St. Paul, Minnesot'as True Metal Record Store (RIP as of Dec. 24, 2015)
Once in a purple, Necrolord-rendered moon, a metal re-issue is a genuinely exciting prospect — a classic that has strayed so far away from general consciousness that the renewed hype spilling forth from every cavalier corner of metaldom is wholly deserved. In this case, the band in question later went on to release two successful (?) albums on the label in charge of the modern re-release, making the mystery surrounding its delay that much more perplexing and the fans vastly more restless in anticipation.
The brand of soaring, melodic, heavy-metal-addled black/death on this album has never become obsolete; in fact, one particularly iconic act has forged an influential legacy beyond all legacies on the strength of just two albums (and perhaps, it could be argued, or an ill-conceived third effort). Although I’ll be a lonely voice in saying it, I would argue that the vision achieved on the mystery disc outshines even the greatest efforts of their better-known contemporary.
What or who the hell am I going on about? Give up?
If you guessed SACRAMENTUM Far Away from the Sun, pat yourself on the back. If not, pat yourself on the wrist with a well-honed kitchen utensil.
It’s difficult to describe the majesty that Far Away from the Sun invokes without a series of dedicated, chin-in-your-hands listening sessions. This is about as close to a string quartet as (black) metal gets: the constant melodic interplay, steadfast meter and riff placement exude class at every level. It eschews much of the more traditional or heavy-metal-rooted aspects of similar acts in favor of a more immersive and atmospheric means of delivering their darkened message.
I’ll stop there as I’m in danger of pretentiously overselling the point as usual. Hopefully a small sample can seed thy comprehension:
The re-issues are brilliant to boot. This statement comes from one of the most cynical deniers of the Deluxe Re-issue Machine you are likely to meet. Not only are they entirely affordable, they are austere and respectful. The original artwork and layout on the CD (yes, I bought a new copy) are intact, but touched-up and made brilliant. The music gets a similarly reverent clarifying treatment, and hearing it on LP for the first time, where the newfound warmth melts the freezing melodies ever so softly, is a true treat for the veteran and newcomer to the album alike.
Far Away from the Sun cannot be recommended highly enough. Swing by Into the Void to pick it up if you can. Honestly though, buy this one in any way possible if you fancy yourself a fan of Swedish brilliance in any capacity.
(Bonus love if you noticed my nauseating insertions in the first two paragraphs before I revealed the album name. Come into the store for a firm handshake and a beer along with your LP copy.)
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