In the past six or seven years, there appears to have been an overabundance in the black metal output coming from the Northwestern regions of the United States and Canada, the area roughly correspondent to the mountains of the Cascade Range. Every year a bunch of new bands enrich that list and the result, quite often, is that it seems to we're listening to some kind of organic "whole", somehow encompassing most of the projects in both conceptual and atmospheric terms. Consequently, we might feel that there is a very strong connection, even continuity, between the many Alda, Skagos, or Oskoreien, and so on. This is frequently cited as a flaw by people who don't appreciate this "new wave" of Wolves In The Throne Room followers hailing from North America — and WITTR or Agalloch themselves more often than not, obviously being the best known names of the lot.
Actually, what many of these musicians are doing — whether consciously or not — is creating a new discourse around the most visceral branch of metal, through its relationship with humanity's potential and how this potential interacts with the world. The sources and inspirations are varied, from transcendentalism to anarchism, to staunch environmentalism and so on; the afore-mentioned organic "whole" is this container in which the many acts strive to put into music their worldview, sharing some features. And here we get to Sadhaka, one of the newest names in a scene not so young anymore. Hailing from Oregon, the trio stresses that all the songs were "uncovered in solitude from a remote mountain hermitage in the wild highlands of the Columbia River Gorge, central Cascadia", trying to recover part of that myth that connects black metal to the "wild". Not surprisingly, they choose the term "Cascadia" to describe the location.
The album comprises four long tracks – in the WITTR’s classic albums vein – and features most of the trademarks in the so-called Cascadian scene: long atmospheric passages, chants that endeavor to connect us to a higher plane, feedbacks here and there, and then the all-comprising nature signaled through majestic blast beats enshrouding and somehow reconnecting our being to it. The third track "Impermanence" is a perfect example of this approach. What separates this album from many other Cascadian black metal releases is, in musical terms, the use of something more similar to a hardcore rant than a black metal scream. As for the content, the album title "Terma" refers to a Buddhist concept that defines some "precious teachings" allegedly hidden by enlightened people or deities in the past around the world. This album may be viewed a search for those mystical treasures through nature, as the first lines in "Dissolution" tell us: "Listen to the stones, listen to the cold, listen to the ground, they have secrets to tell you".
The package also provides a detailed description of the term, concluding that "They are everywhere", and encouraging us to set forth and look for them. The Buddhist background even emerges a couple of times in the music, and this contributes in giving Sadhaka a more personal air. The fourth track "Ancient Ones" (previously released online as a separate track in 2012) is conceptually a little out of context when compared to the other three, but works really well as a closure.
I believe Pest Productions found a very interesting band here, that might have something to say in the crowded Cascadian scene in the future as well. This album is highly recommended to fans of the genre, and possibly to those who would like to try approaching it.