind, drums thunder and the vocals scream with tribal command, hang onto your head, it sounds like this lot are intent on lopping it off and placing it on a big spike for all to see. Some short spiky staccato guitar signatures are particularly incessant and drive away and the band seem to have the control and ferocity of countrymen Wiegedood about them in delivery, stopping the song on drop of a pin and raging into the next ‘Endless Devotion.’

Things slow and ‘Legends of Pururaucas’ proceeds to draw in and mesmerise building in pitch. There’s definitely something reminiscent of the Ukrainian greats Drudkh amidst the sharp guitar parts and I am drawn towards similar with the themes created by offshoot Blood Of Kingu here, a sudden operatic warble keeps the ever expressive vocals all the more interesting. There’s stacks here to keep you enthralled and coming back for repeated listens, the short running time seems almost perfect although another track or 2 wouldn’t have hurt either and I could definitely have done with more here. Rumbling into final track ‘Last Denial’ it is a hefty mad dash for survival akin to escaping from a particularly vicious race of people intent on sacrificing you to their gods. You would be almost foolish to step back in but it won’t be long before you simply cannot resist in traversing the nooks and crannies of this savagery all over again.

(8/10 Pete Woods)