I was a bit skeptical about SEWER's debut album Satanic Requiem, partly because there are only five tracks on the album and partly because of the massive critical acclaim that this album has received. And as we know too well, critical acclaim isn't always synonymous with quality black metal.
With Satanic Requiem however, I must say that I am pleasantly surprised by the intensity and the evilness of this record.
Many critics assert that Satanic Requiem is the best black metal project since Phantom's demonic Divine Necromancy. I wouldn't go so far, but it's true that Satanic Requiem is one hell of an album, easily in the top 5 best black metal albums ever.
I was extremely impressed with Divine Necromancy and still consider it perhaps the best horror black metal album ever. Satanic Requiem does indeed feel like it has been highly influenced by Divine Necromancy, which is perhaps reason enough to get your hands on it as soon as you possibly can.
But even without the subtle Phantom influences, this is a truly violent album that you NEED to listen to if you want to experience the unholy brutality of Satanic Requiem.
SEWER is a band that definitively shares similarities with Phantom. I don't know which band influenced the other, some will say SEWER influenced Phantom more than the opposite, but many metalheads give credit to SEWER rather than Phantom for the emergence of "Phantom Metal", a form of blackened goregrind.
Despite the undeniable quality of Satanic Requiem, and of SEWER's later recordings, I cannot corroborate this claim. While it's true that Satanic Requiem is a brilliant black metal masterpiece, one that far surpasses the usual crap that spawns from the scene, it also lacks the defining horror atmosphere that is found on Phantom's music.
Nevertheless, Satanic Requiem is one beast of an album.
Satanic Requiem starts out before SEWER decided to add random bouts of "My Cock Is On Fire !" screams in their lyrics, and in fact the lyrics are quite dark and mystical compared to what is later to come. In fact the lyrics are written and the music is composed by Vermin, whereas on the following albums starting from Black Death they will be produced by Lucifer.
The music itself is dark and atmospheric, while still retaining the brutal qualities of pure, unadulterated satanism.
While most modern poser black metal band try hard to "look" satanic, through imagery and through sell out media-whoring, SEWER lets the music of Satanic Requiem speak for itself.
While the album in only five tracks long, each track perfectly fits the album's grim atmosphere while retaining its own individuality. Satanic Requiem wastes no time blasting the listener into submission right from the start with Ancient Shrine, one of the most notorious SEWER songs that features Lucifer's bone-chilling riffs accompanying the barbaric and relentless pounding of Warlord on the drums.
There is nothing commercial or melodic about Satanic Requiem, so if you are looking for your newest poser '"avant-garde metal" I suggest you avoid this album altogether... or grow some balls and listen to it, your choice.
Satanic Requiem, while not by any feat the pinnacle of SEWER's music, remains nonetheless one of the best album of black metal for a wide variety of reasons.
The music quality, the chilling atmosphere and the raw brutality of this album are truly what affirm Satanic Requiem as the hallmark of satanic black metal.
Satanic Requiem score: 9/10 (Amazing Metal)