Released: 2009, CFTN Distribution / Supersounds Music
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Time really flies... Uh, just tell me about it. I cannot quite believe that it´s been 5 years since the semi-legendary (to say at least) Finnish old school death metal warriors, Sacred Crucifix, got their debut album released. The band was formed back in 1988 already (under the Criminal Assault moniker at that time) and their debut full-length, AEON OF CHAOS, was put out 16 years after their formation. Can you believe that? Well, in fact they did have a couple of short breaks in between, but still...
SHALLOW GRAVE, Sacred Crucifix´s follow-up album, pretty much follows the same deep footprint that they left on their debut album, AEON OF CHAOS, bringing forth a load of murky, savage and dark death metal - the one and only Sacred Crucifix way, in fact. A good thing about Sacred Crucifix is that they have always managed to stay loyal to their true roots over the past years, raising their middle finger to progression and kinda honoring regression, i.e. being completely pleased with sticking to their old, original guns. That´s what SHALLOW GRAVE is also all about, too: Sticking to the old guns more than anything else really.
In cold reality, an unfortunate thing is that SHALLOW GRAVE isn´t their debut album. I mean, it isn´t about any of those nostalgic, tiny moments when they churned some of their most classic songs out by a burning and young passion back in the day, trying to impress the hell out of all of us. AEON OF CHAOS was in that very privileged position to showcase all those classic Sacred Crucifix songs to us - including some of those most evergreen S.C. killing hymns like "To Wallachia (Vlad Dracul)" and "Requiem" as the re-worked versions. You see, debuts are - most often, the best works of many bands, reeking of the true classic of the classics. It´s an unchanged fact also that the band´s debut album, AEON OF CHAOS, will probably always remain as their best work because of those most biggest classic numbers in it.
SHALLOW GRAVE, as reported previously, consists of 9 new songs altogether of dark-spirited, loyal-to-the-roots type of old school death metal that can be considered a continuation of their previous album A.O.C. musically – but without all of those mandatory classic songs of the band. The band grinds their songs down with heavy hands – and I find it pretty strange how such a track as “The Long Walk” actually sounds very similar to the slowly killing texture of Death´s SPIRITUAL HEALING album. However, one of the better tunes out from SHALLOW GRAVE, is a kinda diverse sounding “Sectarian”, in which Jesus lovers are cursed into the deepest pits of ´that warm place´ lyrically. “The House” is another catchy and relatively varied song that will obviously appeal many of you with its twisted and evil riffs, Miku´s demonic vocals and all the heaviness in it. The same words could be used for “Access Denied” that truly glows of all things darkness and evil. What a tiny, twisted fucker of a song it undeniably is – much like the album´s closer tune “You Follow the Zombie”, crushing its listeners with sheer heaviness in it.
SHALLOW GRAVE is incontrovertibly a great follow-up album from the Sacred Crucifix camp, bringing back the flesh around the bones of old school death metal again, in a respectably fine way. It´s recommended for all of you to check it out if dark and old school death has always gotten your instant approval in your books of respect and admiration.