Review of The Sacrifical Flame by Vrag Moj

One of the first recordings in line for review here and one of the most difficult to review is this Perth offering of blistering, sublime and perversely technical Black Metal. Featuring former members of the well-known Infected and a little-known Tyrant, this entity has offended once before with a demo, I have not had the pleasure of hearing yet.

It is difficult to grasp all of it in one sitting, because of its vast complexity rich instrumentation and often non-standard structuring. I can hear a lot of Progressive Rock references, although how much precedent for that exists in the artists’ backgrounds is unknown to me.

They begin with a whimsical, bass-heavy instrumental “The Forlorn Hope” which reminds me strongly of Yes, though the creators reveal they are not familiar with their work. The disk immediately takes off with a technical reinterpretation of “Countess Bathory” by Venom – and what an outstanding rendition it is!

There is a touch of Swedish Melodic Metal in the subsequent tracks – from back in the days when it was good (see Edge of Sanity) which is very nice to hear. The disk is divided into 2 chapters, the second beginning at track 5 as the mood becomes decidedly more sinister. The other two songs on part one are insane twisting pieces of discord and rapid-fire riffing.

But this is just the beginning. Part 2 begins with a lot of abstracted acoustic guitar and then the twisted “Pass Through Flame” which ends in an unsettling dramatisation of a sacrifice to Moloch. “Weeping Divinity” is a 10 minute epic that twists gleefully through intricate and strange guitars/synth instrumentation all the while picking up its crazy pace. There are some very tasteful Summoning-esque moments here.

Great, in parts very strange album. If this review sounds patchy, this is because I am still trying to take it all in.

Vrag Moj