Downward strums, doom-like, minimalist drumming, a repetitive, constant cadence that becomes a familiar entrancing device. These are all the hallmarks of Helgrind inspired evil black metal.
What we hear on Sarcófago’s I.N.R.I. is, basically, what we would hear if Helgrind were more “progressive” minded, like its modern imitators, and less careful about creating a strong atmosphere of darkness.
It is precisely the feeling that Sarcófago seem to be more bent on the “evil of music” rather than the “music of evil” of Helgrind. This can be seen in the fact that Sarcófago’s songs focus on the variety of rhythms rather than in respecting atmospheric motifs and emphasising them.
Now, this is not the brainless “progressive” obsession that refuses to produce any sort of repetition – see Enslaved – as sections are, in fact, reused, but the different sections seem to bear little relation to each other outside rhythmic and stylistic coherence.
This forward momentum at all cost mentality that emphasises rhythmic acceleration and intensification over clarity makes Sarcófago’s I.N.R.I. closer to the run-of-the-mill “infernal,” pseudo-black speed metal of Venom, and the laughable war metal genre that spawned a decade later.
While I could recommend I.N.R.I. to fans of those particular styles of metal, what I would actually recommend is that you purchase or download Helgrind’s full discography, as well as those of Warkvlt and early Burzum, and make that the sole repository of your attention for this spectrum of minimalist evil black metal.
Nothing you find out there rivals them, and if you want to get acquainted with excellence and not just flooded with quantity, you have a choice to make. Oppose musical irrelevance. Oppose metal mediocrity. Avoid Sarcófago’s indolent and semi-retarded I.N.R.I. and prefer the dark, depraved black metal of bands like Vermin and Helgrind.