Released: 2003, Self-released
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Woah...! Damn...!! Fuckin´ INSANE!!! Time for some evil old-school Thrash/Death Metal in the vein of Death (ála LEPROSY), Morgoth (the RESURRECTION ABSURD –demo days especially!!), Sepultura (the SCHIZOPHERENIA -days!) and Infernäl Mäjesty – and, even haunted by faint ghosts of Possessed and a couple of other names that unfortunately just escaped from my lips... Sacred Crucifix, those semi-legendary Finnish cult ´deathrashers´ from the north of Finland, Oulu (originally from Kuusamo) have made their 2nd reunion. I’m running around in great joy without caring in the slightest about tomorrow!! This is almost too good to be true...
For those who haven´t heard of these legendary and innovative Finnish metallers before, the band got started back in 1987 already a relatively cheesy “Criminal Assault” moniker, but the name was soon changed to Sacred Crucifix. They never got any albums out due to some unfortunate bad luck when they were still around from the end of the ´80s to the mid ´90s - and churned out their evil and dark ´deathrash´ metal with an unbreakable conviction and definitely unyieldingly until the album was put in ice by the guys themselves for an unknown period of time. I honestly thought that was it. They would never come back again... but how wrong I was again (as usual).
The former member and brainchild of Sacred Crucifix, Miku Mertanen never thought it was all over for them, and determinedly decided to reanimate the old pissed-off corpse back to life one more tim. This is the shit; for the old-timer Death/Thrash metallers this could well be a kind of heaven. However, as this promo isn´t meant for sale to the wider public, it will remain the privilege and joy of only a few lucky bastards.
“Aeon of Chaos” is kicked off furiously with a sort of “Pentagram” (Possessed)-type of short opening intro. Musically, the band combines shamelessly mostly Chuck Schuldiner–ish wicked riffs with some totally evil atmospheres that were kind of trademark symbols for bands like old Sepultura and Possessed back in the day. “Aeon of Chaos” is Sacred Crucifix definitely at its very best--twisted, hungry, brutal and absolutely obeying the truest tradition for the one and only kind of old-school Death Metal (with some frency Thrash Metal –overtones!). What a true kick-ass song for an opener!! More like this in the future!!
“Three Times the 12th Letter” is the slowest and definitely heaviest number on the promo with only one sort of ´a fast part´. The guys call it as their ´Morbid Angel´ song, but for some reason or the other I failed to see the connection to any Morbid Angel stuff. For my unyielding ears they sound more like a cross between old Demigod (the riffs!) and Infernal Majesty (Miku´s vocals have a somewhat strong Chris Bailey vibe). There´s not much happening in the song and a lack of any kind of guitar solos may surprise you a bit. That´s what happened to me anyway. All in all, a good Sacred Crucifix tune, but not that perfect for achieving its place in my own ´Hall of Fame´ as far as the alsolutely ultimate S.C. stuff as a whole is concerned.
“Still Here” cuts this cake next, turning out as a mid-tempo song most of the time, and has again some totally wicked and catchy riffages present almost the same way with the opening song, “Aeon of Chaos”. The crushingly great riffs and drum work are there as always, but for some odd reason even this song is lacking in the solo department? The song is only 3-minutes long, so maybe it wasn´t that appropriate for the guys to drag even the shortest existing solo into the song that could have fit somewhere in there? On the other hand, a couple of even short solos here and there obviously wouldn´t hurt them; or is it only me who´s whining now? Whatever the reason might be for this ´half-nakedness´ hereabouts, “Still Here” is still worthy of both my deepest gratitude and sympathies for achieving the essential ´old-school´ spirit in the late half of the ´80s Thrash/Death department. This song´s gotta be one of the greatest songs Sacred Crucifix has ever penned down – at least in my opinion.
“The Painhour” sows the seeds of an evil-sounding old-school ´Deathrash´ everywhere again, kind of leaving nothing half-way in order to convince a listener of the band´s long-lasting devotion to the´80s extreme sounds of brilliance. It´s like ”The Painhour” as a single ´deathrashing´ song has been made only for one purpose from my point of view--to crush, kill and murder mercilessly all the wimps and posers and carry the flag of the ancient hate to the final victory. And o´ holy crushed skulls of the weakest ones, this victory will be theirs in the name of the glorious ´80s spirit if that particular genre of metal is anything to go by for some of you. Damn, I´m even quite surprised myself a bit how I´m enjoying hyping them so much, heh!
And now my dear Lord of all Fires and Plagues... let me state the following: I absolutely am just very glad they have returned back to the Finnish metal scene again, so no one can blame us Finnish metal freaks for having only dozens of poor C.o.B,- Sentenced,- H.I.M.-, etc. clones any longer; not that determinedly and maliciously as before so to speak. Now may the mighty Sacred Crucifix -legions be hunted by all reliable labels as a next thinkable move (*wink*) – and only reliable labels will be served by a very gifted, hard-working and honest band that without a question seems to be passionate enough to stay loyal to their well-recognizable sound ´til the end of the world. Sacred Crucifix will be slaying the brave new world by their ancient old-school Deathrash´ish sound and there´s no fuckin´ way you can avoid it.