The Sunrise Of Mankind by Erragal
21 Jan 2022
Forgive my ignorance but Baghdad doesn't strike me as a place with a thriving black metal scene. Even less so the home of a one man black metal project coordinated by an artist that has been involved in this dark corner of the music world for over a decade. Well that is exactly what we have with Erra Gal who has, this week, released his second LP under the not-so-cryptic name Erragal. If music transcends all boundaries this may be the ultimate test.
The Sunrise of Mankind is a generous 11 tracks that surprisingly display an impressive depth spanning not only metal but dark ambient as well as veins of percussive tribal music. The opening piece is a hauntingly atmospheric number where the ghosts of once tolling bells and a lonely piano are hiding behind an ominous and delicate drum beat. An appropriate introduction that sets the scene of us walking between flaming torches towards the main act. Although this ambient flavour does reappear several times on the album, the following track, The Tyrant, is where we first meet the demonic alter ego of Erragal. The gutteral growls that bleed allover this track along with the relentless drum pattern somehow manage to flow quite effectively from the dark, minimalist introduction. Here the subtle suggestion of Eastern influence can be heard in the opening guitar play.
Although this record is not lacking in the more traditional gothic black metal there are also more melodic numbers that, with a different vocal approach, may fall in to a different genre altogether. The Resurrection starts with a defined catchy riff that stays prominent even when the rythm doubles and the demon is released. Even the closing track, Bleeding Wounds, prior to its extended, stripped back outro, has an almost optimistic piano melody.
Although it is hard to ignore the death growls it is actually the calmer ambient tracks where Erragal really shines. Portal I, II and III is a three part piano based composition with sparing use of drums and synth effects to create a dark, foreboding atmosphere. Labyrinths of the Wasteland has a minute long interlude midway through that leans on tribal drums and indigenous instruments. These are the sections that paint the setting for the story of this album.
The Sunrise of Mankind is not the darkest black metal out there and if anything it feels like that aspect of Erragals sound is the least developed. For the most part this record is deeply descriptive with colourful backdrops and creative instrumentation. Surprisingly this doesn't sound like a one man band which was my biggest concern and I think if he could get some follow ups out in due course I would be interested to see how this project develops.