- Album Reviews

Saratan – Martya Xwar

I must say that I had decided to avoid disproportionate compliments (fangirl thoughts), on my reviews, but what a girl can do when she is shaken and seduced by such a gleaming work? They say that music is mathematical, and this album, Martya Xwar, by Saratan, has convinced me that musical mathematics can be incredibly exciting and dark. So I delved into my limited knowledge of math and with great effort and sacrifice I solved something… Ladies and Gentlemen… my first perfect equation:

___________________________  =     NEW LEVEL OF EPICNESS

(Note to Self: Damn! I still suck at math…)

Saratan (Arabic word that means Cancer) is a polish death/thrash metal band founded in 2003 in Kraków. The current line up is formed by Adam Augustyńsk on guitars, singer and bassist Jarek Niemiec, and drummer Michał Stefański. Martya Xwar is the third album by the band, a great stunning hybrid son of death and thrash metal, with a raw, visceral and delirious sound.

The first that came to my mind when I heard the term “death / thrash” was, obviously, Slayer. And yes, these guys have a lot of Slayer in their essence, but they deserve to be highlighted for wanting their own style and using so many different influences. As Dr. Frankenstein himself, they have been collecting members and extremities from different dead bodies, to give life to their creation. As a finger gets cruelly into an open wound, Saratan lashes without mercy, basing their lyrics on anti-christian themes, direct injections into the veins. The intro, Taj-e Sahra takes pride in their clear ethnic / oriental influences, which can be heard throughout the whole album, but here they just flow easily with a clean and naked sound, a mesmerizing and somewhat sensual way of capturing the attention immediately. Mastema camouflages a female voice, lost between dangerously sharp energetic guitar and great bass work. Special mention to Mr. Stefanski, I can almost see his hands bleeding all over the drums. I hate to use exclamation points in my reviews, but I need to… Damn! The man delivers!!! … The song is very intense and has a powerful and lingering tone. Verminous Disease has a simply delicious riff, and is generally tasty and eargasmic. The impetuous and delirious solo made my eyes open wide and start headbanging in silence. Again, absolutely brilliant drum work. Ba al Zevuv starts with a jungle atmosphere, very magical and spiritual drums ala Jumanji, which persist throughout the song in a deadly and unstoppable dance, the impending combination of guitar, bass, drums and vocals again involving the mysterious mermaid singing on the horizon. The band also did a pretty good video of this song, black and white styled, last year.

I forgot to mention that the first time I heard this album (the first many times actually), I was hospitalized. Dressed with one of those typical hospital gowns that show proudly your arse to the world, waiting on my bed for my next disturbing exams, I replayed Silent Sound of Mourning over and over again and I became addicted to it, this track is very dark and enveloping, a varied structure and a hard and ruthless sound. The singer’s voice sounds particularly desperate and emotional, and in the middle of this apocalypse appears a piano, equal or darker than the rest of the song, which lifts you into its arms to an unknown and fantastic place…. I don’t know if it was my face or my involuntary movements, but at this point my nurse was convinced that I was part of a strange cult, and she took care of me very carefully, probably fearing that I could eat her at some cannibalistic ritual. With The Secret Path Of Martya Xwar I discovered that I’m actually really good doing air drumming. While every atom of my body twisted with joy and excitement with the great guitarist’s technique, that overflows adrenaline as the singer shows off his best screams. God That Disappears confirms, without a doubt, that the drummer is not human, but rather a killing machine full of rage. An insane guitar, heavy bass and outstanding growls form a new definition of intensity. The instrumental track Asmodea is the final touch on this great album, which closes a sacred circle of power, technique and incalculable fury.

In conclusion, Martya Xwar is an outstanding album, highly technical, based on thrash and death metal. The band experienced at each song with a different structure and flavor, perfectly amalgamated influences ranging from almost progressive and demented atmospheres to the heaviness of Machine Head and the darkness of Behemoth. Some detractors of death and thrash say that you don’t need to sound angry to make metal music. That is certainly true, but let’s say it is also very useful, at least for me, to vent my anger with music like Saratan’s. Without mighty albums like this, I would already have killed a few dozen of annoying human beings. I’m a tiny and somewhat shy girl, and I have being a long long long time (too long), searching for an album that is heavy and disturbing enough to make me feel like a complete badass.
Martya Xwar is a powerful and virulent album, rarely seen, an experiment, hybrid, with an overwhelming and infectious personality. Perfect to hear at full blast inside your car in the morning (right after your boss calls you because it’s late and you have not arrived), and for a brief moment, send your boss, the clock, and the whole world to hell.

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