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Over the past several years, few metal genres have been consistently interpreted to yield such a stunning array of outcomes as black metal. From the atmospheric meditations of Wolves in the Throne Room to the artful incantations of Agalloch -- from the soaring arias of Deafheaven to the impenetrable madness of Krallice -- black metal has been carefully manipulated and shaped to fit a striking range of creative visions.

Sicarius, on the other hand, have ventured in a far darker direction. Theirs is a vision steeped in anger and aggression, a noxious brew of blackened thrash with a healthy pinch of genre-appropriate misanthropy to aid in fermentation. Sicarius wield metal as a blood-soaked weapon blunted over time by repeated hackings through the bones of their enemies — an approach exemplified by the title track off their upcoming album Serenade of Slitting Throats.

If the listener is a jumper perched at the edge of a building, the song’s relatively peaceful introduction represents one final look back over the shoulder to safety before taking the plunge. It’s the last chance to turn back, as a tremolo guitar sets the mood over which a scratchy, reverb-laden voice issues the opening salvo. Seconds later, a sinister shove from behind in the form of a punishing three-bar drum fill casts us headlong into the abyss.

The band maintains the song’s punishing pace for the next three minutes until shifting gears into a languid, chugging outro. Backing vocal chants add weight and depth while K. Karcass’s painfully rasped lead vocals deliver a final monologue, until a softly melodic guitar lead brings the song to an eventual close. Here, Sicarius demonstrates both a willingness to take risks with song structure as well as the songwriting skill required to execute those risks successfully, an approach that -- when considered together with the tight riffing in the track’s previous movements -- bodes well for the rest of the album.

-Ivan Belcic

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Sicarius will release Serenade of Slitting Throats via M-Theory Audio on October 13th. Check out the lyric video for the title track below.

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