Heresy itself is a liberation, a word with its core derived not from wrong-doing or uncouth apostasy but from choice. The heretic was a man who’d not come to be seen as a blasphemer or an outsider sentenced to excommunication or murder by rule of religious law until the lowest kind of man, the Christian, would reign over the land demolishing culture and prying incestuous fingers upon the most powerful. It’d become impossible to be a well-funded muse and impressive scholar without the funding and support of the wealthiest Catholic dogs across Europe and thus only a few natural philosophers and scholars across the ages would ever rebel and denounce the papacy or whatever vacuous sect of the Lie would inconvenience their quest for knowledge. Anglican theologian and imaginative loon George Stanley Faber would spend the first fifty years of the nineteenth century crafting elaborate scholarly arguments, and roughly thirty volumes, compacted with the dry feces of a mind obsessed with proving that all mythology of world civilizations could be traced back to the stories held within the Bible. In this reverse engineering of this elaborate plagiarist fable Faber would often become incredibly and insufferably tied up in the most hilarious details as he organized the ‘word of God’ as if it were memorandum per office administration over the ages. Only the most bored and pointless Biblical scholars could manage this level of ridiculous fervor yet his most famous ‘achievement’ was only noted as an afterthought, and only survived because he’d written so much drivel that it’d bore catalog. He’d suggested, without source or any historical documentation, that Pope Innocent III declared triclavianism (as a belief) a true ‘heresy’ of the Catholic church. How many nails were driven into the body of the Christ during his crucifixion? Would you believe Catholics have been arguing this point for hundreds of years? The eight nails Dublin, Ireland black/thrash metal band Sacrilegia hold in hand offer more than enough unholy ammunition for the world-spanning blasphemic stylistic anti-Christian holocaust their ‘The Triclavian Advent’ presents.
Freshly tempered and cracked through flesh, sinew, bone, and flesh again into damned blood-soaked wood a trinity of unholy blackened sects damn the way forward for Christendom by way of Australian heretical mastery, Teutonic precision, and the many-pronged Satanic barbarism of Scandinavia in the hands of Sacrilegia who feature some lineage with members past-and/or-present of Axial Symmetry and Vircolac. Blackened thrash metal has a thousand points of entry and ten times as many spawn, as a result it becomes important to classify the bands influenced by the most recent generation versus those who seek inspiration from the earliest waves of influences and beyond. This becomes a futile exercise when faced with Sacrilegia as they’ve crafted this demo with an assuredly strong sense of classic extreme thrash attack but they’ve pulled from the best of every conceivable generation of black/thrash for inspiration while still feeling was ‘fresh out the gates’ as Ketzer did back in 2009. Desaster‘s ‘Divine Blasphemies’ and Destroyer 666‘s ‘Cold Steel for an Iron Age’ are two meaningful anchors for what to expect in terms of a post-second wave black metal level of intricacy being applied to old school German thrash metal. There are moments where allusions to the more retro feeling slashers like Cruel Force and early Inculter are likewise appreciable and I’d wanted to land there but Nocturnal Graves‘ ‘Satan’s Curse’ is perhaps the best matched offering in terms of sheer blasphemy, riff, and rugged black metal groove applied to thrash metal. Sacrilegia thrive within an incredibly broad niche and though I’ve named six bands that are comparable each place great emphasis on a high-yield constancy of riff after riff, “The Triclavian Advent” is already a promising pack-leader in this sense.
As if their own powerful blackened conglomerate wasn’t refined into enough of an obsidian dagger upon the neck of shrieking victim, the mid-point of Sacrilegia‘s debut strikes the blade’s hilt down deepening those crucifixion nails with an incredibly fitting cover of Australian legends Armoured Angel. This eponymous song bears a bloodied, memorable groove with its twisted Infernäl Mäjesty-esque presence and a Venom-like growl in its original form; Sacrilegia have smartly placed this moment right at the apex of ‘The Triclavian Advent’ and it offers a sort of ‘heavy metal’ plateau to ride as their guitar work reaches a peak complexity, this reminded me heavily of Ares Kingdom in the moment and the follow-up of “The Unhallowed” felt accomplished in juxtaposition, almost on the level of recent Aura Noir or Mongrel’s Cross (see: “Unheeded Warnings”) releases. To rub those sort of shoulders shows great insight into the listening experience, an understanding of the ‘flow’ of a full listen at work but, also a meaningful level of specific taste applied that any new band should approach in providing a memorable experience that is sub-genre specific. The cover song is a shining moment but also a moment of rest before Sacrilegia really powers into the second half of the album, which I connected with even more than the first.
At some point in April there were close to twenty black/thrash or blackened heavy metal records on my plate and as I had finally sorted out my thoughts on each I began to realize that I’d so quickly welcomed Sacrilegia into my headspace that I hadn’t taken any time to analyze it. It checks the right boxes for intensity, variety, and comes with a hundred riffs stack within about 34 minutes so, with consideration for the lasting value of ‘The Triclavian Advent’ I know from experience that I won’t tire of its production sound (thanks to Marco of Demonomancy, now at Necromorbus Studios) nor its focus on both classicist and modern-revisionism in terms of blackened thrash metal guitar work. It’d be the themes of heresy and its fist-shaking sense of blasphemic defiance that ensures a spot in my own collection. Highly recommended. For preview “The Unhallowed” is a stunning arrangement to start with but it’ll be the superior black metal grooves of “Bloodstained” and “Relics of Oncoming Doom” that will ensure multiple listens over time.
Rise only to fall again. 4.0/5.0
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