Review: “Blood Shall Be Paid” by Sahon

It’s kind of ironic that Seoul, South Korea Death Thrash veterans Sahon have left it six years before returning with their seventh studio album “Blood Shall Be Paid” via American label Brutal Records. They could have left it another 12 months to make it a strange coincidence but given the qualities of 2018’s “Chanting For The Fallen” that would have been hard on their devout followers. Having made their name with themes of politics, death, hate, satanism and sex over razor sharp riffs a plenty for the past twenty five years, the line up that gave us that last record is the one that returns for this, guitarist Chang Myeong Lee and drummer Kyoung Hong Kim joining mastermind, bassist, vocalist and last original member standing Yong Ho Lee…

The seventh of the unholy trinity’s deadly sins begins with the title track “Blood Shall Be Paid“, a soul stirring melody refusing to be interrupted by the sound of air raid sirens before the trio put the pedal to the Metal. A blitzkrieg of pulverising percussive battery delivered at breakneck speed, Sahon go straight for the jugular, making no apologies for their full throttle old school attack. What’s interesting about it is that sonically the record is pure, unadulterated Thrash played fast and loose as if live in the studio, however the vocals are more in line with Death Metal which brings obvious comparisons to a stripped down Slayer if they were fronted by Max Cavalera. Discarding the need for melody “Bursting Out” then hits like a brick to the skull, a flying solo a moment of face melting heat during the brutal rhythmic onslaught. Yong Ho Lee roars and shrieks like a banshee as he delivers the vocals as if an unhinged man possessed by a demon from beyond the grave before the Blackened Speed Metal of “F. Oxy” gives bands like Sadistic Force a run for their money. Another lethal dose of Korean hatred, this one is as old school as they come, a restless and relentless three and a half minutes that threatens to pop the eyeballs. If that wasn’t enough to get excited about the scorching “Liberty” ensures the record doesn’t go soft with some World Music meandering. Instead the band pour kerosine on the wildfires they have ignited to increase the intensity and give us total annihilation. Demonic and driven but without the harshness of Death Metal, the track feels like a prison yard punch up between feuding rivals who have had nothing to do but bait each other for months on end. The venom is real and Sahon would sooner snap your neck than offer you a light for you cigarette.

The raw guitar sound is the perfect foil for the vocal performance on “Obscene“, a vicious cut with a sinister edge that gets faster and harder as it plays out. It sounds like it belongs on a hammer horror film score about domestic battery before “The End” induces post traumatic stress syndrome with its helter skelter riffs. Crunchy and satisfying in their destructive power, each one of these tunes will help you breathe more easily, the trio regularly threatening to break into Death Metal or Traditional Heavy Metal without ever doing so. “Professional” is fine example of that and has both a main riff and a classic solo that would work well in the more melodic genre without sounding out of place here. Don’t expect clean singing from Yong Ho Lee though, he’s the kind of Leppard that doesn’t change his spots even if his bark is worse than his bite. There are flavours of Motorhead in cuts like “Total Aggression“, the band having that swagger that is the essence of cuts like “Ace Of Spades” within them in terms of their performance. The vocals on this one are downright ugly and when the savage fury of the riff onslaught  explodes into a fast and frenetic solo that surges through the veins like a shot of adrenaline, it makes for the records standout track. The steadfast refusal of Sahon to back down in their relentless barrages means that “You Are The Next” delivers the kind of bone crushing riffs that incite mosh pit violence. A scorching solo is not only expected but demanded and Chang Myeong Lee obliges with one of the albums finest in a display of savage fury that delights like a low budget horror flick [7.5/10]

Track Listing

1. Blood Shall Be Paid
2. Burst Out
3. F. Oxy
4. Liberty
5. Obscene
6. The End
7. Professional
8. Total Aggression
9. You Are The Next

Blood Shall Be Paid” by Sahon is out 8th March 2024 via Brutal Records with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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