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Sarx Thanatos : Sarx Thanatos (EP Re-release)

The re-release of Brazilians Sarx Thanatos' only EP demonstrates that they really had some potential to offer.

Sarx Thanatos is a Gothic Doom band from Brazil that formed in 2001. It was very hard to find ample background information on the band. This is actually a reissue of their sole release, a self-titled EP. Contained within, though, we find a band with myriad potential evidently poised to make quite the mark on the genre.

The EP is but five songs long, but being that this is a Doom band, it isnít immediately over. The first track, 'Mirrors,' is an up-tempo exercise of contrasts. The guitar tone could be classified as classic Death Metal a la early 1990s American bands like Obituary and European bands like Asphyx. Supporting this beefy, scooped-mids guitar performance are an extremely active drummer, majestic keyboards, unclean sharp male vocals, and beautiful clean female vocals. Each element has its given moments in the spotlight with the unclean male vocals hard at work during the verse sections and the choruses handled by the female vocals. The tug of war between clean and unclean, aggressive and somber, and light and dark pervades throughout.

As the album progresses, the bass thankfully becomes more pronounced. In many ways, it has the sonic characteristics of a fretless. In fact, hearing it ascend and descend in various runs and arpeggios evoked none other than the mighty Steve Digiorgio. Also helping to diversify the bandís sound is the performance of the keyboard player. As things move along, the keyboards break out of the organ/choir box to add string parts and even a distinct piano sound giving the music a polished, classical feel.

The third track, 'Masks,' must also be looked at closer. As it begins, one is reminded first of an Arcturus-type of maniacal take on chord progression, a feeling of undefined yet pronounced insanity. Shortly thereafter, the band ups the aggression as the guitarist fuels a brutal riff with staccato triplets which form the perfect basis over which the unclean vocals can perform. With the odd time signature in use and the somewhat complicated riffs being played, the classic works of Death and even Cynic come to mind. Further along, though. As the female vocals are introduced, things begin to calm down. The music drastically slows into a more proper Doom crawl, the ideal basis for her gorgeously-performed operatic vocals to soar. The tug of war is soon vividly illustrated as the male and female vocals enter a sort of call and response section. The music benefits from this sort of drama as the style inherently contains a resolute amount of theatrics. The end is true Metal sublimity as the bass hammers out a constant string of eighth note pedal tones over which the guitar squeals and shrieks to its delight.

Listening to this album is a bitter sweet affair. I could not help but think of the late 1990s bands such as Theatre of Tragedy and Lacuna Coil. Both of these bands started from a similar place as this but then moved on to different styles altogether. Despite the fact that this was released in 2008, Sarx Thanatos play a type of Gothic Doom that seems like the logical next step for a band particularly like Theatre of Tragedy. The bitter part is that Sarx Thanatos has not produced any new material since. Theirs is a sound that has so very much potential, an honest take on Gothic Doom lacking pretention. With more experience, they could have achieved the status of a band like Swallow the Sun. Hopefully, this reissue is a sign that they are again active. We can only hope.

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Reviewer's rating: 7.5/10


Tracklist :
1. Mirrors
2. Paths
3. Masks
4. Emptiness
5. My Grave

Duration : Approx. 36 minutes

Visit the Sarx Thanatos bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-03-10 by Chris Hawkins
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