SACRED OATH - DARKNESS VISIBLE - SENTINEL STEEL
This Sacred Oath is the same Sacred Oath that issued a full-length album in the late '80s. As fascinating as the stable line-up, the cover artwork (a toss-up whether that is Axl Rose or Denis Kucinich’s wife) and the sound are what is most marvellous about Darkness Visible is its great music and faithfulness to true heavy metal. Where some bands abandon metal or introduce so-called modern influences into the mix, this quartet has stayed the course and in the process issued a fantastic album.
Influences such as Iron Maiden, Queensrÿche and (oddly enough) Sacred Blade are present, but this is a band intent on forging its own metal upon the anvil of power, soaring vocals, action-packed leads and catchy hooks. Rob Thorne has a good voice and goes for the higher pitches, but comes just a tad short on the higher octaves. That is just as well; this album is the better for it. A couple of thrashy moments override the weaker slow interludes on a song like Prophecy. Boy, do those guitars take one back to the '80s. Along with the return of Auburn Records’ Wretch and that Icarus Witch EP Darkness Visible is the best piece of pure metal this side of the century. Forget Iron Maiden and Judas Priest’s new records and see darkness at its best. - Ali “The Metallian”
SACRED OATH - ...TILL DEATH DO US PART - ANGELTHORNE
The last Sacred Oath album Darkness Visible was issued in 2007 through Sentinel Steel and was quite an impressive ride through traditional and pure roads. That album was such a success that it is a surprise how the live album at hand has appeared independently through singer and guitarist Rob Thorne’s own imprint. Or perhaps that is why the release is being handled in-house?
By now, many readers know that my inclination for live albums currently is unfavourable. These releases are often fillers, contractual obligations and have little reason to exist in the era of inexpensive videos. Having said that, as far as live albums go, ...Till Death Do Us Part (Live In Germany) is a good album for two reasons. Firstly, Sacred Oath has great metal that is true to its roots while being qualitatively impressive. The band plays a cool mixture of melodic heavy metal, power metal and thrashy cuts (The Omen) with style. Amazingly, Thorne’s upper range is intact. Secondly, the sound and performance are above average. The packaging beats the standard record company issue and even features enhanced material. Bottom-line: Sacred Oath needs support as a representative of real metal in the age of N Flames, Spoilwank and Keyboardalot. - Ali “The Metallian"