(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
It has been just a little over three years since the Tri-State (TN., VA., N.C.) region’s Sang Sarah released their introductory EP, Lips Of Atomic Explosion. Since then, the band has remained active, although they have undergone some changes in their roster which we’ll get to in a moment.
On February 23rd, Sang Sarah will return with their anxiously awaited sophomore album, “Dismantle“. Recently, Riff Relevant was proud to host the exclusive unveiling of the first single from the record, “X-Ray Eyes“, which you can check out at this location.
That track, along with the other five alongside it, make up the song content of Dismantle. That said, it’s important to point out that the core of Sang Sarah. vocalist Jenna Duvall and lead / rhythm guitarist Ian Duvall, were joined by a new rhythm section for the outing. That is drummer Richard Bucher and bassist Dale Atkinson (who has exited the band since finishing the record).
Chalk it up to new blood, the passage of time, its resulting evolution, or outside influences, whatever, and you have a recipe for growth. That is exactly what I garnered from hearing these new tracks, ones like the ethereally-tinted intro number, “Mouth Full Of Sin“.
It opens with a serene, melodic tremolo start, Jenna’s vocals distant and subdued in the mix but that soon melts away. The molten riff Ian ignites to properly launch things explodes forth, and once it does, away things go. Driving rhythms and pulsing piston-like paces propel things at near breakneck speeds it seems, all while Jenna belts out a multi-range vocal performance… including some banshee-like screams.
This introductory cut, like the subsequent ones following it, reveal the energy levels within the band are coursing at peak output. The angst-y state of alt. rock raging within “X-Ray Eyes” (streaming), “Antisymmetric” or the fierce “Carrier” is furiously intense. They are quick to reach a maximum yield of uptempo time signatures, incendiary guitars and ferocious, over-the-top vocals.
All the while, Sang Sarah offset that aggressive output with temporal tinges of psychedelia or dark, haunting goth-rock nuances. The aforementioned “Carrier” is a fine example of this method as it careens out of the gate in a near speed metal frenzy at first. It then one-eighties into some hard rock grooves before detouring from there into spells of heady atmospherics.
As riveting as these songs are, I was instantly gripped by one in particular, the alluring “Insurgents Siege“. The brief grungy doom guitar riffs that proclaim its arrival soon fade away, an airier haze of melodic fare taking the reins. You can hear the bass lines rumbling as the drums ride along with their own punchy inserts.
The song eventually reaches a feverish state as a wall of sonic density backs Jenna’s all-out vocal barrage. Then we arrive at the serene start of “Lichen Remoras“, the album-ending close to things but before it does, we get an epic song rife with grand emotion. It ebbs and flows with feeling altogether in the music, vocals and in-general poise of being.
I believe it is safe to proclaim that Sang Sarah have indeed arrived with “Dismantle“. The title itself is rather appropriate too as the band has kind of undergone a symbolic dismantling and reinvention. In the process, it seems to have inspired a new level or caliber of song crafting for Sang Sarah and its personage.
Lastly, Sang Sarah have announced an album release performance set to take place at The Hideaway in Johnson City, TN the day of the “Dismantle” release, February 23rd. They will be supported by HAAL and Daybreaker, you can find details here.