Sacramentum – Thy Black Destiny (1999)
Not a bad way to end one’s career. Sacramentum’s “black destiny”, as you can see, was to develop its music to the height of its aggression and heaviness, while retaining the overall melodic nature (although polyphony and intricacy remain down, like on The Coming of Chaos). I wonder what might have happened to their style if they had continued releasing albums; my guess is that they’d probably have ended up doing some sort of technical death metal. It’s hard to say, really. For most members of the band, this is their most famous project; the only other band I can remember hearing that shares members is Runemagick, who is fairly obscure, although long running.
But enough about what Sacramentum could’ve been. Thy Black Destiny, although obviously more death metal oriented than its predecessors, contains a wider variety in its songwriting than its predecessors. Songs also contain a great deal of inner variety, with complex and varied structures, although they use verse-chorus more often than the last album. Outside the increased amount of blastbeats, though, the album isn’t very different instrumentally from its predecessor. The riffs remain fast and generally melodic, with frequent embellishment, and the drumming (outside blastbeats) often works on the same principles as on The Coming of Chaos; in short, thrashy with occasional references to older forms of metal. Furthermore, this is the first Sacramentum album to use downtuned guitars, which combine with a bassier production job to create a fundamentally different sound.
I’ve made fleeting mentions of how this album is better than its predecessor, but not superior to Far Away From The Sun. As previously stated, it’s closer to the 2nd album than the 1st, but the increased levels of aggression make for a refreshing change. One of the problems with The Coming of Chaos is that its songs occasionally felt rather lacking in dynamics, and by ascending to higher peaks of volume and heaviness, this is mostly resolved. I have mentioned on numerous occasions that metal is not known for having massive amounts of dynamics, but here they do come in handy, helping to give songs more definition in comparison. It’s not really a replacement for the counterpoint and intricacy of the debut, but this is still a fine album. For any other band, this would be a career milestone, but for Sacramentum… it’s just their black destiny. Further reinforcing this conclusive feel is the fact that, for once, the concluding track is a real song, if a rather slow and simple one, as opposed to something that dissolves into ambience and noise.
Highlights: “Daemonaeon”, “Death Obssession”, “Overlord”