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Sabbra – ‘Raven Frost’

Independent Release
Burzum, Taake
Release Date
July 30, 2021
Independent Release
Black Metal

Sabbra, formed in 2019,is a one man Black Metal band hailing from Russia, since its initial conception the project has produced one(1) demo, two(2) Eps and its most recent and first full length release, ‘Raven Frost’. One of the beauties of listening to an album in which the architect and its creator is one and same individual is that you bear witness to the unfiltered and unaltered ideas and thoughts that flow through each note, just as it was conceived within the artist’s imagination. So how are the thoughts that are birthed into reality upon ‘Raven Frost’?

First, let’s start with the production……one can think of it like a sword forged by its own wielder, the one who will swing the blade, the most obvious choice would be to have fine craftsmanship done by a blacksmith, however, the leather which wraps the hilt is done to suit the grip of the berserker, the steel for the blade is chosen based on its balance and swiftness of its strike, the warrior pieces together his tool based on his preference. The production utilized here, even though it is crude and feels primitive, just like the weapon created by the hand of its master, it may be rudimentary, but in the right hand the rough steel can still crush the skull of a man. So too does the jagged demeanor of the mixing is used to its advantage by Sabbra, as the noise that is emitted makes the listener feel as though they are navigating through the cold walls of a labyrinth where the echoes and cries of the slain are heard in every corner, which brings forth an energy that allows the sound to swell around the listener. ‘Fire Night’ is a track that demonstrates the atmosphere painted by the haphazard noise that arches and flows in and out with every note.

In order for the production to be illuminated to its full potential, the instrumentation would be the torch bearer that harnesses the flame and keeps it ablaze. The guitars and drums follow a straight forward musical pattern which involves your standard tremolo picking and mid-tempo percussion which allows the strings to breathe. However a highlight and rather unique style that is taken is that most of the rhythmic patterns are repeated throughout the song, now this may seem like a negative, but the overall composition of the tracks are quite memorable so having certain sections being reiterated doesn’t separate you from the listening experience. The foundation that is created seems to have found inspiration upon giants such as Burzum (the forbidden Facebook word), where certain albums relied on that same approach whereby certain musical structures are looped. ‘Witchfinder’ is a track which employs this method as the groove which is heard is interjected into different portions of the song that acts like a canvas of sorts, granting the extra musical aspects freedom to build upon the structure. Another positive on ‘Raven Frost’ is the use of Black n Roll elements that is achieved by the simplistic drum beats as well as the raw tone emitted from the snare, these elements can remind one of Taake or even certain parts of Nachmystium. Listen to the track ‘The Chamber of Bones’ which implements that Black n Roll aspect quite well as the grooves chosen fit the simplistic aesthetic of the album but it never sounds lazy, rather the energy that courses through every chord feels potent yet upbeat.

The vocals that is dispelled gives a feeling that the vocalist is summoning the elements of a blizzard from within his air passage as the delivery of the sermons possess a slick yet icy attribute towards it, as though with every words spewed forth there would be a cloud of frost that is expelled from the lungs. The vox is one of the most important elements in ‘Raven Frost’ as it pulls and tightly stiches all other variables together to compose this unity. Another highlight of the vocals is the lingering effect that is echoed whenever verses are spouted, as though you can actually hear the moisture within the enunciation of each word, the stress that is placed on this delivery feels like a cold mist that lingers and swirls upon the peak of mountain.

Now onto the two (2) ambient pieces or dungeon synth pieces if you would prefer that term. The two tracks on the album are imbued with different spirits, as ‘Forgotten Lyre’ emits a tranquil and somber atmosphere with its keys and the chirping of birds creates the illusion that one is walking through a dense forest, bountiful of green with the rays of light peering through finger like branches as the sweet air fills your lungs, in that moment, bliss is discovered. While ‘Sorcery Blood’ gives off a calming tone which evolves into an ominous one, as though one is slowing walking into a still pool of water, each step your eyes drink in the untouched surroundings and natural architecture of the forest, each step into the water there is doubt as eyes gaze upon the woodland beauty before you, but there is no turning back as crimson oozes from broken flesh upon your wrists as each step takes you further into a watery grave. The ambient tracks adds a bit of juxtaposition towards the formula of the album, but a positive to note is that it never feels forced as it fits the mold without any protrusions, in other words it acts as an extension of the album.

Overall, this is a fantastic album that utilizes accessible grooves and a captivating aura with the synths, together the cohesion that is experienced throughout the album works flawlessly as you can allow your senses to drift within this sea of sound. I would recommend this for all Black Metal fans as well as those who are Dungeon Synth enthusiasts. To Sabbra, I look forward to the future releases.

recommended for all Black Metal fans as well as those who are Dungeon Synth enthusiasts

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