O Saala Sakraal – Etmaal (cd 2018)

Only out on December 21th, but the good thing about running a website is that sometimes I get promo material. Here we have a collaboration between five Dutchmen including two from Hadewych (and hence, including Distel).  Indeed, O Saala Sakraal reminds of Hadewych here and there.

Hadewych has a ‘soundscapish’ sound, but with guitar and more energy here and there, a quite unique sound that is hard to describe. That soundscape side is more prominent in O Saala Sakraal, but also here and there the sound becomes more ‘lively’. The music is fairly dark, nicely weird (but not as weird as Hadewych), contains several vocalists who recite poems, scream or sing. Overall this album is more tranquil from what we know from Hadewych and (of course) somewhat different in sound, but I think that band gives the best idea of what to expect from the album that has a Dutch title which cannot be immediately translated to English (perhaps being the reason for being chosen?). The word “etmaal” refers to a day of 24 hours. There are two tracks of about 20 minutes by the way.

So, a nice album if you like something dark and original.

Link: Cyclic Law

3 comments

  1. I discovered this band a couple of days ago and have been reading up on it ever since. After reading this review I checked out Hadewych, but i honestly don’t see how that band is similar in any other way than them sharing members and both being quite uncommon – musically speaking.
    That last Hadewych album sounds more like an insane black metal-Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, by lack of a better comparison – anything but “soundscapish” at any rate.
    O Saala Sakraal however has more of a esoteric ritual atmosphere to it, maybe similar to some releases of the Aural Hypnox label. As a reference it might have made more sense to mention that one of the guys is part of Trepaneringsritualen; I saw them play a stomper of a show in Berlin the other day. Another one is the drummer of Dead Neanderthals, which would account for the improvisational quality that some of the Etmaal tracks have.
    I mean Hadeywch is a great band, but it sounds nothing like O Saala Sakraal in my experience.

    Oh by the way; there’s one woman in the band according to Discogs and not sure she’s Dutch either.

  2. Try to listen to Hadewych’s debut and you might hear what I mean. Peter is not “part of” TxRxP, they just cooperate frequently. Both musicians have/had lots of different musical outlets, as do other musicians with whom they cooperate(d). The reason that I mentioned Hadewych is to get an idea of the sound of O Saala Sakraal which is hard to describe on itself and I do hear the influence of the same artists in both projects, especially when you know both albums of Hadewych.

  3. Eh, no he is part of TxRxP. We talked briefly after the show, he said he has been a member since 2017 or so. That Nordvargr cover they did is with him on drums as well, but both him and Ekelund use those runic aliases.

    I did check that (imo rather vague) first album, but I have to say I still don’t agree. I see why you would call part of that specific release soundscapish; still I’d question your observation that the band has a “soundscapish sound”, as the tracks on recent releases seem to be very direct and loud.

    Then personally I’d say esoteric ritual / martial / ambient seems to describe the sound of Etmaal pretty well. I feel the Hadewych reference only obscures it. But yeah, opinions.

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