Sanhedrin – And On Into the Eternal Nether…Of Forgotten and Stricken Souls

And On Into the Eternal Nether…Of Forgotten and Stricken Souls
Black/death metallers Sanhedrin are a four piece hailing from the true founding grounds of grimness and evil, Hvddersfield, spouting their second blasphemous offering forth to corrupt the ears of you poor bastards, and for free no less!
Minor notes from an acoustic guitar ring out maliciously, as ‘And On Into The Eternal Nether…’ begins, and roll across a bleak wasteland, snow capped mountains, thick forestry or whatever your own custom black metal landscape includes. The haunting acoustic is in the company of the black metal spoken (or near enough) word, which saves itself by being fairly short in duration, leaving the atmosphere intact. The section thankfully sounds more like a sequence of devilish noises than a monologue which could have gotten dangerously queer.

An unexpected twist in this first track takes place when the guitar; strumming instead of the hypnotic prelude quickens, sounding like a Mexican classical guitarist possessed by Jon Nodtviedt and Chuck Schuldiner combined. The track at this point does have a “voice of the soul” feel, with some good fretwork working around the acoustic. I was surprised to learn that the solos on the EP are improvised, they sound like they’ve been thoughtfully written out, and at no point did I think “when will this egotistical wanker shut up?
The second and main track on the EP, (‘…Of Forgotten and Stricken Souls’) is an epic 12 minute integration of Black, melodic and death metal. Immediately, as the first riff comes in, it’s apparent that there are strong influences of early melodic death such as at the gates, with vocals reminiscent of Tomas Lindberg in their savage delivery. Although it pulls from a few different styles, the song fits and flows well. The freedom to explore within the song is helped due to the length of the track which lets it come together. It’s not easy to span such a length of time within a song without sounding pretentious of potentially boring the shit out your audience by trying to do too much and sounding pretentious, which thankfully isn’t the case.
What appeals to me most about ‘…Of Forgotten and Stricken Souls’ is that in parts there’s that “epic” (I hate that word these days) feeling that Dissection were the masters of, a kind of positive energy in black metal. Sanhedrin achieve this by using harmonies and simple major riffs to break up the faster paced sections with darker riffing. Just as you’re sitting back and contemplating this change, you’re kicked viciously in the balls by a stomping death metal section with a powerful vocal rhythm, a violent crackhead clown at one of Gaahl’s wine tasting evenings.  Once again there’s some tasty guitar work thrown into the mix towards the end of the track, with a memorable alternating ring out that would send Dark Funeral running in fear for the musty caverns of Satan’s colon.
The EP ends with a classical piano piece ‘Leviathan Restrained’ by vocalist Reece Holloway. The piece has a gothic feel to it, but doesn’t really have the depressing feeling you might associate with it. In a similar way to the previous track the song manages to sound cold but positive, cleverly using major chords placed amongst the other haunting notes. The track is an interesting idea, though I only would’ve found it more appropriate after a few heavier tracks, the title song being the only track that gives you a full idea of what the band are about.
And On Into the Eternal Nether…Of Forgotten and Stricken Souls’ is a solid EP that seems to have more ambition than many releases from bands fighting to establish their good name. Sanhedrin have no shortage of ideas or good riffs and a noticeable difference in style since their debut album would suggest that the band are defining their sound or exploring ideas, either way, there’s a lot of potential for things to come. The lack of pretence in Sanhedrin is a good thing, which is why I have a bit of an issue with the lyrics, which slot nicely into one of black metal’s many clichés, the anti religion routine.
Not a personal jibe at Sanhedrin, but when the fuck was the last time you felt oppressed by Christianity?  People should understand the hypocrisy of denouncing religion whilst stating what people should and shouldn’t believe themselves. It isn’t relevant to us, and it’s an issue that bands love to regurgitate, especially in black metal. Why not talk about something relevant to our society? Sanhedrin, for example, are from Huddersfield, where depravity lurks behind every corner, plenty of scope for grim lyrics.
Anyhow, if you fancy a slice of some quality, aggression-fuelled black/melodic death metal pie, get yourself onto Sanhedrin’s Facebook page for the download link. As I said, it’s fucking free so why not be super cool underground and get on it now eh?
Michael Collins
Download ‘On Into the Eternal Nether…Of Forgotten and Stricken Souls’ either via their Facebook page, or alternatively, via their Bandcamp page

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