Do you like galloping riffs and sing-a-long choruses? Maybe you fancy frenzied blast beats and groovy guitar parts? Well, in that case this review is definitely not for you, simply because Sektarism is the exact opposite of what I described above.
With Fils de Dieu, their third full length album which was released more than a week ago (10th of September) by the label End All Life Productions (and distributed by the infamous NoEvDia), the French quartet has pushed its limits and boundaries to an unbelievable level of religious fanaticism.
During the interview I did with them one year ago, vocalist Eklezjas’Tik BerZerK said: “We have achieved our goals and our views and now aim to do even better with the album to come, “Fils de Dieu”. Maybe quite differently, you will see…”. And he was right, cause Fils de Dieu is something that I have never heard before, something Sektarism has not done until now.
Released one year after the splendid opus, La Mort de L’Infidèle, Fils de Dieu was recorded live in the studio (I assume during the same session as its predecessor), therefore the quality of the sound is impeccable and it provides the album that brute force and darkness that only the real recordings have.
It becomes perfectly clear from the very beginning that this album is not your traditional metal record that you can listen to when you enjoy a beer or want to feel happy. On the contrary, this record challenges and succumbs your senses and mind into a pitch black abyss, full of brimstone and fetid smells. The content of this record is black, putrid and extremely slow. With every listen it creeps under your skin and devours the last part of innocence that was left in you, spawning the seeds of doubt and the desire to cross the threshold, to the other side…Which side is that, it is up to you to find out at the end of the album. After the first couple of spins I was left “bouche bee” by its intensity, but it took me more and more time to really understand this beautiful and dark material for what it really is, to discover all its hidden parts that cleverly create this impressive chef d’oeuvre.
The first track, Oderint Dum Metuant is “only” 10 minutes long, but this track is very scary and uncomfortable, only creating some sort of a twisted intro for what is really to come. This collection of sounds and savage vocals puts you right to the test, wrapping you in its sombre and terrifying atmosphere.
The obsessive shamanic drums, the otherworldly screams and the sinister noises that can be heard during this ordeal put together a perfect soundtrack to your insanity. For 10 minutes there are no guitars, no “traditional” instruments a classic rock band would use (but you should have already known by now that Sektarism has proven not to be your “traditional” metal band, right?), instead you are viciously assaulted by a tortured voice and ritualistic noises. Too bad you cannot sense the smell. Of molested human flesh, of blood, of incense…Or can you?
The second track of the record, Sacrifice, is basically the center of this album, with its 33 minutes of pure religious dementia. Gongs, bells, invocations, whispered prayers and noises, all mixed with some ethereal sounds and accompanied by the now classic instruments (guitars, bass and drums), build up the spine of this album and also represent the essence of what Sektarism‘s music is all about.
If you think 33 minutes in a row are too much of a song for you then you are completely wrong. Sektarism has done this on purpose to provide the music a continuity which otherwise would have been fragmented, if the song would have been split in 2 or 3 distinct parts. Forcing you to “witness” a 33 minute ritual with no possibility to go to the next track is the best way to keep your attention focused so you can drown completely in that black abyss I was talking about earlier.
The moment when those crunchy guitars – with their heavy, doom infused riffs – and the super slow rhythmic section come into the being (7″ 45′) gives the whole picture a full sense of despair and abandonment that envelops you progressively. BerZerK‘s haunting vocals are some of the best vocals I have ever heard in this genre and I cannot help to feel oppressed and crushed under their power. In the end, after the last noises have finally stopped and the smoke has cleared, I was left sweaty and confused, asking myself what the hell just happened to me.
What Sektarism is playing is definitely not an easy music listen, definitely not for the faint of heart. In order to get to the beautiful, pulsating core which lies wrapped deep inside, one needs to crack open the heavy shell of its surface. And this is exactly why Sektarism is a true occult band, as the beauty of its message lies buried deep beneath the “superficial” layer of the album cover. Their message is not for everyone and one has to give this music many listens in order to better understand what these apostles of ignominy really preach about. The beauty is in their darkness but you need not to fear it, just embrace it and you’ll see it for what it is.
With Fils de Dieu the French combo has managed to create a superb album, which, in my humble opinion crosses the boundaries of acceptance and breaks the rules of any of your previous perceptions you might have had regarding extreme music, opening instead two heavy doors to new feelings and experiences one can live/get while listening to this band and its releases.
From start to finish, Fils de Dieu represents a sinister voyage back to those dark times when free thinking and free speech were offenses punishable by death and when a human life was worth nothing in the eyes of the mighty Lord.
This 44 minute release is nothing but a bold statement that the son of god had to die, because he was mortal after all. He was only brought back to life not by a miracle, but by the strong belief of a being too afraid to think for itself, too weak to oppose and to fight a power whose only scope was to enslave and instill fear and guilt in the mind and life of the common man.
Sektarism is not making music, they are using music as a tool to create atmosphere, images and sounds, inviting the listener to imagine with his mind’s eye what really happens behind every gong, behind every tortured scream or behind every beating of the ritual drum.
If you don’t like to imagine, then the best way to find this out for yourselves is to go to one of the shows the band will play this September, under the banner of the Lux In Tenebris European Tour 2018, which will include dates, among others, in France, Germany, Austria, UK and the Netherlands.
From what can be seen on YouTube, each live appearance of this fantastic band represents a truly insane religious manifestation, therefore catching them live somewhere is a must.
As they say, be there or be sorry.
Fils de Dieu track list:
1. Oderint dum metuant
Sektarism line up:
Eklezjas’Tik BerZerK – vocals
Kristik A.K. – bass
Shamaanik B. – drums
Messiatanik Armrek – guitars