Sarpa – Solivagus

Band: Sarpa
Title: Solivagus
Label: Independent
Release date: 05 June 2020
Country: USA
Format reviewed: High-quality Digital Recording

When I read the name of the newly released one-man project from Sarpa I took a moment to think to myself. “Solivagus” sounds like some sort of a disease you get on your toes. However in this case its Sarpa´s debut album after having just released the album´s second 10 minutes long track as an EP. I immediately liked the artwork as I looked through my pick before giving it a go, and I must say it was a tickle to find out more about this project.

“Cleanse” opens the work up with a rather filmic sound. Thundering drums and chanting made me feel like it was a witch hunt, and I was the witch being hunted. It left a thick, promising atmosphere which than was ripped apart by a musical journey that was rather hard, but interesting, to follow. “Triad of Might” had been previously released as an EP, and with muddy sound and fast changing riffs it was hard to tell what was going on. As I had caught onto the sound it changed up once more and even if it was complicated, it did keep me on the edge of my seat the entire (almost) 11 minutes it went on. “Predacious Dimensions” reflected the same setup, as it changed quite a bit during the verses where faster drums and vocals take it up a couple of notches. The real danger was to lose track of the whole thing, as the fast changes made it very hard to come back and catch back up.

The man behind this work, David Baxter, has mastered the instruments he uses in this music and I must say I can’t even imagine where he is getting his ideas from. “Evanesce” is a slower one that made me think of an offspring between Alice in Chains and Mastodon while on drugs. Interesting mix I must say, but then the title track “Solivagus” comes around and it turns out it’s an instrumental. And a normal instrumental as well! Usually when there is one such a track it’s somewhat over the top and if not done correctly just sounds like the musicians are trying too hard. But this one is completely normal. Much more so than the previous tracks.

“Horizons Worlds Beyond” closes the album and I expected to judge from the almost 10 minutes length that Mr. Baxter would bring forth his entire arsenal and to say the least this track is a mixed bag of tricks. Genres and moods take turns although perhaps now the Mastodon vibe is a bit stronger.

Overall I wasn’t disappointed. If you are in the mood to listen to something new you may not have heard before, in more sense than one, than this is one to go for. You’ll experience fine craftsmanship and quite the generous welcome into the mind of the creator of this fine piece of musical history, and for those who dare to give this almost 50 minutes long album a fair chance; you will find things you like, as well as quite a few things you had no idea you fancied in the first place. 8/10 by Julia Katrin

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