Shadow Kingdom Records, 25 March
Sadhak is a side project of Andreas Hagen (High Priest of Saturn – the band, that is, not the actual job role). If this two-track debut EP is a sign of things to come, then keep your fingers crossed for more releases from this exciting Norwegian act.
This is slow, traditional, desolate doom metal dripping with quality and melody. Sadhak has been compared to UK doomsters Warning, and while there are also hints of Pilgrim and Solitude Aeturnus, it is the influence of Patrick Walker’s band that shines through most clearly.
In truth, the sound is perhaps more akin to Walker’s post-Warning outfit 40 Watt Sun, with dominant cymbals hissing and crashing like an endless tsunami. Above that, thick, liquid guitar tones drip like the earth’s final candle, hot, dark and sombre.
There are more pauses and direction changes in Hagen’s compositions than you might typically find in a Walker song, which interrupts the flow on occasion. Sadhak use choral backing on the second of these two tracks, an epic undertone that Warning or 40 Watt Sun would be likely to shy away from. We’re not entering Candlemass or Ereb Altor kind of territory here, but there is certainly a less claustrophobic, confessional feel to these tracks, a more expansive outlook.
Hagen is clearly not just a Warning fan – as his great work with High Priest demonstrates – and there is plenty of unique character and passion on offer here. As with the guitars and keys, his clean vocal melodies venture into a slightly more epic style; they are not quite as agonized as those to be found on Warning’s breathtaking ‘Watching From A Distance’, for example, and subsequently do not hit the same emotional buttons. However, Sadhak could be said to be more lyrically diverse than Walker, and this, coupled with some ambitious arrangements, provides many reasons to be optimistic.
The only disappointment is that there are only two tracks on this EP. We want to hear more – a lot more. Sadhak has started its journey on a very strong footing, and will hopefully remain on this path of pain, creating subtly beautiful doom metal that makes your heart as well as your ears bleed.
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