Home > Music > Sacramentum – The Coming of Chaos (1997)

Sacramentum – The Coming of Chaos (1997)

Because you can never have enough melodic black metal. Sacramentum released their 2nd full-length in 1997, and managed to score a deal with Century Media Records, who had in the years leading up to this album’s release become a significant force in extreme metal. Mind you, Sacramentum’s debut is one of the best black metal albums of all time. On this album, however, they eschewed that to become a better version of Dissection. The Coming of Chaos is simpler, more direct, closer to ordinary rock and metal than its illustrious predecessor. Rather unfortunate, but few bands can hold a peak of such greatness.

Luckily for the listener, this album does not suck. It reaches higher peaks of power and glory than The Somberlain, and holds it for longer. Mind you, in the light of its successor (Thy Black Destiny), which develops the band’s sound into a ferocious, warlike assault while retaining the complex melodic edge, this is probably their weakest album, but even it has its essential contributions to the band’s voice and sound. The best example of this is probably the introductory track, “Dreamdeath”, which shows off the change in methodology. It begins with one of those layered riffs that made the debut so great, and then proceeds to drive most of the song with more basic, aggressive ones, often with leads flowing over it. While it does retain the anthemic qualities of earlier work by the band and adds violence that was occasionally lacking on the debut (not that such is necessarily a bad thing), I can’t help but think that the band here has settled into a comfortable rut, leading to some degree of stagnation.
Most of the songs on here follow this general approach of fast speeds and aggressive riffs, with less obvious black metal-isms. The drumming often relies on ‘thrash beats’ (which one also hears on The Somberlain) as opposed to the blastbeats of the first album and the more varied percussion of the next. Meanwhile, as previously mentioned, the guitars alternate between the more polyphonic material that was typical of the debut, and faster, more minimalistic material. One could view this as a transitory album; while it does have a style of its own, it sometimes eschews it in favor of works more reminiscent of its surroundings. Case in point – “Awaken Chaos” is very similar to material off the debut in terms of its pacing and structure, while “Black Destiny” looks forward to the more death metal oriented material of the band’s final album. I’m guessing that said track was one of the band’s favorites; why else would they name an entire album after it?

In short, why this album succeeds where The Somberlain stumbled and eventually failed is that Sacramentum’s approach to songwriting is fundamentally stronger. They integrate their influences more effectively, and mix their black/death leanings with their melodic songwriting instead of alternating them. This is why even at their perceived nadir, Sacramentum is still better than most bands out there, even without the vigor and ambition that marked them. However, unless you’re a rabid Gothenburg/Swedeath fan who wants to hear the band at what may be their most accessible, you should probably start with the surrounding content.

Highlights: “As Obsidian”, “Awaken Chaos”, “Black Destiny”

P.S: Closing your album off with a lengthy noise track is pretty damn wacky, don’t you think? Didn’t stop Strapping Young Lad on Alien, though.

  1. Tukkun
    2012/08/03 at 05:15

    Don’t use the soap!

  1. 2012/08/08 at 21:57

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