It’s inevitable. At some point you will (listen up you little shits), YOU WILL get to the point where you look down at “kids today” with absolute puzzlement and dismay. It’s just a part of life. There will come the time when you’re just totally beyond the point of comprehending youth culture, and you WILL take that lack of understanding and manifest it into some semblance of loathing.

It’s fine! It’s perfectly natural, honestly. And while I encourage everyone to remain as open-minded and accepting as necessary to avoid falling into the traps of actual bigotry, you shouldn’t feel ashamed for falling into some natural dad, mom or otherwise parental-like behaviors. Hike up those cargo shorts and embrace it.

BUT! It is nice, occasionally, to come across an example that maybe the future isn’t completely fucked after all. Maybe there are some kids out there taking the better parts of the examples we’ve set before them and carrying them ahead into a brighter tomorrow. My friends, the future of metal is looking brighter… or darker? You get the point. 

As it turns out, guitarist Marko Tervonen of The Crown fame might be a slam dunk for metal dad of the year, as evidence by his 15(!!!) year-old son Mateo’s first official full-length effort as lead vocalist and guitarist of Swedish wunderkinds Sarcator. Alongside 17-year-old drummer Jesper Rosen, 20-year-old bassist Emil Eriksson, and guitarist and elder statesman 21-year-old Felix Lindkvist (at least someone can buy the beer), these whiz kids are here to help all us old, decrepit farts rest our weary bones a little easier knowing that there’s a chance metal as we know and love it WILL survive into the next generation. GET THE FUCK OFF MY LAWN, ATILLA (I keep trying to find another band to hate on in these instances but they’re still rock-solid on the top of the list).

I don’t want to get too bogged down into bringing Mateo’s dad or his work with The Crown into this review – the output here is good enough to stand on its own merit – but his influence on his son’s playing is too evident not to take some note of, as Sarcator indeed bring a killer Death n’ Roll mix of old school Swedish Death, mixed with a good, healthy dose of German thrash ala Sodom or Kreator, all delivered with a dirty, unpolished shit-grinning attitude that made The Crown such a fun listen, and one of my all-time favorite bands.

From first note you know what these titanium teens and twenty-somethings are all about, and “Abyssal Angel” wastes no time getting right to it – riffs on riffs on riffs on more riffs, all backed with some lightning-fast, acrobatic drums. I find myself recalling Witches, Nervosa or the criminally underexposed Cripper throughout the song, which is no short a list of quality bands to find comparison with. The song has a fuckin killer little Slayer-esque bridge and breakdown that makes me want to thrash around my office with hellish glee, and ends with a tortured, distorted scream that IMMEDIATELY brings Johan Lindstrand on The Crown’s “Total Satan” to mind. It’s a nice little nod that I very much appreciate.

What impresses me most about this album is that the band never really gives away their inexperience or youth. The lyrics and subject matter may stick closely to somewhat stereotypical metal tropes or all things death, demons and evil – but never ever dip into anything approaching immature or awkward. They’re not gonna look back onto this one day and regret youthful stupidity. And these songs aren’t just surprisingly good for a bunch of kids – they’re just good, full stop. Look me in the eye as a self-respecting headbanger after hearing the Scream Bloody Gore-inspired “Desolate Visions” or catchy-as-all-fuck two-step on “Circle of Impurity” and tell me you’re not having a dang blast listening to this record.

I also like the restraint put on the overall production of the record, as well. It could have been very easy to polish this thing up a little more and make these kids sound like outrageous virtuosos, but instead they let some of the flaws shine through, which just add to the wanton display of heretical fun and carnage the band are bringing to the table. I don’t need absolutely perfect execution on what is some truly inspired and exciting songwriting on the epic “The Hour of Torment” and fucking killer “Purgatory Unleashed” to know these boys have some serious chops – just let them rip and bring on the destruction.

Listen, I think it’s cool as hell that young musicians these days now have a number of different avenues for getting their art out into the world, and are exploring new, dizzyingly technical and impressive ways to create music and advance the whole idea of what metal can be. Where once when you pictured a metalhead you saw a dude in jeans and leather with a beer in hand playing as fast and loud as possible, you’re now as likely to see a clean-cut, technically proficient and classically trained musician who can explain theory and all sorts of shit that falls far beyond my dumbass comprehension. That’s all fine and good. But these kids are showing there yet still may be a place for bullet belts and battle jackets – that forming a band is still as viable as producing a Youtube collaboration. With everything going on in the world, it’s harder than ever to make that vision a reality, but these youngins have the friggin goods to give it their best shot. I cannot wait to see where these kids go once they start shaving. Do yourself a favor and get Sarcator in your life TODAY.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
December 9th, 2020


  1. Commented by: F.Rini

    Great review Steve. I love this album, as well as their demo. Killer band.

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