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Sektemtum – “Ebony Grand Master” (Song Premiere)

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My initial Sektemtum experience was strongly connoted. With the current lineup acting as Mütiilation’s latest live lineup and their debut featuring French black metal visionary Willy “Meyhna’ch” Roussel, I honestly expected Sektemtum to be yet another example of France’s rich heritage in raw, vampyric black metal. After one listen I learned that, while Sektemtum is definitely black metal, Mütiilation they are not.

Clad in leather and sunglasses, Sektemtum takes the traditional ancient, melodic trappings of the classic Black Legions sound and turns it on its head, or, rather, takes it back to the ’80s. Panacea shows this black metal trio taking on a surprisingly “rocking” energy, hiding rank and melodic evil in the midst of catchy rhythms and traditionalist-enraging pop hooks. Feeding off the duality of frantic, arena energy and subterranean darkness which fuels the album as a whole is “Ebony Grand Master,” which attempts to balance Sektemtum’s two halves with an infectious immediacy, tilting the scale further from their black metal roots with elements of their punk and hard rock alter egos, Dr. Livingston. Quite a few have expressed a dislike for black’n’roll darlings Kvelertak’s “blackened Boston” approach to bridging the gap between arena rock and black metal, but I find Sektemtum’s innate darkness to be a much more effective amalgam, never leaning too far to one side or another, but never feeling forced or rushed (which is surprising, as this entire album was actually written in the studio). I know our beloved editor Joseph Schafer has referenced “poptimism” when describing the inevitable collision of modern pop stylings and metal, but Sektemtum’s catchiness belies a deeper pessimism. Poptimism? “Nay,” says Sektemtum. Negativity. Maybe they have more in common with their musical ancestry than I anticipated.

Panacea hits the shelves on May 27th, courtesy of long-standing metal purveyors Osmose Productions. Scroll below for an exclusive first listen of “Ebony Grand Master.”

—Jon Rosenthal

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