Album of the Month

SubRosa return with their most Doom-oriented album to date, which proves to be yet another masterpiece.
(Read more)

Classic revisited

Random band

Twilight's Embrace are a five-piece band from Nottingham, England. Heavily influenced by the early Peaceville sound, their melodic brand of Death/Do...
(read more)

Sektarism : L'Offrande

Sektarism play Satanist Funeral Doom.

You can say it the way you want, but if we exclude the casual tongue-in-cheek, horror movies-inspired references, Satanism as a true religious statement has never really been represented in the Doom Metal scene (contrary to Christianity, which may actually make Doom the holiest of all Metal genre, come to think of it). Ready to change that state of things are French newcomers Sektarism. Here we meet some guys – they all keep their identity secret - who are all proud orthodox satanists (which means they do praise the Ol' Nick with the same deep faith that inhabits your traditional WASP when going to church) and all are also members of rather well-known underground French Black Metal bands.

'L’Offrande' ('the offering') is their first EP, consisting of a single 17-minute song. Musically, we dive in the deepest abyss of the darkest Funeral Doom. Forget all keyboards arrangements meant to bring some freshness between heavy strikes, here we're speaking of raw, harsh and punishing Funeral Doom, à la Profetus, Woebegone Obscured or Thergothon. The lyrics are a long prayer to the Horned Lord from below, asking you to bow down in humility and sacrifice everything you hold dear to Him. In some way, it's close to the nihilism of Wormphlegm or Stabat Mater, albeit with a definitive more religious point of view.

This, of course, brings an obvious question: is this kind of statement compatible with the various thematics Doom has been known for? For the lyrics (in French) are quite clear (full translation below):

Greet your Lord, salute His eternal and macabre splendor!

Bow down, bow down with all the humility required by your offering for, as important it is for your wretched person, it shall not be enough to satiate His hunger!!

Unconditionally you shall abandon your ego, your shameful will to live and the remains of your compassion for mankind.

Become His right arm
Kill even your own brother

And in your blindness you shall receive Divine Ecstasy
Greet your Lord, salute His eternal and macabre splendor!

Offer your flesh, offer your soul, renounce the light... Let despair and hatred invade you... torment... death...
And in your blindness you shall receive Divine Ecstasy
Greet your Lord, salute His eternal and macabre splendor!

O Satan...

This is the classic question of lyrical content... generally speaking, Christian lyrics in Doom tend to be written/sung as prayers or desperate cries, a moan coming from Man trying either to have an answer to an unanswerable question or to express a need to fill a void left in his soul. In some rare cases, you can also find classic prayers expressing a deep personal commitment to what Christianity means as a dogma (as it's the case with Doomenicus, David Benson, Count Raven or Virgin Black), but still questioning the institutions that have corrupted the original message (Virgin Black is a good example of a Christian-related band that does not like everything Christianity can represent today, being in the more progressive-minded side of things; but you'll also find that attitude in Paramaecium or Goliath). By its strict definitions and dogmas, satanism is theoretically far away from the classic despair, gloom, sadness, melancholy, etc... one find associated when reading the words 'Doom Metal'. Yet, the simple literal meaning of the word 'Doom', as well as the bleak and hateful lyrics of bands like Winter, Sorrow or Eyehategod is a testimony to that fact that, deep below the layers of grey sadness that cover it, Doom Metal is also as hateful and negative as the most blasphemic Black Metal horde can be. And even more, sometimes, as any fan of Sludge can testify. This is what makes Sektarism such an interesting band: they are opening, with full force, a new door in Doom themes.

While this may clearly ice some potential listeners, I think it would be a mistake. Some time ago, on a forum where Hell rides, Sir Albert Witchfinder (talking about a Christian Doom site) said: "Jesus has as much His place in Doom as Satan". Just that, until now, there has never been a Doom band that has expressed a genuine belief in satanism. And while being as hateful as one could expect from a vocalist primarily from a Black Metal band, Sektarism's singer sounds also desperate and soul-scorched. This, coupled with the raw, unrelenting bleak and heavy (albeit not very fresh) music, makes Sektarism a band to keep an eye on.

The EP has its flaws (mostly the fact that the song gets a bit too repetitive in the bad sense of the term, as you'll never get into the kind of trance a band like SunnO))) can manage to put you into), and the sound is rawer than raw (akin to what Black Funeral used to do produce in term of fuzzy and dirty sound), but for a first try it's a good shot. Still, in need of some improvement on the sound aspect and of more focus on the coherence of their music as well as on the message they are trying to express; however, Sektarism still manage to deliver enough goods here to satisfy any avid fan of sick and twisted Funeral Doom. You should take note of this band: with time and hard work, they could very well manage to convert you.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. L'Offrande

Duration : Approx. 17 minutes

Visit the Sektarism bandpage.

Reviewed on 2011-02-26 by Laurent Lignon
Forever Autumn
Advertise your band, label or distro on doom-metal.com