|Musical Style: Melodic Metal||Produced By: Olli Hipeli|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: Finland|
|Year Released: 2007||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 9||Rating: 85%|
|Running Time: 53:38|
The Christian metal scene in Finland continues to grow in leaps and bounds. If in doubt, then consider all the bands to come out of the region in recent years: Essence Of Sorrow, Mehida, Oratorio, Random Eyes, Venia and Wingdom. Sacrecy is another group worth mentioning. Put together in the summer of 2002 by founding members Panu Siik (lead vocals & guitars), Olli Hipeli (keyboards) and Antti Viitanen (bass), Sacrecy recruited Juho Fabrin (drums) and Heikki Makinen (guitars) prior to recording a two song demo in 2005. Later rounding out its line up when Jesse Riikonen replaced Antii Viitanene on bass, Sacrecy entered the studio in 2006 to begin work on its full length self-titled debut, which it independently release in late 2007.
Melodic metal with power and progressive overtones would be the best way to describe Sacrecy. Fans of the previously referenced Finnish bands are certain to embrace Sacrecy as are those into other Northern European metal acts such as Narnia, Harmony, Majestic Vanguard, Laudamus and Leviticus. If your musical tastes trend towards Rob Rock, Shining Star, Balance Of Power, Dream Quest and Theocracy, then I can see you getting into Sacrecy as well. The key word to keep in mind, nevertheless, is melodic in that Sacrecy delivers its share of catchy hooks. This is best found on up-tempo pieces such as “Devil’s Reign”, “Shadow Of Me” and “The Kiss Of Betrayal”. A more progressive rock/metal direction is taken on “Image Of God”, “The Child Within” and “Masquerade” (these three also stand out with their notable melodies) while “Forgive”, “Hope From Above” and “Anxious Eyes” head in ballad territory.
Lead vocalist Panu Siik brings an even mid-octave vocal style hinting at an occasional touch of grit. The most accurate comparison in terms of style might be Clay Barton (Suspyre), Phil Janzen (Dream Quest) or Johan Falk (Incrave). As a lead guitarist, he contributes several stretches of riveting lead guitar, his adept playing best displayed on “Devil’s Reign” and “Hope From Above”. At this point it must be noted the confidence Sacrecy exhibits in its instrumental sound. “The Child Within”, for instance, features an incredible four minute instrumental section (which, of course, finds Panu cutting loose) while significant portions of “The Kiss Of Betrayal” are instrumental as well. Drummer Juho Fabrin is one of the more talented timekeepers to hit the scene in recent years (think Tony Velazquez of Sacred Warrior fame). To fully appreciate his playing one must give “Forgive” and “The Kiss Of Betrayal” several spins.
Production values are quite solid for a debut release. A crisp rhythm guitar sound amalgamates with a full and heavy low end.
Progressive influenced album opener “Image Of God” takes a steadfast rhythm guitar sound and joins it with a highlighting vestige of keyboards. An anthem-like mid-tempo piece, the song will mesmerize you with its smoothly flowing chorus and melodic but heavy touch that cannot help but bring to mind Mehida and Majestic Vanguard. Creative would be the best way to describe the final half of “Image Of God” as it decelerates to a piano based passage that gives way to a final storm of rhythm guitar. This one is aptly named:
You are an image of me
You’re the moon and I am the sun
All your sins are now gone
For I’m the One
You are an image of God
And the moon has found its sun
Spread the word, the word of God
You’ve seen the One
“Devil’s Reign” moves in the faster and more upbeat direction. The song jumps out of the gate to a rollicking guitar riff before evening out upon procuring its first verse. Gradually building initiative to a forceful rhythm guitar, “Devil’s Reign” explodes with a fury of resolve for a hook driven chorus giving rise to a faith based message:
I look up and see the waves upon me
The bottom of the sea, try to grab the hand of thee
I’m stuck in the pain, the pain that is in vain
Because You are our only way out
Panu adds to the vibrant scene with his fierily played lead work.
Introduced to a drum solo, “Forgive” drives ahead to a near perfect blend of rhythm guitar and bluesy lead guitar. Tapering to a near crawl for its first verse, the song flows in a piano driven manner until the rhythm guitar returns and aligns itself with the stylish scene. “Forgive” transitions back to a piano based direction before the rhythm guitar cuts back in to underscore a short but desperate chorus that comes across in the form of a plea:
Please help me!
Panu contributes a gritty guitar solo to a song ultimately dealing with forgiveness:
Not fully understanding the price
Which was paid by Christ
We choked in your hate, our selfish blood
When man killed his God
Sometimes I feel to cold
I can’t breath
I ain’t worthy of the sacrifice You made
“Hope From Above” fades in to a keyboard solo that abruptly gives way to an up-tempo guitar riff. Slowing again for its first verse, the song drifts ahead to a forward bass line only to pick back up in pace for an intent chorus delivered in stalwart fashion. A rollicking instrumental section is sustained by an amalgamation of double bass and adept lead guitar. “Hope From Above” deals with standing strong during times of trial:
Like the rose of May
I’m with you to the end of days
By the grace of God
I redeemed you with my blood
It’s hope from above
Every storm has an end
And every night brings a new morning.
A piano gracefully carries “Anxious Eyes” over its first three minutes. Abruptly picking up in pace as a crisp rhythm guitar steps forward, the song gently settles back down to a piano for its final minute. This one comes across worshipful both musically and lyrically:
What is behind those anxious eyes?
Feeling that I tried to hide behind
Burning the fire of the Christ
I can’t be glad of this gift until in heaven
Rays of the setting sun are passing by
I see them dancing in your hair
Life’s not fair
All the things there are to say
But not enough words
After three straight tracks on the temperate side of things, I am ready for a driving hard rocker- and that is exactly what we get in “The Shadow Of Me”. Getting underway to several seconds of open air rhythm guitar, the song gradually builds momentum before racing through its first verse as an underlining trace of keyboards touches up the backdrop. Prevailing but catchy would be the best way to describe the hook filled chorus that follows.
“The Child Within” heads in a creative progressive metal direction. The song immediately opens at an upbeat tempo to a driving rhythm guitar only to settle down to an amalgamation of bass and keyboards for its verse portions. Regaining the guitar driven initiative, the song moves on to a resolute chorus standing up under the weight of its anthem-like ardor. An awesome four minute instrumental section runs the gamut of keyboard solos, guitar harmony, double bass, bluesy lead guitar and pull out all the stops lead guitar. Wow!
The keyboards at the start of “The Kiss Of Betray” are soon joined by a pulsating guitar riff. The song proceeds to drive ahead in a dominant manner, gaining further impetus for a quickly flowing chorus underscored by just the right amount of double bass. Sacrecy again displays the strength of its musicianship as “The Kiss Of Betrayal” heads into instrumental territory for its final two and a half minutes. The subject matter here, of course, revolves around the betrayal of Christ:
On this dark part of the night
Full moon is on the sky
The agony is waiting for the Son
Stay awake for me
Garden of mystery
Tonight He knows
He’ll be betrayed
Can’t you stay awake for me
Suppress my agony
The chalice of suffer is on my lips
The traitors walking in
The omen foreseen
“Masquerade”, nine minutes of technical progressive metal, proves an intricate piece offering too many time changes to go into adequate detail- I won’t even begin to describe them all! Seriously, with its stop and start alterations in tempo – some heavy and driving and others reflecting a calmer touch – the song brings a level of depth and creativity certain to appeal to fans of Suspyre, Dream Theater, Darkwater, Neal Morse, Shadow Gallery and others within the progressive rock/metal genres. All the while “Masquerade” delivers an ample amount of melody to keep your full and undivided attention (despite its length). The song portrays a struggling individual who in the ends finds salvation:
A song from a lonely heart
A poem for the fallen ones
Comforting the forlorn
Sing it to me once again
In this world of black and white
Searching for their redeemer
But they have forgotten the cross
Potential is the key word that comes to mind when listening to Sacrecy. All the pieces are in place for the band to become a major player in the burgeoning Christian metal scene: melodic songwriting, adept musicianship and solid production. Good lyrics as well. In the end, what we have here is as fine a debut offering as you will find. I am looking forward to hearing more from these guys in the future- hope they stick around.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Image Of God” (7:45), “Devil’s Reign” (4:19), “Forgive” (5:58), “Hope From Above” (5:16), “Anxious Eyes” (4:39), “The Shadow Of Me” (3:44), “The Child Within” (7:07), “The Kiss Of Betrayal” (5:09), “Masquerade” (9:37)
Panu Siik – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Heikki Makinen – Guitars
Olli Hipeli – Keyboards
Jesse Riikonen – Bass
Juho Fabrin - Drums