Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Sacredfice - Sacredfice
   
Musical Style: Metal/Thrash Produced By:
Record Label: Independent Country Of Origin: Italy
Year Released: 2013 Artist Website: Sacredfice
Tracks: 8 Rating: 75%
Running Time:
Sacredfice - Sacredfice

I like to think of Sacredfice as a “crossover metal thrash band”, which translates into a cross between traditional and straightforward heavy metal and old school thrash.  Many of you will recognize the name Francesco Romeggini, guitarist of the Monsummano Terme, Italy based progressive rock group S91 that received a favorable Angelic Warlord review of its 2011 full-length debut Volanta Legata.  Sacredfice is the new ‘one man band’ project of Romeggini, who goes the same route as the first Theocracy album, early ReinXeed and Babylon Mystery Orchestra by handling all aspects of the writing and recording process in addition to all instrumentation and lead vocals.

I have always found it difficult to identity with the thrash genre, with the main reason being it more often than not gravitates towards a bunch of big, furry, Neanderthal guy’s chain sawing their instruments in unison with a battery acid and barbwire gargling lead vocalist.  The impression left is heavy handed and repetitious and ultimately serves to go over my head. There are exceptions of course, with the few that come to mind being bands that take a thrash foundation and branch out therein: Deliverance (a joining of thrash riffs and high end vocals) comes to mind as does Temple Of Blood, Boarders and Chained (former two melding thrash with classic metal and latter trending towards a groove based thrash sound).  The multifarious abilities of Sacredfice deserve to join their ranks.

Yes, the Sacredfice November of 2013 self-titled debut leaves little doubt as to its thrash influences.  It starts with opener “Screen Of Anguish”, an ominous and churning mauler with the full force impetus to match, but also includes “Promised Land”, darker and trenchant in highlighting occasional doom-like moments.  Close listen to both, however, reveals every bit as much a traditional metal role (the two remind of technical based Barren Cross pieces “Living Dead” and “2000 Years” in this capacity).  Speed metal romp “You Could Never Pay”, that finds Boarders vocalist Egidio Casati making a guest appearance, lights it up equally with its all out verve and catchy proclivity.

Where Sacredfice shines is on its trio of 8 to 9 minute epics, in which Romeggini draws upon his extensive progressive background.  “Atomic Twilight” is the heaviest of the three, bludgeoning with seismic riffs and plundering bass lines to establish as no-nonsense a setting as you will find (Deliverance’s classic “Flesh & Blood” comes to mind as a result).  “Dark Queen” represents the most melodic, almost ballad-like with its scintillating guitar harmonies and regal and stately bearing throughout.  Best might be “Crucified” as gently done emotional overtures trade off with stauncher guitar driven moments to establish a dramatic setting in line with the subject at hand.

Of equal note is the Sacredfice musicianship, with the artist routinely cutting loose with instrumental passages in the two-minute range (or longer) that highlight his varied lead guitar work.  Flashy and blazing would be the best way to describe his soloing on “Screen Of Anguish” and “Atomic Twilight”, while “Dark Queen” reflects a technical side to his playing.  Shorter instrumental pieces “Endless Dawn” and “Sea Beyond The Fog” delicately combine acoustic guitar and melodic guitar harmonies.  But it is not all guitar in that his bass work shines as well, reflecting an intricate progressive basis in similar fashion as Jim LaVerde (Barren Cross) and Gary Mann (Barnabas).

One of the drawbacks to ‘one-man-band’ projects is that they potentially spread an artist too thin.  In other words, it is not always possible for a single musician to do all things equally well.  Consider, for instance, how the Theocracy debut featured programmed drums.  Sacredfice is not without a few blemishes in this regard either.

It starts with production, which while solid for an independent release, gives rise to a slight element of rawness.  The overall feel is a touch of polish would prove the missing ingredient.  Vocals, at the same time, end up placed a bit low in the mix.

Speaking of which, Romeggini does a good job vocally with a style running the gamut from guttural and lower-register (such as on “Atomic Twilight”) to more melodic based (“Dark Queen”).  While perfectly aligned with the musical leanings at hand, he also lacks somewhat in the power and overall range departments.  Noting that Sacredfice represents the work of a single artist and credit deserves to be given accordingly, bringing in an outside vocalist might be the best route for taking the project to the next level (sort of like how JD Evans handles all instrumentation in Letter 7 while recruiting a local professional to handle vocals).

Lyrics leave little doubt that Sacredfice is a Christian project (noting the track “Crucified’).  That said, the artist also touches upon current events (the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on “Atomic Twilight”) and social issues (the need for accountability as it pertains to television on “Screen of Anguish”).

Sacredfice represents thrash and a whole lot more.  Therein lies the projects strength in that the listener gets a ‘best of both worlds’ scenario: Drawing up the raw power and aggression of thrash while melding the guitar based leanings of traditional metal and intricacies inherit to progressive metal.  If into previously referenced acts such as Deliverance, Boarders, Temple Of Blood, Chained and Barren Cross then Sacredfice comes with a strong recommendation.

Track By Track

“Screen Of Anguish” hits as hard as it gets.  A minute long instrumental stretch carried by bulldozing guitars opens things, the heavy set mentality upheld as the song slams through its lumbering verses and (if only slightly) lighter touch to its incisive chorus.  Things return to an instrumental direction over the final two minutes as blistering lead guitar takes control.  Lyric snippet:

I am the TV and I’m the root of all your fears
I want to spread a wrong way of thinking
Recession, violence
Look at the screen and fill your brain of this

I just want to drag you into the cage of apathy
I just want to trap your mind into my maze
Filling you with anguish, filling you with lies
Making you believe there is no hope in this life

“Dark Queen”, first of the three epics, comes across in the form of a hybrid of thrash, progressive and classic metal.  The song yields its variances, including quieter moments flowing to gently done guitars (and establishing a dramatic setting in the process) and others in which guitars kick to the front of the mix (picking up the pace but not backing from the histrionics at hand).  Of note is the subtle but distinguishable melody, helping to sustain a fresh listenable experience despite the length.  Technical lead guitar work carries the lengthy instrumental section closing things out.  Lyric snippet:

Her shadow always followed me
She didn't let me sleep
Being afraid of the day
When she’ll touch me with her hand
The dread of every man
Since the day we’re born, we’re closer to death
So I surrendered, I closed my eyes, and crying
I called for God

Take my hand and hear me
There's another way to live your days
Everything is meant to die and to be reborn
This is your fate

“Atomic Twilight” represents one of the albums more thrash heavy, albeit not to the point of repetition.  A good percentage of the songs eight minute length is instrumental, including the two and a half minute opening running the gamut from drum and bass solos to distorted guitars and the final several carried by tight guitar harmonies and razor edged soloing.  In-between you will encounter throbbing bass, powering double bass and complex riffing throughout.  Yes, as no-nonsense a piece as it gets but listenable all the same.  Lyric snippet:

Leave this town its hell
Destroy the power plant
The terror spreads all around
No way to wake up
From this real nightmare

It’s not a war you can’t see your enemy
He’s hidden in the air you breathe
No way to fight him, he’s invisible
No time to say your prayers

Call it progress
Think you’re God
Playing with nature and destroying all you have

“Crucified”, epic number two, starts at a near speed metal romp, its instrumental introduction a wild ride of thrash heavy riffs and sledgehammer drumming.  The bottom, however, drops out after two minutes as things slow to a near crawl with gently done guitars carrying the more reserved feel of the first four verses.  A poignant setting establishes itself in line with the subject at hand (with corresponding melody of a distinct nature).  After five minutes the storm of guitars return, powering through the final emotional verses (with more big bass lines in tow) and closing trademark Sacredfice instrumental stretch with additional intricate lead guitar and harmonies.  Lyric snippet:

He came to show us the real life
Healing the sick ones and training this world
Bringing peace salvation through his word

Then His blood showed their pride
They cruelly whipped him and chained his arms
The truth they told should not be denied
Their power was too precious to be lost
He left the heaven to be crucified

Forgive our sins forgive our madness
Free us from sin save us from ourselves
Oh Lord

The albums most accessible is “You Could Never Pay”.  The song proves a four-minute speed metal romp, bursting of high-energy riffs and non-stop heavy set drumming but not overlooking needed hooks in the process.  Egidio Casati stands out with his trademark gritty and raspy vocal style (put this one on either of Boarders albums and it would sound right at home).  Lyric snippet:

Wasted my life through selfishness
Killing my soul for money
Now I deserve to die crucified
That’s what I’ve really gained
No satisfaction no happiness
I filled my heart with trash
Facing the death I can see how I’m lost
Please God remember me

Whatever you did
Whatever you were
If you repent I give you my hand
No matter your past days
I paid the price you could never pay

“Promised Land” represents a mauler.  Powering its length to chugging riffs, the song approaches the doom-like with its hulking and gut wrenching proclivities.  Interesting, polished backing vocals step forward to lighten the stalwart chorus.  The artist reveals a bluesy side to his soloing throughout the extended instrumental run.  I am somewhat reminded of Deliverance’s classic “Awake” (off the self-titled debut).  Lyric snippet:

Since I found it
I live its mystery
Shining into nothingness
Its power is endless

Its breath heals me
Leads me through the unknown
Made of sound made of dreams
God's gift to mankind

Review by Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: “Screen Of Anguish” (6:03), “Dark Queen” (9:03), “Atomic Twilight” (7:46), “Endless Dawn” (1:46), “Crucified” (9:12), “You Could Never Pay” (4:12), “Promised Land” (6:07), “Sea Beyond The Fog” (2:27)

Musicians
Francesco Romeggini - Lead Vocals, Guitars, , Bass & Drums

Additional Musicians
Egidio Casati - Lead Vocals

 

Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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