This year has been jammed full of black metal of the highest quality, from all corners of its darkened room, and it’s next to impossible to give each release the much deserved attention and love (or hate) that it so richly needs. However, miss Dragged From Our Restless Trance at you absolute peril. The first full-length album (following an EP and demo) from Bastard Sapling is a definite blackened triumph from the Richmond natives.
Dragged From Our Restless Trance is a swirling black metal epic. It has all the hallmarks of devastation and misanthropy that is vital to all good black metal but also (un)healthy doses of melody at play, eerily so. Bastard Sapling harnesses both these elements into a carefully balanced and methodically crafted work of disdainful brilliance. So many BM bands try, and there are many that accomplish it with aplomb, creating invigorating works, however there are of course swathes of bands that don’t and we up with a contrived and forced piece of average black metal. Bastard Sapling can easily take their place beside the accomplished. Dragged From Our Restless Trance is anything but forced. Everything about these four compositions is natural and fluid. It’s palpably felt in each and every note.
With just four tracks and a running time that’s just under 40 minutes, Dragged From Our Restless Trance is a lesson in terse and concise bleakness. The level of quality control audible here is a testament to the band’s ability to conjure enthralling black metal that never once feels tired. In other words, Bastard Sapling always sound possessed and maniacal. They can do this while moving between typical BM blasts, moving at rapid speed, and equally with the reins drawn in for a mid-paced and eerier black metal assault; again, an example of the band harnessing two ideals to near-perfect effect.
Closing track, Beyond The Void of Life gathers together Bastard Sapling’s strengths into one caustic display that’s totally invigorating and encapsulates much of what’s great about this record. It’s precise and unrelenting, steeped in atmosphere and fearlessly melodic. Repeat – miss at your peril.
Dragged From Our Restless Trance is available from Forcefield Records.