Review: Sahon – Chanting for the Fallen

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Label: Transcending Obscurity Asia

With a lot of thrash bands, the tendency is to slow down a bit as they get older – for the wild fires of youthful exuberance to become dulled into something more considered and, if not exactly tame, then more controlled. It’s not always the case, and sometimes it can result in a genuine masterpiece being created (as with, say, Sodom’s Agent Orange). With Korean band Sahon though, latest album Chanting for the Fallen could never be considered slow, or restrained, or tame. It is a full-on thrash onslaught, utterly relentless in its pace and delivery, carrying with it an undeniable energy and sense of enjoyment.

Drawing heavily from German thrash metal, the spirit that possessed bands such as Kreator and the aforementioned Sodom in their youth is never far away during Chanting for the Fallen. That’s not to say it’s derivative or uninspired; rather, it has that same sense of barely controlled chaos, of music that is only just being handled by its creators, which could slip the leash of control at any moment. The tempo is never less than furious (even when they slow down a touch), and the energy is always high. Chanting for the Fallen is a truly frantic album, that is always pushing forward, bulldozering through anything in its way.

The devotion to energy and speed does mean that it can be a little hard to pick out the differences between the tracks. This isn’t always the case, and there are definite highlights – such as the Motorhead-inspired (in more ways than one) ‘Born to Lose, Live to Win’, and ‘At the Edge of Cliff’, with its black metal-tinged leads – but on the whole, Chanting for the Fallen is an album about the overall package, rather than picking out individual songs or moments. There’s only minimal variation between most songs – but this doesn’t end up being detrimental to the album. Instead, it serves to really emphasise the energy of the album, and enthusiasm of the band.

As such, Chanting for the Fallen is the kind of record that’s perfect when you need a blast of energy. Situated somewhere between Sodom, Sabbat, Kreator, and Power Trip, it’s a real beast of an album that may not offer anything especially new to fans of the genre; but instead, serves of a reminder of all that is good about thrash. It’s one of the most exciting albums of the genre I’ve heard in some time, and shows that, despite being veterans of the style, Sahon aren’t slowing down any time soon.

Chanting for the Fallen is due for release on 15 July 2018, and can be pre-ordered digitally and on CD via Bandcamp.

 

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