Unearthing the Metal Underground: Germany's Har Shatan
Germany’s satanic-themed black metal entity Har Shatan initially emerged 20 years ago, operating on a very underground level as it released a handful of demos, splits and one full-length independently and with the help of start-up labels from 2003 through 2009. Following the 2009 debut long player, “His Legacy,” the one-man project—Zepar performs all instruments and vocals—either broke up or was placed into hiatus mode for over a decade. Come 2022, the project emerged once more with a six-song demo. And as the year winds down, The Sinister Flame is set to release Har Shatan’s second album, “Manum Inicere Alicui,” on December 31.
The disparate pieces of the puzzle that make up “Manum Inicere Alicui” aren’t anything unknown to longtime black metal fans. However the album is worthy of attention because of the unique take on black metal that Zepar takes. Slow-paced, dreary black metal music provide the foundation upon which Zepar spouts his ugly black metal shrieks. True to the style, minimal production qualities have been employed but with purpose. The drums are sometimes treated with effects that make them sound distant and dreamlike. Intros and interludes don’t clutter the release. They make it sound full as they provide depth and texture. While the music typically rests on sedative, slow tempos, one of the album’s obvious highlights is the mid-tempo, melodic thrust of “Blood of Creation.” However focused Zepar may or may not be with Har Shatan going forward, “Manum Inicere Alicui” is most certainly of value to black metal fans who appreciate misery and melancholy.
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