Mark of the Beast: Indoctrination
When I first heard of Sparrows, the first thing that went through my mind was what type of music would a band that call themselves Sparrows play? Would it be post-black metal or some ambient/atmospheric shit? But turns out that I was way off the mark. While Mark of the Beast: Indoctrination is my first encounter with the band, this is already their fourth studio release, and the first of a three-part series. And the music here is the exact opposite of my speculations; pure, unadulterated blackened death metal in its full glory.
Drunk on the Blood of Fools hits the listener’s guts with no mercy as the band begins their aggressive onslaught with little hesitation. The black metal roots of the band are rather obvious, and this is shown not only through the riffs of guitarist Ryan but also in the vocals of Jason, a desperate, tortured shriek. The fusion of crushing yet atmospheric music are reminiscent of contemporary black/death metal bands, at times even emanating a slight Polish feel that reminds one of bands like Hate and Behemoth.
However, the band attempts some variety in their music, preventing Mark of the Beast: Indoctrination to slip into the pitfall of mindless blasting. For instance, there are moments where the band goes into an almost melodic death metal sound, with the riffs of Ryan on songs like Brainscan and on the lead guitar segments on Cellar of the Damned, though the heavy chugging sections almost lean into deathcore/metalcore territory (fortunately, one of the very few moments on the EP). However, it is precisely the presence of these melodic lead guitar lines, and that huge lead tone that helps to provide a charming sound to the band as well, giving the music of Sparrows a character of its own.
The production quality of the album is also rather polished, fitting to the style of music that Sparrows has crafted on this EP. Each of the instruments are clearly heard in the mix, and like mentioned, the thing that stood out was the lead guitar tone, helping to give that melodic lead guitar lines an even more emotional feel. This being the first of a three-part series of EP has certainly left a rather deep impact. With the high quality music and the high energy that is contained within this release, it leaves one to wonder how the band’s gonna top it in the next part of the series.