Sator Malus - Dark Matters
Forever Plagued
Black Metal
6 songs (52'00")
Release year: 2017
Forever Plagued
Reviewed by Alex

Members of Dutch Sator Malus are playing all over the Dutch underground metal scene, and not only black metal, but to know the names of Weemoed, Cirith Gorgor or Hooded Priest, you really have to be a student of the Dutch scene. I am not, and always associated Holland with death metal, rather than with its more scandalous cousin. Listening to Ominous Overture from Sator Malus debut Dark Matters, there is an inevitable feeling that something extreme is to follow, you are not quite sure what, but the name of Ominous Overture for the instrumental intro could not have been chosen any better.

What is to follow is certainly pretty raw, but not an unlistenably incoherent, black metal experience. Delving into long winding tracks, which don’t overload on the number of riffs per song, Sator Malus go for an orthodox religious experience with their style. That fact wasn’t lost on me throughout the album, but I think more sweeping swaying melodies are needed to create a winner with this approach. Listening to Eerie Elemental Eidos, I wasn’t quite sure Sator Malus will get there, but steady forward progress motion of Seeds of the Plague certainly reaches the needed apex, where surprisingly clean chorus awaits and tremolo triumphs, laid over incessant double bass. Throughout Dark Matters there are more successful, buzzsaw, but not too fuzzy, tremolo chord sequences (My Journey), but the most melodic Sator Malus comes off on the slower and denser closer Endless Cycles of Life and Death, where song’s fabric is the most monolithic and higher cleaner vocal are totally unexpected.

You can feel excitement, exaltation and triumph on Dark Matters, be it of personal variety or that of dark forces. Not constantly, but I did find myself mesmerized at times, a sign of the music connecting with me on an intrinsic level. Sator Malus can be compared to less mind bending The Ruins of Beverast, a little less hypnotic and more straightforward with its edginess. If drums and bass guitar on the album were pushed any higher in the mix, indeed, Dark Matters would have taken on the war, death metal barbarity, despite corpse paint black-and-white picture of the lineup taken somewhere in the woods. Armed Hatred, for example, is sounding the apocalyptic horns of war creating an uncomfortable feeling with its up and down speed. The song settles into the ancient Vikingy thrashy groove for a while, but there is hell all around, and descent into Dante’s Inferno continues.

Not quite top tier in terms of being captivating throughout, Sator Malus may be attractive to the fans of rawer Scandinavian black metal and its more spellbinding brethren from rest of Europe.

Killing Songs :
Seeds of the Plague, Endless Cycles of Life and Death
Alex quoted 73 / 100
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