Sarpa is a stunning extreme metal act from the blackened depths of Austin, Texas and Solivagus is their first release. It’s also one a hell of a debut that goes beyond the confines of black and death metal to encompass all kinds of musical influences including progressive rock and folk. Sarpa’s sole member is multi-instrumentalist David Baxter (drummer for Texan black metal band Plutonian Shore) and with Solivagus he’s unleashed a 7-song, 49-minute epic journey of intense and melodic musical madness.
Solivagus is an album that’s steeped in all the elements that make a great extreme metal opus – there’s loads of guitar melody, tons of great drumming and blastbeats, odd time signatures, different vocal styles and plenty of raging violence. Even with only 7 songs, Sarpa’s epic ruminations require repeated listenings to fully grasp their musical complexity. It’s a dizzying and rewarding journey through all manner of metal territories with the complexity of progressive rock and the extremity of a band like fellow Texas luminaries ABSU.
Over the course of two years, David Baxter recorded Solivagus (a Latin word for wanderer) at a number of different studios around Austin, Texas and he’s clearly a man who understands the art of extreme music from the inside out. Sarpa self-released this epic masterpiece and we can only hope the album receives the recognition it so richly deserves. 9/10