“Sutrah” is an object meant to block one’s front when performing salat. The idea of having an object that protects the praying person against letting the devil into their thoughts. What does this mean for the band Sutrah, with their newest technical landscape, “Aletheia?” The meaning could represent not letting the devil in – rather, not invoking diabolical thoughts into the mind while praying. With an album name like Aletheia, the album is meant to speak philosophical truths. Clocking in at thirty minutes, the album is half-instrumental; the instrumental tracks create a nuance of sound between the regular tracks, emphasizing the importance of solemnity amidst the chaos.
“Variation I – Umwelt” is a slow buildup intro track to the album. As each instrument begins to layer over themselves, the atmosphere is created into a dissonant curtain. “Umwelt” does not properly set up the listener for what “Variation II – Lethe” holds, which is a great thing. Often, an album intro prepares the listeners and they create expectations. Sutrah took my expectations of what would be held in the album and turned it on its head; when the Faceless-esque riffs entered the scene, I felt a sudden urge to take a run down to the package store – it gets the heart-rate going. This isn’t to say that Sutrah only have heaviness and technicality behind them. As the intro track suggests, Sutrah can balance between the heavy and the ambient. Halfway through “Lethe,” there is a shift into the ambiance that “Umwelt” introduced, subsuming everything previously introduced.
Shifting over to “Variation III – Dwell,” similar to Majula’s own calming soundscape, there is a tranquil sensation that washes over you. Ebbing and flowing between silence and large crescendos of sound, it acts as a placeholder before the beefy track “Variation IV – Geneses.”
Vocalist Laurent Bellemare shows off his low-end over chordal chaos, led by guitarist Claude Leduc. Everything begins to fit into itself as the incorporation of violence and serenity gnash and gnaw at each other until spiraling into a critical balance of intricacy. When Bellemare isn’t raging at the microphone, drummer Kévin Paradis holds down the groovy front-lines of the song and bassist Alex Bao defends the bottom with mighty precision. “Geneses” comes in a multitude of waves; each transition into a new movement is felt but is so smooth that, if not paying attention, you may find yourself thinking it’s a new song. It’s put together in such a way that the story is told through both vocals and instruments, combining all aspects of this supergroup.
Overall, “Aletheia” is a great EP that pushes the boundaries of what Technical Death Metal stands for. There much more melody than typical tech-death enthusiasts may be prepared for, but for listeners looking to dip their toes into a new genre, look no further than Sutrah – a fantastic introduction to a well-loved, highly respected genre that takes masterful craftsmanship to perfect. “Aletheia” will leave you wanting more, a continuation of the story that it holds, and more ear-melting perfection.