Sacred Steel is one many great bands that never fully broke out from the power metal scene to the lofty levels of many of their peers. I’ve always found that a bit odd as they’ve always offered something different from the typical (albeit, often amazing) sounds of Germanic power metal with a much darker, varied, and heavier style. As well, the level of musicianship in the band, despite member changes, has always been high. Such is the case with the band’s 2009 release CARNAGE VICTORY.
Perhaps what sets this band apart may be a part of why they have remained on the fringe. Often when a band gets big, labels sign a few similar bands in hopes that more of the same will sell…and in many cases, although people complain about cookie cutter bands and the standard paint by numbers approach, they don’t always put their money where their mouths are. Perhaps Sacred Steel is too heavy for the typical power metal fan yet those into extreme metal don’t like them because they are hung up on the vocals. The vocals of Gerrit Mutz likely provide the key to the band’s reduced appeal since his unique yet wavering yet multi-faceted voice is somewhat of an acquired taste.
CARNAGE VICTORY is the band\’s 7th studio album and continues on in the style that the band has forged for well over a decade. From the opening drum roll barrage and pummelling kicks the pace is set for some mighty metal. When the vocals start you are immediately treated to a few distinctive voices from a gravelly Grave Digger, to a weaker falsetto scream, to a thicker mid ranged King Diamond. There’s even a few death gurgles here and there, especially noticeable before the guitar solo in the song. The King Diamond-isms are even more noticeable on their Mercyful Fate tribute song “Don’t Break The Oath”. Delicious blasphemy begins on the glorious track “Broken Rites” that I’m sure King Diamond would approve of as it’s the sad story of how all around the world many Catholic Priests continually rape little boys. One of the more amusing lines is – “holy Mary, holy priest, holy anus, holy beast, holy your anointed prick, smeared with virgin shit.” etc..
The anti-Xian (perhaps a somewhat pro-Satan?) theme continues on songs like “Ceremonial Magician of the Left Hand Path” and “Crosses Stained with Blood”. The acoustic guitar intro “Shadows of Reprisal” even manages to maintain a dark and demented flavour before more anti-religion oozes from “Denial of Judas (Heaven Betrayed)”. Lines like “god is the anvil on which my hammer falls” make this bluntly clear. One of the last songs of the album “Metal Underground” is fitting as most “true” or at least many Germanic power/speed bands have to have a Manowar metal anthem like this. This should have been the album closer as “By Vengeance and Hatred We Ride” was a bit too much for me with the death metal vocals.
For anyone looking for some evil and heavy aggressive power metal, Sacred Steel are definitely worth a listen. Recommended for fans of heavy power/speed metal and bands like: Steel Attack, Primal Fear, Accept, Gamma Ray, Agent Steel, Jag Panzer, Metalium, Mystic Prophecy, etc.
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