Sacral Regicide, the debut offering from black metal titans Eigenlicht, was released early this May and praised by CVLT Nation shortly after. According to their Encyclopaedia Metallum page, they’ve only been a band since last year, but have lent their presence to some pretty notable live bills since and are playing the Obsidian on July 17th for anyone in the area. If you want to preserve your trve black metal status, learn the old stuff by heart, and get in before this band blows up, then you’d better go ahead and buy a tape right now because Eigenlicht aren’t going to go unnoticed for long.
One of the things I like most about this release is how methodically everything is presented: the hand-printed, die-cut sleeve the cassettes come in, the fact that each of the two tracks are roughly the same length, the tie-ins between the cover art, the lyrics and the song titles… Nothing here was thrown together, and the sense of ritual that emanates from this EP makes it all the more powerful. The production job, too, fits the album splendidly by finding a sweet spot between clean and raw, so that every element of Eigenlicht’s instrumentation is highlighted, and the tape is able to retain a cold, underground feel without becoming sterile.
Province of Immolated Kings surprises the listener from the first: an acoustic passage abruptly shifts to a raw blast beat, then to a vast atmospheric expanse as keys, guitars, and vocals drop all at once. The song culminates in a militant advance with a catchy snare pattern and more than enough keyboard flourishes and change-ups to keep things interesting. It feels like thirty seconds, but you’re more than three minutes into the track already, and just at the right time, themes start to repeat and give a foothold to hang onto amid the madness. The riffs are there, but more importantly, Eigenlicht know how to orchestrate a track and use the extended format to their advantage. Before anything gets old, they hit us with an organ interlude. It’s perfectly done.
The band flip-flops sonic technique throughout the EP, the prog rock guitar effects midway through Province giving way to infectious hi-hat rolls and pure Cascadian black metal sections on Autor Ego Audendi. However, Sacral Regicide never strays too far from its central aesthetic, and despite the impressive amount of goings-on, it remains strikingly coherent. Every division of every track – whether it be a doom, blackened death, or crust passage – rings with the same ancient, cosmic discontent that occupies the entire tape. Far from a “demo,” this release is one that can stand strong by itself, and in addition to being an auspicious foundation for whatever Eigenlicht comes up with next, I would not be surprised if it found its way onto some year-end lists as well.
Sacral Regicide is available on cassette or as a FREE digital download via Eigenlicht’s Bandcamp page.