Review of Sky Burial's 'Pas the Sarvering Gallack Seas and Flaming Nebyul Eye' from Santa Sangre

What a monumentality emanates from “Pas The Sarvering Gallack Seas And Flaming Nebyul Eye”. The very title, which I swear I won’t write for the second time in this review, announces that it we won’t be having an easy time with the album, and we’ll probably be forced to face a real colossus. Which doesn’t have feet of clay, by all means.
Not so long ago we reviewed the previous Sky Burial release, “There I Saw The Grey Wolf Gaping” (Small Doses). An album which was fascinating because of its impetus and its multitude of references and inspirations. There’s no denying that this was not only thanks to Michael, but also to his invited guests, each of which contributed their part. This CD, released via Obfuscated Records is no different: it’s powerful, diversified… crowded.
Even the first track, the shortest – “only” eight and a half minutes long – “Na Fir Ghorm” kicks the listener in the face pretty hard. It starts with a surreal organ that after a few minutes transforms in tribal rhythms together in a deadly embrace with strong, though melodic riffs of “Irish” flavor. The closing bagpipes in this piece and the title itself highlight its Celtic character. Sky Burial was aided here by Nigel Ayers (Nocturnal Emissions) and Craig McFarlane.
The title track pushes through the hollows in stone cracks to breathe freely and scream to the sky after finally getting to the surface. It’s a tremendous thing, in every aspect, from the crawling drone in the background, the monotonously repeated two-second motif to the dreamlike chimes. All of this ultimately ends up in a rusted boiler, where the sound is bubbling, boiling and evaporating. In the midst of the storm a helpless child is trying to get some attention. An insane, but impressive track it is. The Stargazer’s Assistant, John Balistreri (Slogun) and Pentti Dassum were involved in its creation.
After the sensations provoked by the previous section, a moment of silence seems indispensable. And we get it in the form of “Vessel”. A windy and organic drone drifts through the major part of the track while from its depths emerges for a moment a synth theme taken straight from a 70s science fiction movie, as well as something that sounds like a gunshot… The fact that this track is more quiet doesn’t mean that it sounds poorer: pulsating bass, almost mystical passages, the groans of dying machinery, and a ton of other sounds tightly fill the intricate design of “Vessel”. The work ending in an oddly serene way…
“The Longest Day Heralds The Darkness To Follow” is the longest piece here. Just like “Vessel”, the base of this track is abundantly decorated dark ambient with dense passages, a disturbing atmosphere more ambiguous than the one specific for most of this genre’s projects. Some piano chords, sonic dirt, metallic scraping or rustling and, as if to contrast, heavenly synth soundscapes further down the track. Beauty, horror and surrealism. Little Red Riding Hood at the nuclear waste dump. Excellent piece of music.
The Vomit Arsonist collaborated with Sky Burial in composing “Fuligin Cloak”, thus closing the album. Michael returns to a more noisy form of expression, but at the same time this is probably the least complex piece; a dense wall of noise, not particularly extreme, but respectively marking its presence and… do I hear bagpipes in the background again? Or maybe it’s just me? The album slowly comes to an end, the space is cleared by pleasant, warm drones, though some writhing sinuous machine clatters try to contaminate them. These impurities ultimately lose to the soothing blue of clear sky.
It took me a moment to determine which recently released album “Pas The Sarvering” is reminiscent of. After several listens the revelation came. Its intensity and energy, its monumentality and well-conceived epic character reminds me of some parts of “The Seer” by Swans. It seems to me that only externally do they belong to distant musical worlds. I think that both Michaels, Gira and Page understand the music alike, just using different means of expression to create it. Anyway, Sky Burial once again left me lying half-dead on the floor. It was a very pleasant experience.