It is rare that a band lives up to the promise of its initial recordings
by the time it releases a debut LP. A band that releases a well-conceived
demo or EP and immediately becomes engulfed in hype is often doomed to
fail. Sacriphyx are one of those few bands for which the debut LP is
represents both a continuation of the trajectory laid out in the band’s
previous recordings and also a substantial step forward. Some years ago.
NWN! received the “Lone Pine” demo CDr from the band. While unsolicited
demos are usually disregarded. Sacriphyx became something of an obsession
for NWN! due to the band’s unique. yet traditional. approach to metal.
Sacriphyx have rushed nothing in arriving at the release of “The Western
Front.” Since the 2007 release of the demo. Sacriphyx have moved at a
deliberate pace having released only one split EP and a split 12” during
the intervening years. (All of these tracks are also collected on the
recently released self-titled compilation CD.) Conceptually. Sacriphyx
remain focused upon the intricate dynamics of war. While war is an
omnipresent topic within metal. it is usually described in a simplistic
manner loaded with juvenile glorification. Sacriphyx take a different
thematic and sonic approach. While certainly not dealing with the subject
matter in an “intellectual” or “political” context. they instead capture
the elemental aspects of combat: tragedy. valor. triumph and despair. The
band’s distinctive music perfectly suits the imagery Sacriphyx projects.
The band draws upon myriad styles and influences and “The Western Front”
presents a broad array of sounds all drawn into the overall fabric of the
album. Most notably. Sacriphyx call upon the legacy of Greek Black Metal.
but recast the occult Hellenic sound in the service of the band’s
melancholy and militaristic narrative quality. One also finds in the songs
passages of forlorn doom and frantic black and death metal often
intertwined with a traditional heavy metal sensibility. Sacriphyx is
comparable to Arghoslent in its capacity to channel heavy metal influences
through the lens of more extreme metal. The guitar work is especially
integral to the songwriting as Sacriphyx adorns its epic tracks with
lilting guitar solos. Even in the faster and more intense passages.
Sacriphyx lays perfectly suited solos across the foundation of the songs.
There truly is no band operating in the same territory as Sacriphyx at
this time. Though fans were forced to wait for years for this anticipated
debut. few. if any. will find anything remotely disappointing in it.