Sweden’s Sarcasm have one of the more on-again-off-again histories in death metal history: the band formed in 1990, recorded an album, Burial Dimensions, in 1994, and broke up before the album got released (it saw various releases and re-releases in 2011, 2015, and 2016). Meanwhile, the band played a one-off gig in 1997 (playing all of Burial Dimensions), then retired again until 2015, when they finally got the wheels back in motion.
Now they’re back with a second full-length, Within the Sphere of Ethereal Minds, on Dark Descent Records, and a new lineup, featuring three new members since the first album (two passed away; one quit).
“We love the album,” says vocalist Heval Bozarslan. “We knew when we did demos for it that we had something special in our hands, and it turned out better than we expected, actually. The album is not that long—35 minutes. We wanted to keep it short and interesting; there’s lots of stuff going on in the songs but it never gets boring to listen to. It’s fast, melodic, heavy, dark, aggressive, and catchy. A comeback album we’re very proud of.”
One glance at the song titles on the album—“Silent Waves Summoned Your Inner Being” and “The Drowning Light at the Edge of the Dawn,” for example—hints that the band is tackling some lyrical content above and beyond gore-‘n’-guts, which Bozarslan says is indeed the case.
“The universe is the main theme throughout the album; by ‘universe,’ I mean the laws of the universe that abound, the process of creation through thoughts and mind, rebirth, the source, voices from the inner being,” he says. “Almost everything is written from the non-physical’s point of view, in a metaphysical, metaphoric, and philosophical way. As you can see, there are no zombies, mutilations, or gore in our lyrics, and if people think a band shouldn't be labeled death metal because of that, that's fine, too.”
Given that Sarcasm is only on their second album but are also seasoned vets, Bozarslan says that they feel like both old dogs and newcomers to the death metal world. This is part of the reason why the album has a certain old-school sound.
“When we wrote the album we said that it must feel like it's a natural continuation of the first; you have to hear that it’s the same band, but going a step further,” he says. “If you didn’t know anything about this band and listened to both albums back to back you would’ve thought that there only was a few years between them. That was the whole idea, and it was a conscious choice; it has that special atmospheric ’90s sound, which was necessary, otherwise the album would have failed in many ways. We're not fans of super-modern productions; it has to have that organic and clear sound at the same time, and I think we’ve achieved that.”
While the band doesn’t have much gigging on their agenda just yet, they’re already hard at work on new material (and, insider tip: look for a cassette box set to be released this fall).
“There are no plans for touring at the moment; we haven't talked about it, actually,” says Bozarslan. “But of course we will discuss it if the opportunity comes. We’d like to do some shows at least after the album, and some festivals. Besides that, we're working on some new songs for the next album at the moment."