Sacred Oath – Thunder Underground: Live From NYC

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Band: Sacred Oath
Title: Thunder Underground-Live From NYC
Label: Indie
Released: 2019
Reviewed: July, 2019
Reviewer: JP
Rating: 3.5/5

As the years go on and tastes change, bands like Sacred Oath are becoming much less common.  Once, (in the 80’s primarily) dozens, maybe even hundreds of US Power Metal bands stormed across the world with varying degrees of success. Now 30 plus years later we are down to a handful of survivors of the classic Maiden/Priest inspired sound.  Sacred Oath was not one of he bands that I would have predicted to survive, but I am glad I am wrong about that.  After the one classic album in the 80’s, A CRYSTAL VISION, they disappeared for almost two decades.  I still own my cassette copy of the debut!  Then almost 20 years later the band resurfaced driven by founder Rob Thorne and his own label, Angelthorne and the band has been consistently churning out high quality US Power Metal ever since.

What is a factor that has ensured the longer-term longevity of Sacred Oath? Good distribution with Universal Music.   I can still find Sacred Oath CD’s in my local record store, where bands that I would consider comparable, such as Jag Panzer, Omen, Axe Hammer, Savage Master etc I almost never see their records/CD’s I stores.  Over time, as fans loose track of these bands and can’t easily find their albums in stores.

The band have just released their 2ndlive album and 11threlease overall. THUNDER UNDERGROUND LIVE IN NYC was recorded on January 5thon the last night of the Twelve Bells tour. Unfortunately, that is all the info was provided and because I’m reviewing a digital copy (Record labels virtually never send hard copies anymore) I can’t provide any more info about the album, like where they played etc.  For what it is worth, I really like the picture-montage style of album cover where every member gets a photo and equable billing on the cover.

The short, 63-minute album is pretty fierce and fun.  It has been a decade since their last live album (recorded in Germany) and five studio albums in between as well, so that means thankfully there is virtually no crossover or repeated songs.  They open with a couple from the TWELVE BELLS album and then dip into most of the albums across their career.  The sound is clear but not too crystal clear like some of these sterile live albums that take digital tracks right off the board and add crowd noise later.  This sounds a classic old school live album.   I would have liked a bit more interaction with the crowd, or maybe an extended solo spot, or a cover tune or a medley, but as it stands, the band played it pretty straight for an hour, they might have been opening for a bigger bands and had time restraints.

THUNDER UNDERGROUND captures this veteran band doing what they do best, ripping it out live to a handful of loyal fans, bringing the Metal to the masses.

Track listing:

1. New Religion
2. Two Powers
3. Twelve Bells
4. Bloodstorm
5. Meet Your Maker
6. Taken
7. Counting Zeros
8. The Ferryman’s Lair
9. So Cold
10. A Crystal Vision
11. Sandrider


Brendan Kelleher-Bass
Kenny Evans-Drums
Bill Smith-Guitar
Rob Thorne-Vocals, Guitar