Symphony of Evil
posted on 1/2007 By:
I have three bands in my metal collection that call Russia home: Forest Stream, Blackdeath, and Old Wainds. That’s it. Pretty remarkable, considering the sheer immensity of the country, and the ridiculous breadth of my collection. So, why does it seem rare for a metal band from Russia to be on the tips of metalheads’ tongues at the watercooler? Especially in the Western Hemisphere? Well, apart from possible promotion issues, if I were to base my answer purely on the large sample of Russian bands that have recently floated our direction courtesy of the good folks at Metalism Records, I’d say it’s because there are still a number of Russian metal acts focusing their attention on styles long since swept under the ol’ carpet. Case in point – Moscow’s Sangara.
Folks, this style of third tier power-thrash was a difficult sell for me back when it was fairly rampant in 1989, and now I’ve spent the better part of the past week listening to an album that’s effectively stirred extremely dusty memories of releases such as Midas Touch’s Presage of Disaster, Mortal Sin’s Face of Despair, and Onslaught’s In Search of Sanity – not exactly what I’m looking for when I sign up to review something in our swelling queue. Personal preferences aside, even if you hold the above examples dear to your heart, the songs found here are a fairly lackluster interpretation of the style. Most of the tunes follow a similar formula of mid-paced thrash built on the loosest foundation of Ride the Lightning, with deep, traditional metal inspired vocals sorely lacking range and exhilaration.
Sangara does actually manage to break through the clouds during a few instances on Symphony of Evil. The speedy “Hate” steps up the pace and leaves one wondering why the hell the band didn’t fashion more tunes at a similar gait, and the lead guitar work courtesy of Alexey Shkapov is actually quite melodic and well-crafted, but these positive elements are quickly eclipsed by the record’s overly routine song-writing, and the downright cringe-worthy offal of slower moments such as “Under the Ruins” and “Pain”.
There’s no avoiding the occasional donning of the asshole hat when you sign up to be a metal critic. While I understand there’s an enormous amount of effort required to release nearly any album, I have a hard time recommending the derivative, third tier thrash of Russia’s Sangara to our readers at large. Especially when there are so many other high quality releases vying for your hard earned cash. I’d recommend sitting this one out.
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