Our shadowy cabal of scribes has happened upon one of the most wondrous and/or perplexing albums in existence. The following reviews, released over the course of several days, is our humble attempt to decipher that which lays before us. Prepare thyself. - Ed.
Written by: Ancient Hand
Life is full of unexpected and unexplainable things. With coincidences, strange events, moving art, and more, this small rock we spend our existence on causes us to cross paths with things that make us scratch our heads on plenty of occasions. In the 2+ decades I’ve been breathing air, I have found many unexpected and unexplainable things thrown my way.
One of the most perplexing things I have ever come into contact with first crossed my path in the summer of 2017. I was living alone—just me and my cat at the time—and I had plenty of time to review music. If you look back at this page, you’ll see I opted to review Sunbather by Deafheaven, Minas Morgul by Summoning, Long Live by The Chariot, and more during this time. However, nowhere in those reviews do I make any mention of Shambhala Vril Saucers by Remmirath, which I first discovered during this time.
For far too long has this album’s intention and driving force eluded me, but with the help of my fellow Sleepy Villagers, I feel I may finally tackle this incredible undertaking that has only grown stronger and more foreboding as the years have gone on. It is now, two and a half years later, that I finally feel that I may take on this incredible beast and put together a decent review of this puzzling album.
Shambhala Vril Saucers is a black metal album by many accounts, but it works in a vast number of elements to the standard black metal sound. Heavy metal, growls, and even beach rock elements permeate the Himalayan-esque surface of this record. So far, easy enough, right? A black metal record that draws on a number of genres to raise it to interesting heights; what’s so strange about that? No, friend. Clearly, if you feel that way, you have not yet heeded the warnings of my fellow villagers, but I urge you to take my words seriously--it doesn't end there.
Shambhala Vril Saucers also makes use of video game music, video game sound effects, deep meditative chants, harsh noise, midi synth tunes, howled screams, psychedelic riffage, and swirling drum passages. Conjure up whatever images you desire in your mind, but no, it does not do this album justice. Never before have I seen a black record (or maybe even just a record, for that matter) look me square in the eye and tell me “No, you cannot hope to guess what comes next. Unpredictable as I may be, your attention is more rapt than ever.”
All these elements keep me more on my toes than any other black metal record. After two and a half years, I still think, “What the fuck is next?” every time I listen. As my fellow villagers listened to this album at my behest, I received live reactions from them every couple minutes, imploring me to explain myself in the discovery of this record. All I could tell them was, “I saw the cover years ago, and I thought it was pretty.” That simple.
The beautiful meditative and soothing cover is faux, however. Inside these files lies something of another land, another mindset. A land of gunslingers and ancient treasure. A mindset of innovation and beauty. Were I to try and pick favorite tracks, I’d have to say my favorites are “Tiger of the City,” with its strange evolution, and “The Gunfighter’s Quest for Enlightenment,” with its crushing outro.
Picking just a couple of tracks feels like an injustice, however. Never has a collection of songs felt so distinct and different but so reliant on each other. Summarizing Remmirath’s ability to command listeners’ attention into “this one song is crazy” is a slap in the face to the ethereal beings that crafted this musical journey. No, this is more than one song. This is about this album: Shambhala Vril Saucers. And, if I’m being honest, this is about more than one album. In this one piece of music, Remmirath show what the word INNOVATION means. INNOVATION to the genre of black metal. INNOVATION to the typical approaches to song writing and song structure. INNOVATION to the music industry, with a giant middle finger to the concept of genre and staying where one belongs. Remmirath is forging the path for artists and listeners of free minds to follow. Should you choose to follow them, be sure to not hold onto your mind; for getting into a fight with Shambhala Vril Saucers over your mind will end in you losing, and you will not be able to truly enjoy what lies before you: perfection.
Remmirath - Shambhala Vril Saucers was released March 2015 from Todestrieb Records
Remmirath can be found laying absolute waste to expectations at:
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.