During my last job interview, a favorite question of mine popped up: “What are your weaknesses?” Because I don’t believe anything or anybody is perfect, I remember digging deep for a few strong examples of my shortcomings but being sure that I excluded the fact that I hate people.1 I also recall my mind wandering off to what many friends2 consider my greatest weakness: that I only listen to metal.3 Obviously, I didn’t mention this as a weakness during my interview, but my brain pulled up this interesting memory when listening to little-known Sahon. I had no idea there was a thrash gem living in South Korea. Hell, I didn’t know there was any metal in South Korea. What I discovered,4 however, is that South Korea is taking the music world by storm—via k-pop. So, I looked up k-pop.5 And, welp, fuck the world and all it’s music genres. I’m definitely not branching out again. I’d rather die listening to Sahon‘s sixth full-length,6 Chanting for the Fallen, then listen to the other shit coming out of South Korea.
For all the anti-k-poppers of the world, this is a no-brainer. But, for all the thrashers in the world that have yet to experience Sahon, you should. The greatest problem, though, is trying to find records from this gnarly threesome. Their third record, Brutality Compelled, is about as far back as I could find.7 But, as far as I can tell, some of the best material from the first two albums appears again on 10 Years in the Battlefield. But, whatever you find out there is enough to give you an idea of what Sahon is all about. They love the raw, aggressive, and sometimes blackish thrash metal of bands like Sodom and Kreator, with the vocal chaotics of Abigail and Venom. It’s a sick combination, enhanced by the occasional mid-paced chug and melodic interlude. And Chanting for the Fallen is no different.
So, let’s get this crazy train rolling in classic Sahon fashion, with a Tomahawk missile up your ass. But, unlike what I’ve heard from the band’s previous material, the opener, “Faith of Savagery,” kicks down your door with some surprising chuggy, modern-day Metallica.8 But, it doesn’t last long as the band drops a quick-descending, black/thrash A-bomb all along the length of the fretboard. And, when it feels like the chaos may subside, there’s more chaos behind it. Follow-up track, “At the Edge of Cliff,” also sports a beefy Metallica approach in it’s opening segment but, this time around, it’s pulverized by the less-surprising Kreator-like riffage and vicious, layered vocals. But, the album doesn’t end there. Every one of these eight tracks introduces another flavor to this ugly little cake.
Of all the songs on the album, “Condemnation,” “Joy of Hatred,” and “Born to Lose Live to Win” add the most extreme flavors. “Condemnation” and “Joy of Hatred” take the straightforward trash foundations of a song like “Survive” and push against its walls. “Condemnation” spends the first half of its existence cruising at mid-paced Sodom speed and using a melodic, full-voiced chorus. Then, like an unexpected volcano eruption, it bursts into a thrashtastic frenzy. While “Joy of Hatred” seems simple at first, it keeps stacking up those goddamn riffs like a Jenga set. The riffs scale the fretboard, the drums are the best on the record, and every voice and instrument comes down with the sharpness of a ball-peen hammer on an anvil. “Born to Lose Live to Win,” on the other hand, is something else entirely. It’s a thrashy, blackened Motörhead. It’s fun, it’s groovy, and, in true Motörhead fashion, the bass leads are fucking stellar.
Some tracks, like the Exodus-y “Charge Til the End” and the one-and-a-half-minute closer, “You Shall Pay,” aren’t the most riveting, but I wouldn’t call them filler. Particularly, the closer. If anything, the balls-out chaos of the closer sums up the band perfectly. Another thing that sums up the band is short album lengths. Rolling in at a mere thirty minutes, Chanting for the Fallen is an easy one to digest and repeat. Although the production ain’t the most dynamic, it’s easy to hear all the players—including the bass, which is a huge part of Sahon‘s sound. If you’ve never heard of Sahon,9 Brutality Compelled might be a little better than Chanting. But you should still to check this out.
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity Asia
Websites: sahon.bandcamp.com | cafe.daum.net/sahonmetal | facebook.com/thrashsahon
Releases Worldwide: July 15th, 2018
- Teacher of the Year. ↩
- Whom I all hate, btw. ↩
- Which isn’t true, you dumbasses. ↩
- Via a friend whom I love; not hate. ↩
- I still love you, btw. ↩
- If you call 2011’s 10 Years in the Battlefield and 2013’s 노예들의 선택 a full-length. ↩
- So, if the band wants to hook me up… ↩
- Think “Frantic.” ↩
- And I’m sure you haven’t. ↩