Album Review: Sutrah – Aletheia 10 (Progressive Death)

Written by Carcassbomb

  • Sutrah
  • Aletheia
  • Progressive Death Metal
  • Montreal, Québec
  • March 13, 2020
  • Via The Artisan Era (Merch link)
  • 10/10

This isn’t a review, it’s a love letter

I have listened to this album so damn much, every time I open my promo library I just have to hear it again. I’m addicted to it. It does so much in the perfect amount of time, 28 minutes of thoughtful, creative and powerful song writing. It has top notch presentation, production and it’s full of ideas that I find moving or stimulating. The artwork, which is among the top I’ve seen this year, is basically depicting me each time I had a revelation about Aletheia while listening.

Artwork by CT Nelson

It starts with momentum but it’s a gentle kind, like a cloud carrying you through the cosmos lit skyline and the temperature is just right. It’s serene even as the double kicks weave in and out of the soundscape. It’s an incredible atmospheric start to a sophisticated death metal album. It’s certainly not the meat of the album but it isn’t really an intro either, it’s a portal to somewhere else filled with wonders, horrors and finally a return journey home to serenity. There’s always a constantly morphing sense of the light shining through the dark and the dark in turn overshadowing the light, a battle perhaps.

Vocally dynamic is how I would describe this record, especially the second of four tracks,”Variation I.ii Lethe”, opening with harsh death vocals that feel like they’re setting the pace for the whole track but then we’re hit over the head with dueling brutal death highs and lows that transition into straight screeching before mellowing out into some kind of demonic spoken word, like a beat poet devil. It’s an insane showcase for any vocalist to aspire to. There’s even chants on this album too which bring a unique twist to the music that I haven’t heard in recent and not so recent memory. They aren’t just in the periphery of the sound either, the chanting is often right at the front in full force and it’s pleasurable, not in any way middling or novelty.

Sutrah: Bandcamp / Spotify / Facebook

Let’s talk about an instrument called the gangsa which produces an striking flavourful sound, it just tickles me every time I hear it. It’s an exotic instrument that is a kind of metallophone, apparently mostly used in Balinese and Javanese Gamelan music. I’ve heard a lot of progressive death metal. I’ve heard most of the experiments and fusions, some of them are awesome, some of them are cheesy or amatuer but I can usually start a prog death album with a kind of “Expectation of experimentation”. Especially bands using outlandish folk elements. That’s not the case with Alethia, it will surprise and enrapture you.

Amazing structure and presentation. Love the 4 track length with the final one being a colossal 15 minute track. It’s a format that worked really well for Blood Incantation’s Hidden History Of The Human Race, it’s just the right amount for repeat listening. To explore each facet and learn more about it each time, this music is a communication and none of it’s words are wasted. The acapella vocal ending was a jaw dropping way to top off the record, everyone usually tries to end on a fade out, abrupt stop or on an epic instrumental reprise of some kind, but these guys literally end the album by abruptly dropping the instruments, taking a pause and doing group acapella for 40 seconds. And it worked!

Perfect. Genius. Memorable. Cherishable. If you don’t agree with me then you weren’t listening, you were just waiting for your turn to think.

10/10


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