The Emerald Isle. Ireland. But for a few key exceptions, not a country best known for its metal offering, and yet one which perhaps should, given its exceptional natural beauty (if you can catch it on a dry day) which ordinarily acts as a muse for metal songwriters. Sacrilegia and their debut release, called The Triclavian Advent, is its latest effort to pin its name on the metal map. The album owes its name to one of the more boring and inconsequential areas of theology, triclavianism, a school of thought professing the notion that Jebus was crucified with not four, but three, nails. On the contrary, it owes its music to both black metal and thrash; is it able to nail the fusion of the two?
Triclavian fits comfortably into the blackened thrash bucket. Opener, “Relics of Oncoming Doom,”1 is a statement of intent with its fast, grinding riffs and urgent drumming; its energy is infectious and Sacrilegia boast appropriately sharp riffs to cut their teeth in the genre. There’s a solo or two per track which are thankfully short and notably frenzied which befits the speed and intensity of dazzling fretboard theatrics otherwise evident. All this is wrapped up into 8 tracks over just 33 minutes which quickly whips past, traversing fields of percussive thrash metal, scything black metal and those which fuse the two.
If “Relics of Oncoming Doom” throws down the gauntlet, track four called “On Herding Swine” picks it up, plugs in six Infinity Gems2 and destroys half the universe. A brief drum flurry gives way to speed metal bliss in its opening passage before two of the record’s grooviest riffs spank your ass beyond that. A trilling black metal lead concludes this first half and I doubt I’ll hear a more awesome two minutes of metal in 2019. The record is replete with great moments like this; “Relics of Oncoming Doom” has the coolest transition as around its mid-point the pace slows to a pulsing drum rhythm which segues neatly into a groovy, thrash lead. The badass “We’re coming for you!” vocal line on “Beyond the Fouler’s Snare” precedes the track’s strong finale while “Armoured Angel”3 is apparently a cover, presumably of the 80s Aussie thrashers of the same name. I’m unfamiliar with the underlying track but it’s a fun, sawing number.
So it’s clear that Sacrilegia have crafted a strong core and are more than capable of writing memorable guitar melodies. But as songwriters in totality, there’s still growing room. I can imagine the conversation when arranging the songs: “Hey guys, here’s a cool riff what I found!” “Cool, Conor, let’s put it with the other riffs what I found too!” “Cool, Seamus, let’s just do that until they make four or five minutes!”4 The structures throughout entail cool riffs stitched together with several admittedly neat transitions but without much continuity; “Relics of Oncoming Doom” exemplifies this as the track can be easily split into two halves on either side of the aforementioned transition. The halves may as well be separate tracks for all the concordance one has with the other. On this note on clumsy arrangements, the concluding track called “As with Spears We Come” is strangely tacked on. It fades to black almost mid-riff and is shorter than two minutes, having begun out of a decidedly final atmospheric passage from its preceding track. I initially wondered whether my promo copy had the wrong track order, such was my bewilderment, but the Bandcamp listing suggests otherwise.
Triclavian is hardly flawless but is also a surprisingly accomplished for a debut and highly promising for the future, should more cohesive tracks be written. The core riffs and energy and more than sufficient and my overall reaction is one of great enjoyment at what Sacrilegia has produced. You could do far worse if looking for some blackened thrash to invigorate your day or preach about an odd number of nails.
- A Heller-esque, paradoxical description if ever I read one. How can there be a relic of something which has not yet occurred? I like to think that this was intentional given that Ireland is a land of native English speakers. ↩
- Or “Infinity Stones” if you’re an MCU basic bitch. ↩
- Note the “u,” American peasants. ↩
- Permit me the artistic license to use stereotypical names for my little, speculative scenario. ↩