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HARDWARES

BASTARD SAPLING

Dragged From Our Reckless Trance

(Forcefield)

Reviewed by : David Perri
Rating : 7.0

Those of you who are old enough might remember the hype that surrounded NEVERMORE's Dead Heart In A Dead World back during the autumn of 2000. The critical praise around the album was deafening, the record receiving unanimous 10s and heralded in the terms usually reserved only for OPETH and ENSLAVED. Dead Heart In A Dead World is well done on all levels, there's no doubt, but when put in the context of the deep shadow of the profuse acclaim... well, the album was naturally bound to disappoint on first listen. Which it did. And only after several years of distance did the album's supporters and patrons begin to make sense, culminating in a re-evaluation that brought Dead Heart In A Dead World into the stratosphere it so obviously deserves. Virginia's BASTARD SAPLING and its debut, Dragged From Our Reckless Trance, suffer from a similar affliction that Dead Heart did, as the metal press has, thus far, made a big deal out Dragged From Our Reckless Trance, some reviews even going as far as to compare it to MAYHEM's genre-defining De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and BATHORY's landmark Blood Fire Death. While the merits of those comparisons are, evidently, debatable, it's clear that Bastard Sapling will benefit from this type of praise, even if expectations will rise incrementally and suffocatingly (when PARADISE LOST was bestowed the 'New METALLICA' crown after Draconian Times, the band responded to the immense pressure with the experimental and badly received One Second). But, for now, let's focus not on where Bastard Sapling is heading but where it's been, understanding that Dragged From Our Reckless Trance is well-written and highly reverential, obviously the product of those who are no strangers to sporting DARKTHRONE or old-school ULVER t-shirts. Despite track lengths that brood for as long as almost 14 minutes à la WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM, Bastard Sapling has, smartly, crafted real songs as opposed to walls of nondescript blasts, this record filled with moments that are well-placed, well-executed and epic, the summits here almost meriting the profuse praise that has come Bastard Sapling's way. The record could benefit from an editing process to streamline several of the longer songs, but one fully realises that the appeal for some might lie in the elongated nature of the tracks, as the 14 minute songs will 'take you a journey' (or some other overused, cheesy cliché that should just go away entirely when discussing music). So, yes, Bastard Sapling has presented us with a record that is a staunch and steadfast tribute to black metal while also adding to the sub-genre's oeuvre in general, and it'll be interesting to see if Dragged From Our Reckless Trance follows in Dead Heart In A Dead World's footsteps and eventually is looked back on as a true watershed moment. Note: for those curious, the band is named after a HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE song.



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