Prayers to Oblivion

War is hell. It has the power to change borders and boundaries, tear nations apart and displace millions at a time. What India’s  Sarcoptes has done with Prayers to Oblivion, is break down five aspects of war to create fifty minutes of thrashing, blackened military insanity.

It’s an album that seems daunting at first, the songs are quite long; thirteen to almost fifteen-minute epics that I was admittedly thinking, it’s going to suck. The songs are going to drag; etc. It turned out that I didn’t know what the fuck I was thinking, in fact, I’m enjoying the hell out of this release because there’s so much going on, and the good thing with that is that there’s no stagnation and the album breathes with menace.

“Trenches” opens the album with the sounds of battle, a quick flurry of riffs later and the track has you by the throat, doing this bad as fuck call and response that reminded me, lovingly, of Ancient Rites and their Fatherland album and the song “Templar.” The music wanders and weaves its way, at times racing through the imagined trenches of some desolate, French battlefield. For all the bombast and balls out savagery of “Trenches”, “Spanish Flu” left me wanting… something; a missing ingredient that would’ve made it epic because standing next to the melancholy beauty of “Dead Silence” it sounds like a filler that could’ve stood tall. At one moment “Dead Silence” is a depressing commentary on the aftermath, when it’s not only about the numbers: but about the faces.

The Tet Offensive was a deadly ambush that took place across US bases during the Vietnam War, nobody knew it was coming until the last minute. “Tet” handles this in the best way possible, with a crushingly savage riff that goes off like a mortar round. This quick little fucker is just a warmup for the end game of “Massacre at My Lai”. Possibly the most savage act that our Military enacted upon the people of Vietnam, they went into the village of My Lai and killed everyone. Men, women and children were exterminated in horrible fashion, so it’s no wonder that this song hits harder, given the subject matter involved. There’s this point mid-song where the music is speeding along and the keys are doing this utterly crushing melody that, picks the song up and carries it toward its sorrowful end.

Sarcoptes had recently put out a full-length in 2016 called Songs and Dances of Death that I intend to check out in the near future (ok, probably after I finish this…). Anyway, this time the for fans of the likes of Ancient Rites, Keep of Kalessian, especially the “Armada” album. I’d even mention Slayer, simply for the intro to “Tet”. Overall, I recommend this. It stands among the ranks of 1914, Kommandant, and Panzerchrist, as well as Destroyer 666; to prove that war is a never-ending trough of horror stories full of saints and sinners.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jeremy Beck
March 15th, 2023


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