REVIEW: SAKARA – “Blood And Stone”
Posted by Nico Solheim-Davidson
It’s been a busy year for solo artist Sakara (Japanese for “cherry blossom”) who not only joined Apparition but played a couple of European shows with them following her debut gig with the band earlier this year and even fronted them at The Dames of Darkness Festival in May where they supported Delain. However, this not the time to talk about Sakara’s recently achieved position with Apparition. Two years ago, this coming Halloween, Sakara’s debut album “Blood And Stone” was unleashed on the female metal scene.
The album is opened up with the haunting dirge-like “Bleed”. The riffs and the vocals send chills down the spine, yet that a luring element to them, much like the call of a siren. “Rise” throws out an experimental sound, differing both in mood and sound from the previous track. Sakara’s growls throughout the song jump out unexpectedly, like a lion pouncing on its prey though the musicianship doesn’t quite have the bulk to carry the roaring vocals. “Join You” is a soothing ballad, featuring a gentle flow of piano that allows Sakara’s voice to sail smoothly throughout the track – That is until the guitars snap in, adding a raw, passionate mood to the calmness of the waves of piano medleys.
The synth-driven sound of “By My Side” is an interesting change in musical craftsmanship, mood and overall a pleasant change from the usual symphonic-laden pieces found with the more popular metal bands. “She of the Throne” is another interesting sound, taking on a very Middle Eastern or Egyptian inspired sound at its beginning before the driving guitar passages begin with the ethereal use of vocals. The whispers on “Ishtar” create not only a mystifying atmosphere but creates a hypnotic sound, blending in with the mesmerising instrumentation while the actual main use of vocals complete the song.
Staying true to her pseudonym, Sakara incorporates some clear Japanese elements “Earth Song” which gradually lead into the majestically Gothic lullabies that make up the rest of the track. “2 Wolves” is a unique track on the album, containing a far more experimental sound than the previous tracks and displaying a change of tone in Sakara’s voice. The wolf howls really add a dark yet romantic aspect to the song, accompanying Sakara’s siren-like voice. “Soul Loss” throws in a thrash-based dynamic that really matches with Sakara’s voice – both the clean vocals and the harsher snarls – whilst the final track “Kunoichi” (female ninja) has a very industrial-meets-thrash sound.
The varying elements and experimental segments that are present throughout “Blood And Stone” give the album its own identity but the production values dampen the sound somewhat, especially in terms of the vocals which is turn doesn’t allow the listener to hear the full extent of Sakara’s talent like they would in a live setting. Barring that one issue, “Blood And Stone” is an enjoyable album.
RATING: 7.5 / 10
“Blood And Stone” – Track list:
3. Join You
4. By My Side
5. She of the Throne
7. Earth Song
8. 2 Wolves
9. Soul Loss
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