Skagos is a black metal band that is best known for their association with the Cascadian black metal scene (Pacific Northwest region of the U.S. and Canada). Alongside bands such as Wolves in the Throne Room, Leech, and Ash Borer, Skagos puts forth a ferocious blend of black metal and folk metal that is laced with green anarchist sentiments. Despite the lack of commercial success that fellow Cascadian black metallers Wolves in the Throne Room possess, Skagos has managed to cultivate a rabid following within the underground. Forming in 2007 and releasing some demos before releasing their first LP in 2009 (entitled Ast), Skagos was abuzz in the underground. While continuing to release splits and one EP, fans began to wonder about another LP. That LP has arrived! Entitled Anarchic, Skagos has yet to finish the album, A quote taken directly from Metal Archives reads as follows, " (The) Album is made up of 7 movements each labelled in Roman numerals from I-VII. First two tracks consist of movements I-V, and were released digitally. Track 3 (movements VI-VII) will be released upon completion."
The date for the release of the last song, Anarchic (side C) has yet to be announced. Despite missing the last song, this album put my very thought of Skagos to the test. Rather than tarnish that mental image, Skagos has risen to a new level of prominence. How's that for only two tracks?
The music on this album took me by complete surprise. I was shocked, terrified, floored by what I was hearing! Upon reaching the three minute mark in Anarchic (side A), I was hoping for an all-out black metal assault in the vein of the Ast material. This black metal form came to be later on within the song, but the beginning and ending still took me on a roller coaster ride. As if Anarchic (side A) didn't shock me enough, Anarchic (side B) was a brain fryer. The droning, half singing, half chanting manner Anarchic (side B) was developing became almost too much. Hanging on until the end of the album, I was shocked, yet awed and curious. I couldn't believe that this was the same band who released Ast only a few years ago! This awe led me back to the beginning of the album. After several repeat listens of the Anarchic, I was sold. The pure beauty of the compositions, the vast diversity of musical ideas, and the heartfelt emotion all struck the right chord within. The sentence prior to the one you are reading now is what pushed Skagos to a new prominence within my mind. Only a great band could accomplish what I was hearing; that band is Skagos.
The production on this album is much cleaner than on past material. I love being able to hear everything that is going on on Anarchic, but at the same time, I do miss the raw, somewhat messy sound of their past material. The point I want to make is this, the production FITS this album from beginning to end. The production is part of many reasons why I loved this album.
The drumming on this album... well, there isn't a lot of drumming to review. The most drumming occurs within the middle of Anarchic (side A). I will say this, because of the production being a bit cleaner, you can hear all the drum parts, and they sound good. The time is solid and the drums have a comfortable spot within the final mix. Finally, when the drums do enter, it's as black metal as one can expect. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the drum tracks on this record.
Anarchic took me by complete surprise upon first listen, but after numerous repeats (in many different listening environments), I fell in love with the album. Skagos has showcased a side of the band that I never expected to hear and once I heard it, I was sure the album would end and I would hate it. However, I'm glad that something pulled me back in and told me to give it a few more tries. This album won my ears, my mind, and my heart, and I'm sure it will yours too. I eagerly await the release of the final track and wonder what it could possibly sound like! The possibilities seem endless... In the meantime, please support the band using the links provided below.