Saltas is a new misterious outfit emerging from the depths of the bleakest Swedish underground. However, the entities behind this project are far from being newcomers in the extreme Metal scene. In their line-up we can find Nicklas Rudolfsson, the restless mind behing bands such as Runemagick, The Funeral Orchestra and Heavydeath (among many others), bands I've followed for a long time and whose personality I really appreciate, as well as a member or Irkallian Oracle, which identity obviously remains a secret.
Their presentation as a band is done in the old-school way, through a demo tape "Recorded during simple conditions in December 2017" entitled 'Currents', which release is however managed by Nuclear War Now! Productions, allowing them both a very professional presentation of the product in a pro-cassette tape with a two page booklet including the lyrics and a very fitting drawing taken from Juan Valverde de Amusco's "Historia de la composición del cuerpo humano" on the cover, as well as some of the best promotion they could get to make a good start.
The tape includes four tracks, starting by the eleven-minute mammoth "Salt At The Temple Roots", and followed by "Fractals From The Lower Flesh", "XII Nerves Decay" and "Currents From The Astral Darkness", clocking in a total length of twenty-seven minutes. And if there's something I could say from the very first time I listened to these four songs (and there's been many after that) is that the recording definitely falls into the limits of what I would expect from a band including Mr. Rudolfsson.
This does definitely not mean I'm saying this recording is predictive or just a second rate version of his other bands. Saltas is extremely heavy and sinister Doom Death Metal with some bleak Black Metal leanings, yes. And they don't sound that far from some of The Funeral Orchestra's ideas actually, with those extremely thick guitar layers and haunting vocal lines. But they also have a different approach to the genre in other aspects. In some way, the "catchier" and more dynamic parts make me think of a slowed down version of Winter, like playing 'Into Darkness' at half speed (and this is something I don't say easily, as I usually disagree on most comparisons to this masterpiece). Even the vocals sound like they had been lowered down, with that extremely deep and dense tone. However, they add a certain ceremonious aspect to their sound, that makes the song move like a procession towards the absolute void.
On the other side, the atmospheric parts (which also have a very important place in this demo) are a lot more sinister, monotonous and chilling, with an ambiental approach that fuses Funeral Doom and some sludgy/dragging Black Metal in a majestic mass of reverberating riffs and tenebrous melodies over a very (very) simple, quiet and spaced (but tremendously fitting) drumming that envelopes you like a cloak of shadows until it suffocates you.
The combination of both aspects, together with another important factor as the production, which is pretty raw and swamped, make these songs a very surprising debut, full of great ideas to explore and fully explode. which may be simple and quite straight as an approach, but make you think/imagine a lot how they could develop on a longer space such as a full-length would allow. And, if I had to put them close to someone else, I would say their tomb should be placed next to Grave Upheaval's.
In the meantime, right after listening to 'Currents', you can already enjoy their second demo, which is already out in digital format on their bandcamp profile, and which will also be released soon by Nuclear War Now! Productions.
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.