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Sparrows - Mark of the Beast: Indoctrination (Self-Released)

By: David E. Gehlke

[7/10] Back when yours truly used to work at a grocery store in high school, the registered total of $6.66 would strike fear into the hearts of the elderly. On at least half-dozen occasions, a harmless, sweet, but awfully slow-moving senior citizen would get upset if the price of their bill came up with three sixes. Probably fearing that it was a potential omen for the afterlife, the old person in question would request that something be added to their bill like chewing gum or a candy bar. Once that small feat was accomplished, all was well. They were happy, and Blistering, in his immature teenager glory would smile inwardly.

$6.66 happens to be the price of Sparrows’ EP, Mark of the Beast: Indoctrination, the first of a three-part series. The Dallas-based blackened death metallers come across like a less bountiful Black Dahlia Murder, parlaying the Scandinavian-esque rasp of vocalist Jason into a relatively enjoyable six-song outing. Outside of “Indoctrination,” there’s nary a sign of trying to riding the coattails of American metal’s annoying deathcore underbelly, as shards of feral death metal rear their head on “Drunk on the Blood of Fools” and “Cellar of the Damned,” which is the strongest cut of the lot.

Should Sparrows decide to permanently avoid the trappings of modern American death/black metal, then they’ll have more of a fighting chance. With Mark of the Beast: Indoctrination, the band positions themselves for an uptick of releases bearing the number of the beast.

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