Right. This dire start into the malevolent year of the Dark Lord 2022 demands some vile and truly metallic response. The RMR crew’s mutual soul is pregnant with desire for the real thing. Deep, dark, blackened things to be precise, terrible things. Atrocities that whelped themselves in somber Scandinavian forests, summons to old daemons howled into the cold night and hardened in the hot fires of age-old churches. That is what we desire whilst the drums of war sing their terrible song to whatever dreary destination they may take us.
So, one of the sturdy pieces of that blackened series will be Sidious and their new record Blackest Insurrection. And my word, this band came a long way from the Behemoth-laden 2014 piece Revealed in Profanity and the somewhat weak-tea record called Temporal of 2019.
But this time, all weakness went out the window, and in comes an aggressive, meaty wall of sound. A pretty awesome tremolo-fest that comes on a tsunami of ever-present rasps and howls. And for once, the RMR deckhands remain unconcerned about that croaky onslaught, the vocals are straight where they ought to be. Their offering probably matches intensity with the likes of Vulture Lord or Sarcoptes.
In other words, Scandinavian Black Metal from the UK is on the menu with some insane energy on open display. No doubt they stuck the word infernal to their brand of BM. And for some added spice, Sidious is yet another acolyte of Clobber Records, of which one of their main fiends tried to hammer us to a pulp in the not-so-distant past.
Already the title track will tell ya where this is heading. Blackened power that surfs on hardened beats and a speedy delivery that keeps things interesting. Blackest Insurrection won’t invent anything new. But it will – for sure – have any extreme metallist salivating. Melodic to a point, the record never ventures out into the vile mainstream. Instead, it craftily sails just south of that demarkation line between the underground and the less hardened metal souls.
Now, whilst the title track and also the excellent Blood Soaked Mist roam the soundscape at some 150 mph, Hailing Shards of Agony at first takes a more stately road. This one truly is the filet piece of the record. A friggin’ headbanger of a track. You’ll get treated to changes of tempi, rasps, and even a monologue that – somehow – avoids that dreaded cheese trap. In fact, the spoken word sounds like one of Orwell’s brainwashed foot soldiers in search of Room 101. And all of that comes on a pretty cool mid-tempo groove that we seldom found on Extreme Metal records to date.
At times, Blackest Insurrection sounds like an invocation of an entity mightier than thou around a roaring pyre in the midst of the Nordic tundra. Some manifestation of amorphous horrors that you won’t live long enough to describe. And the band’s not even ritualistically inclined. Or, at least not openly so.
Finally, the RMR deck crew waited a long time for another great Black Metal piece. Even if 2021 wasn’t without its delicious dark spots. And for some reason, Sidious delivered beautifully. This is one record that will make you fear the dark in the presence of something evil. Sharp claws, toothy jaws, and an unholy feral hunger included. Brutal, grim, full of dark aggression – and exactly what the Dark Lord ordered.
Blackest Insurrection, indeed. And I hope that the established bands take heed. There’s a new horde on the block yapping at their heels. True, teeth-gnashing Black Metal, infernally served.
Ed’s note: The next in the series is Sidus Atrum. Take heed.