Released: 2012, Pitch Black Records
Sacred Blood is another Greek band that has been around for a decade but has been relatively non-productive. It's been four years since the debut and another four years since that. However with the state of the Greek economy it's a miracle that young artists, let alone a Metal band, can make a living. Maybe it's not a surprise that they have found a home on Pitch Black Records.
Despite having a bit of an uninspired name, Sacred Blood are very inspired by the culture of their homeland and that what makes their album ALEXANDROS special. In terms of image and lyrics the band incorporates Greek history and culture into their excellent presentation. This 15-song album will likely keep you entranced as ALEXANDROS is a concept album about, Alexander The Great. Imagine the Iron Maiden song, 'Alexander the Great' times 15. It's pretty awesome and I love concept albums especially ones like this that are fully loaded with epic narration delivered in a booming and majestic voice!
Many of the 15 songs are interludes added to the storyline for audio impact. The aforementioned narration is present but the telling of tales is never at the expense of the Metal. Sacred Blood have composed and recorded a very ambitious piece of art, with many additional sonic components with the introduction of folk instruments. There are several layers to this Epic Power Metal album but it is never fatiguing to follow the story.
Sacred Blood infuse many classical elements into the music, acoustic sounds that have a Greaco-Roman sound as well as classic instrumentation, kettledrums, strings, horns and sound effects. All of these components are ear-candy for the true Metal contained within. The songs range in tempo and intensity as dictated by the mood and tone of the lyrics. For example, the song 'Marching to War' as one might predict is an anthemic, plodding song reminding us of soldiers on the move. My favourite song 'Ride Through The Achaemenid Empire' is a galloping, thunderous song that opens with a classic, long Metal scream by Focaeus. I also really liked the big gang vocals on 'Macedonian Force' combined with it's catchy chorus replete with some horns. There are lots of nice solos but never too flashy, they fit in with the songs instead of being total center-pieces. There is plenty of appealing sing-along parts to the album as well with infectious riffs like on the intro to the track 'Death Behind The Walls' with a great opening riff.
ALEXANDROS is a very atmospheric, very interesting album to listen to. Epic in scope and scale but never abandoning the core elements of well-executed classic Metal. This is one of the best concept albums I have heard this year. Alexander the Great (who has the 2335 anniversary of his death commemorated this year) would be proud to know his life story would still be inspiring Metal minstrels to this day.