Released: 2006, Poptori
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
A trivia-like question for all of you: What´s officially the first ever Finnish Heavy Metal band that recorded their debut album in the fall of ´79, and got it released in 1980 through a small domestic label JP Musiikki? I guess only a few of you might have known the correct answer to my question because even I didn´t manage to guess it right: The band is Sarcofagus and their debut record was called CYCLE OF LIFE. CYCLE OF LIFE is not only one of the most obscure Finnish Heavy Metal releases ever, but it´s also one of the most obscure albums in the entire history of Heavy Metal in my opinion. Even imago-wise, Sacrofagus wasn´t your typical, every-day -looking act with their dark metal looks and mythical lyrics - and a stage show that consisted of f.ex. pyrotechnics, flame throwing guitars and pyramids that all together raised quite much controversy amongst certain media back in the day.
Now the band´s legendary debut album CYCLE OF LIFE has been re-released for the second time as a CD -format by the relatively controversial Finnish label called Poptori; this time only without those 2 bonus tracks ("Talo" and "All Those Lies") that were included to the Italian Mellotron Records´ pressing, released in 1996. However, what Poptori has done, can sincerely be considered quite a culture historical thing simply because there hardly could have been any other label out there that would have even considered of re-releasing this unpolished gem of the Finnish Heavy Metal ever again. But let´s all be greatful to Poptori, it´s done now, and they were the ones that had enough guts to put it out eventually.
Sacrofagus´ own brand of Heavy Metal was heavily influenced by a fair amount of psychedelic influences that made kind of an exciting yet unique combination. Try to think of some early, dark ´80s NWOBHM (Angel Witch, Cloven Hoof, Black Sabbath, etc.) mixed with bites from some weird Pink Floyd´ish soundscapes and you should be pretty close to figure out how they were sounded like musically actually. The word ´obscure´ got a whole new meaning at that period of time when CYCLE OF LIFE was released in Finland back in the day. Sarcofagus were absolutely ahead of their time thinking now backwards in time how alone the guys of Sarcofagus were in the Finnish music scene in the early ´80s with their Heavy Metal that was only hailed by a very small group of people back in those days. The band also has one ballad type of song, titled “Hermit”, on CYCLE OF LIFE which reminds of one legendary rock band whose origin were in London, England. That band was Led Zeppelin, of course.
At best, however, Sarcofagus were in such songs as “Subconscious Penetrating”, “Here I Am”, “Astral Flyer” and “Eternal Silence” - those 4 songs representing clearly the band´s passionate twists for a heavy and dark sound. Listening to those songs in question, makes me wish I could have seen them live back in the day. But I was so young and innocent back then, having no clue about a band like Sarcofagus.
Oh, if you are an owner of the original vinyl version of the album, consider yourself a very lucky bastard because it´s a true collector´s item nowadays and you probably won´t see it for sale anywhere. For the rest of us, there´s always some availability for this re-release of the band´s classic first album, so what the hell you are still waiting for...?