(Firsty, I dearly apologise for the title, but the alliteration simply had to be fulfilled.)
It’s Christmas time again and also time to spread a little kindness. Therefore, I out of hand decided to write a little appreciation article about one of the most important people in our scene: Sarah Vincent.
It was at the end of 2018, I was relatively new to the scene. I got into Metal through maybe the typical Power Metal bands nowadays: Sabaton, Powerwolf and Blind Guardian. Yet still I had already gotten into contact with the underground a little bit, on the one hand due to my dad, who sparked my love for Manilla Road, and on the other hand due to the Deaf Forever magazine, I sometimes read as my dad had bought some issues. So little Aidan was scrolling through YouTube – something he still does way too much – and stumbled over the BEST METAL OF 2018 video by Banger TV. I of course didn’t know any of the mentioned bands, especially as I didn’t listen to “Extreme“ Metal at that time. But then it was Sarah’s turn to present her top pick – in the end it were seven top picks; a phenomenon also visible when examining the Epic Metal Blog’s lists – and again I didn’t know any of her picks, however something in the way she presented her picks was different and got me more intrigued. Then she presented Gatekeeper with their debut album East of Sun, which she compared to Omen. I thought to myself: “I know Omen, I like Omen, I should give it a listen, particularly because of the epic cover artwork!“. Though, her final suggestions – and I believe this was her real number one pick – was Dautha – Brethren of the Black Soil, some medievalish Epic Doom. Back then I hadn’t listened to a lot of Doom Metal either, I knew Candlemass and acknowledged them, but Doom didn’t get me very excited. Yet, I already loved history, especially the Middle Ages, and convinced myself to give it a listen. I was blown away, I just couldn’t get enough of it and immediately noted the CD on my Christmas wish list – back in the days when I ordered music on Amazon…
So these two releases catapulted me into the depths of the underground, made me finally kick open the already slightly opened gates of Epic Metal, which I should then plunge through when I discovered Visigoth shortly after. For me, and I know that I also speak in André’s name, Gatekeeper’s East of Sun is without a single doubt one of the greatest Epic Metal releases of the last decade and if it comes to Dautha, I might say that Brethren of the Black Soil is my favourite Epic Doom album of all time.
In the following year – it was then I found out she was actually also the vocalist of Smoulder, a band I had already read about a lot and really enjoyed listening to – the suggestion that stood out to me the most was Grendel’s Sÿster – Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz EP. I already knew and loved this record, yet still I believe that it was her affirmation that convince to me to write my first little “review“ on my Instagram page, which eventually should be the reason André asked me if I were interested in writing articles about music and you know where this led to.
2020 was the year I started listening to music more than I sleep, therefore I knew almost all for me “relevant“ – or so I thought. It was also in this year that I had started to regularly listen to “Extreme“ Metal, but this was mainly reduced to Epic Pagan/Folk Metal. Black Metal didn’t really get to me at all. In this year Sarah’s pick was the latest full length album of Havukruunu (as I’m writing this relatively spontaneously I won’t try to somehow write down the album title). I must admit that I had ignored all her Facebook posts in which she had constantly praised this record, but I just didn’t want to listen to Black Metal – shame on me. However, after she once again mentioned this album in the 2020 rendition of the video series, I finally gave it a listen and my mind exploded. This album showed me a whole new level of epicness, the intro alone still gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. Besides, I’d consider this album to be the one that made me dive into Black Metal thus opening up a whole new world!
And this year…she has done it again. I really listened to countless hours of music this year, yet still she managed to blow me away with another of her sanctified recommendations, I’m talking about Spectral Wound – A Diabolic Thirst. What a masterpiece! The amazing guitarwork and the magnificent melodies creating an unbelievably dark but also to some extent even epic atmosphere, together with the bestial vocals just won’t let go of me. What a wonderful record! Why didn’t I find out about it earlier when the vinyl was still available? Maybe because I didn’t listen to Sarah properly…
So as I already mentioned in the beginning, this is just a little appreciation post! Thank you Sarah for all the effort you put into the scene! Thank you for sharing you amazing taste! Without you the Epic Metal Blog probably wouldn’t exist. We wish you and Shawn all the best, have a wonderful festive period.