Slay My Sanity may hail from Chelyabinsk in deepest Russia but their musical influence is clearly drawn from further west with the band loudly proclaiming their love of Swedish melodic death metal. Formed as a three-piece back in 2009, the original line-up consisted of Alex Varfolomeyev, Dmitry Tomofeyev and Danil Chernovalov. In their early years, the band struggled to produce much in the way of recorded material due to two members requiring to complete military service.
However, they reconvened in 2015 to release debut LP Madness in Disguise and added two more members (Andrey Shirokov and Maxim Sakhno). The LP by the band’s own admission was plagued with production problems. Heartbeat of Chaos represents a follow up EP and one which the band seem altogether happier with.
From first listen, I can see why and my initial thoughts are that this is a really professional sounding record full of the kind of technical prowess which the genre is known for. It is relatively short comprising of just five tracks and from start to finish is clearly a homage to the heavyweights of the Swedish sound from the melodic anthems, catchy twin guitar harmonies and rasping vocals.
All five of the tracks on the record have that trademark anthemic feel to them and you don’t have to wait long for your fist to start pumping as opener “Orinoco” kicks-in. Second track “Truth vs Truth” develops this further with the riff in the middle raising the bar again. Things get a little more interesting with one of the highlights on the EP, the intriguingly titled third track “Crucifragium” which starts with a romping twin guitar assault before slowing to a more bruising and crunching riff which acts as a great foil to the more melodic moments thus far.
“Nelmes” follows and is more in the vein of the first two tracks and highlights the band’s ability to build a song, layering guitar harmonies over each other excellently. The title track is last but definitely not least. It’s the heaviest number on the record and is a real standout. The track begins with a skipping bass intro which develops into a real stonker of a heavy riff which runs through the track, before upping the pace considerably and indulging in some frenetic and accomplished guitar soloing. It’s a great finish to the record and left me wishing there was more like that.
As I mentioned in introducing this EP, the quality of both the sound and the overall musicianship really stand out out on this record and both belie a relatively inexperienced band with little recorded material under their wing. There is a clear nod to legends At the Gates and their classic Slaughter of the Soul opus but in this case, a bit of mild plagiarism (or more politely, influence) is a good thing and this record is a real foot stomper. Let’s hope it gives these young guys a platform to deliver more in the future.
Heartbeat of Chaos is self-released and is out now.