Sacred Steel [Germany]
The Bloodshed Summoning
Cruz Del Sur Music
Among all the variants of power metal, bands out of Germany seem to have the biggest pull especially with the heavy thrash influences that bands from the country seem to have, resulting in power metal that is ballsy and aggressive as hell compared to other flower metal bands. Sacred Steel releases The Bloodshed Summoning this year, their eighth full length release in their long 16-year career, under Cruz Del Sur Music which boasts outstanding bands such as Pharaoh and Argus in their roster.
Aggressive riffing hits the listener in the face right from the beginning with Storm of Fire 1916, and it is on here that the thrash influences are the most clearly shown, especially with the barking style of vocal delivery that Gerrit utilises right at the beginning bearing a strong resemblance to Mille Petrozza, and one is instantly reminded of their compatriots Kreator with their recent melodic material, and this is indeed a strong track to introduce the band to someone who hasn’t heard of Sacred Steel before as the rest of the track continues rather strongly, as even on the clean vocal sections Gerrit proves his prowess. As the album progresses one is treated to his ability to turn to different styles to suit the various musical style as well, displaying his versatility, from that light, high pitched singing to the growls on tracks like The Darkness of Angels. The riffs of guitarists Jens and Jonas hit the listener with razor sharp precision, and drummer Mathias’ double bass-pedalled attack helps to add to the overall impact of the music.
But with a strong beginning as this it makes it rather hard for the band to follow up. Fortunately for the most part the band manages to retain the energy that they have portrayed at the beginning, as hard hitting riffs after riff provide a nice aural onslaught, with songs like No God/No Religion providing an additional blasphemous theme on top of that thrashy edge. Yet not everything is just thrashy power metal as the band also indulges in some rather cheesy moments, with songs like When the Siren Calls marking the start of the more melodic side of Sacred Steel‘s songwriting, with the band even bringing in some slight Maiden/Priest sounds, and it is this balance of aggression and melody that makes The Bloodshed Summoning an extremely enjoyable listen, one that is at the same time in-your-face yet catchy ensuring that the listener is constantly kept engaged. The ballady intro of the title track The Bloodshed Summoning is perhaps the most cheesy moment on the album, with the clean intro sounding like Mr. Big‘s Just Take My Heart, though they fortunately go back into power/heavy metal territory.
The band surprises the listener on The Bloodshed Summoning as well, closing the album with an excellent rendition of Misfit‘s Dig up Her Bones and Gerrit even has a slight Glen Danzig resemblance in the way he delivers the lyrics, giving it a somewhat different vibe from the original track with Michael Graves, though the energy is still undeniably retained on the cover. Suffice to say, Sacred Steel‘s years of history have certainly shown on The Bloodshed Summoning, with each of the tracks on the album being extremely powerful and memorable.