Double Review: Plague Hymns EP – Sarcoptes / Desert of Ghouls EP – Eremit

I have no good excuse for putting this review off for as long as I have. I suppose, to put it plainly, it was difficult for me to come up with an angle on how to express my feelings about a two track EP, and here I had two of them! So, as is often the case, the reviews got pushed aside for another time. What ended up happening, though, was that I heard both EP’s (Sarcoptes first, then Eremit) back to back on a playlist. I realized then that, as unintentional as it may have been, Transcending Obscurity Records had released an excellent split LP! 

SarcoptesPlague Hymns” is just shy of seventeen minutes in length. Eremit’sDesert of Ghouls” is just over twenty minutes in length. That’s nearly forty minutes of music, which is just perfect for a full length. Now, before realizing this, I did have some notes written up for each EP. Scattered thoughts and reactions to some of the finer moments from each, really nothing much more than that. While reading through them for this joint write up, I realized that a track-by-track, stream-of-consciousness approach might just work out really well. So, what follows is (basically) my initial reaction to hearing each of these wonderful chunks of Metal.

Sarcoptes – “Plague Hymns

“The Vertigo Soul”. Wow! Blackened Thrash amazeballs! So heavy! Keyboard ambience is a nice touch. Blast beats. Fuckin awesome. Vocals are savage.  Nice melodic Interlude with excellent guitar work. There is a very epic vibe to this tune. A massive sound, with an underlying terror stitched throughout. It’s a bit difficult to describe, but the pipe organ at the end doesn’t hurt. By the time folks get to this bit, the horror show should be a bit more evident. 

“La Moria Grandissima”. Almost like a continuation of the first song. It has a slower tempo, but very similar guitar and keyboard sounds. All these vocals are fucking killer! Screeching banshee shit! I love it! And I can’t say enough good things about that organ sound. If it wasn’t an organ, it may come off as cheesy. Like if it were some stock, synth-sounding keyboard. But the pipe organ makes it sound classically evil, and enhances the overall aesthetic. This is extremely well written. I’m very impressed.

These two songs are so good they almost don’t need an entire album to justify their existence. The shortness of it just makes you want more, which is precisely the position Sarcoptes should be in right now. A long-player follow up is highly anticipated. 

Eremit – Desert of Ghouls:

“Beheading the Innumerous”. Yes! This is a really cool base line. It’s got traction already within seconds. It’s got a fuzzy fuzzy sound, with some feedback to the guitars. Some sporadic drumming in the background. When the guitar comes in a bit heavier, the drums kick with that base line. Excellent. Highly effective. It’s almost off-time in a way. A bit of an odd synchipation, which is inventive for a Doom band. 

This, my friends, is the kind of groove you could just lean into for hours! But they’re not playing it straight. There’s enough variety in the tempo to keep it interesting. When the vocal comes in, it’s a bit of a shock because you don’t expect a Death Metal vibe. A raspy scream, along with another tempo change. That’s why this song is so effective… because it’s not stagnant. It keeps moving and is not content riding one groove. Highly effective. Not your typical Doom vocal either. Dude sounds far too angry. 

City of Rash Il Num”. A nice jazzy drum intro, with an almost Doors-like groove. Super crisp. Super creepy. Nice clean guitar and bass. Keyboard ambience, perfectly layered within the framework of the tune, playing nicely off the guitar effects. A subtle choral background as well. 

It’s a slow march to a dark, doomy place. A character slowly wandering the desert, close to twilight. A lead guitar fuzzes in. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost call this a Funeral Doom dirge, but it’s far too bluesy for that. Again, it’s all about the layers. A highly effective five minute build up to a catchy Doom groove. The vocal cadence is top notch as well. The dynamics here are fantastic! An excellent song, I wish was longer, to be honest. But that might just be the entire point! I very much want this to be a full length release!

Overall, both of these EPs are just great!  The long songs fit very nicely in a short format, not giving each other the opportunity to be over blown, showcasing every ounce of each band’s talent. As stated, LP releases from both bands are highly anticipated.

SarcoptesPlague Hymns: 4/5
EremitDesert of Ghouls: 4/5

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