Sar Isatum are not messing about. When this preview track by the US trio of JP Dalkhu, Damothi and CC landed in my inbox my eye was immediately caught by their use of Sumerian themes; upon checking out the music itself I was far from disappointed. Great symphonic black does not find its way onto my radar as often as it should these days but the ritualistic drumming leading into a blistering, well produced assault of technical obsidian majesty felt like a clarion-call charge into battle and served well as a savage statement of intent. So, being a fan of both Sumerian mythology and good black metal, I was intrigued enough to investigate further and shoot off a few quick questions before the full-length debut ‘Shurpu’ descends upon the Earth. Luckily, the gentlemen were happy to oblige. Have a listen to the eponymous preview track and opening salvo from the upcoming album below, and read on for a fleeting glimpse into the mythos and minds of Sar Isatum.
Greetings Sar Isatum, thanks for speaking to us. First, some history: What is Sar Isatum as an entity, where did it come from and what is its purpose?
– Sar Isatum came to be as a musical force with the intent to make an intense and ethereal experience to the listener and an intense live performance and force to be reckoned with within the black metal realm. Our purpose is to personally conquer our musical creation and combine different elements within the genre.
You’re about to unleash your debut intonation upon the earth, ‘Shurpu’. Shurpu means ‘Purification by Fire’; in Sumerian, your emblem Sar Isatum means ‘King of Fire’ and the lyrics are inspired heavily by the Sumerian empire. Can you explain the use of Sumerian mythology behind the album and its importance to you?
– The Sumerian topic has always been interesting and it is a topic that not a lot of black metal bands represent and/or write about. Sumerian metaphysical and spiritual ideas also pre-date Christianity and have a dark occult nature to them, so we gravitate towards that rather than the topics that are overdone in today’s black metal.
There’s some great symbolic cover art from Mindrape Art as well, continuing the apocalyptic fire theme. What was it like to work with him, are you pleased with the result?
– We are highly pleased with what Mark did for our cover, I personally have worked with him for many years with other bands and he always delivers an amazing and fitting art. For this cover I sent him the finished album and explained our lyrical content and what we were looking for; needless to say, he envisioned exactly what we had envisioned ourselves. Mark Cooper is an art genius.
The eponymous preview track ‘Sar Isatum’ sounds like a call to arms. Is there a particular reason you selected this track as an introduction?
– We wanted to capture our listener with the first track to release to the public; a song that best represents the band, album, and the different elements that we apply to our writing.
There’s also what appears to be a demo for another great album track on YouTube, ‘Celestial Diaspora’, which sounds altogether colder. What can we expect to hear from the rest of the album?
– That was the demo track we released when the band was created. The album in itself has variation within the songs, we don’t intent to copy any band and we use our different influences to write music and you will be able to tell in this album. At the same time we are always working on evolving musically and do not intent to always sound a certain way.
The album was produced at Sawn & Quartered studios. How did you find the process, and is the final sound exactly as you envisioned?
– Shane Howard is a professional producer and it was great working with someone that knows exactly what a band wants when he’s presented with the music before the recording process. He was able to capture the sound we wanted for this release and we are planning to work with him once again in the future.
You’ve had some shows recently with the likes of Uada and Inquisition. How has the reception been to the material in a live setting?
– We have been received rather well, we have left a mark in the Denver black metal scene and we have created a great following in the short period of time we have been performing live. We just got picked to play with Belphegor, Cryptopsy, and Hate for a show on November 19th.
What’s the state of the Black Metal scene in Colorado? Are there any other underground artists you believe deserve more attention?
– It’s a growing scene, a supporting scene and it’s definitely one of the best USBM scenes in the country. There’s many amazing bands in Colorado but the ones right now that deserve the recognition are our friends in Mount Cairn and Crafteon, great bands, go listen to them.
Are you currently shopping the album around to labels? Any word on when we can expect a release?
– We are casually shopping around but as of now we have not found the right deal and label to call home, so it’s looking like we will self release the album. Web release date is set for November 20th and the CD release will be on December 21st.
What lies in the future of Sar Isatum? Have you started writing for the next album, and will the Sumerian inspiration continue through future releases?
– Yes, we have started writing new material and as of now we have not made the decision to only continue with the Sumerian inspiration. We don’t want to limit our music and lyrics to one subject.
And lastly: Do you believe the Annunaki will return?
– I believe it is a possibility; to me, it’s more believable that we were created by an alien species than a bearded God.
Sincerest thanks for your time. Any final words?
Thank you for the interview and check out our pages in Youtube, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Instagram and Facebook.
Pre-Order the debut album ‘Shurpu’ from the Bandcamp link below.
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