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Sacral Rage - Beyond Celestial Echoes Award winner

Sacral Rage
Beyond Celestial Echoes
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 22 October 2018, 6:48 AM

Hailing from Athens, Greece, SACRAL RAGE’s second full length album, “Beyond Celestial Echoes,” is a ripper of an album, encompassing everything great about the hey day of 80’s metal and the drive of a band that is well on its way to becoming legend themselves. Musically, the band plays Speed/Thrash Metal, with Power Metal as well, that immediately echoes MERCYFUL FATE and early ANNIHILATORAGENT STEEL and even FATES WARNING are some other influences and styles that I hear.  Throw in some HELSTAR, WATCHOWER, and perhaps even some VIO-LENCE and you have a taste of what this band can offer.  The overall package is indeed chock full of different elements but the band plays with such fervor and cohesiveness that the ride never fills forced or bloated.  It is definitely a lot more adventurous than your average thrash album and definitely not as narrowed minded.  Simply put, there is a lot of music here to listen to with plenty of hooks, nooks, and crannies to bring you back for another listen for a long time.

Each song presented can go from break neck speed, to melodic moments, and even to some progressive elements.  No matter what direction the songs go into, there is an energy here that I haven’t heard in some time and it is always full speed ahead. As the cover art would suggest, the album is deeply rooted in a science fiction theme; the spacey intro “Progenitor” really drives this home.  It segues perfectly into the first proper track, “Eternal Solstice.” The track starts off with soft, celestial background vocals that are ripped open by the sonic piercing of Dimitris' falsetto scream.  This style really does echo KING DIAMOND but he isn’t a copy cat; he shows many facets of vocal ability– lower register vocals and even some menacing growls. Marios quickly settles in with riffs that rip right through the ears with commanding galloping speed.

I really must rain down praise upon Marios because he is the only guitar player on the record.  This guy can, and does, play anything and everything.  It takes a lot of bands needing two guitar players to get this much dynamics out but this guy is a one man riff lord.  Spyros' bass playing is equally as impressive, often times going off the beaten path and taking over the bulk of the rhythm parts.  Although the album’s production is fine, there seems to be some problems with the mixing as his bass guitar struggles to be heard at times.  However, when it comes through, it really commands attention. Vagelis's drums compliment the songs extremely well and a lot of times I found my ears focusing on his style, one that is well rounded with a true sense of what is going on around and knowing what to play and when.

Vaguely Decoded,” has an ominous start with the guitar pulling off simple but spacey sounds while the bass jumps in the background.  This is a very proggy beginning but it never gets too out there, as evident by the speedy thrash attack that follows very quickly.  The song never looses focus in the almost eight minute run time, even though it switches gears many times.  The middle of the song is a bit groovy in the guitars but playful with the bass and hammering with the drums.  The guitar solos that follows is a shred fest but the bass and drums have just as much to say. “Necropia,” is one of the beset tracks on the album—I found it to be a great representation of the album’s sound as it captured those old school thrash moments mingling with progressive and power metal along the way.  It begins with sci fi textures and imagery but ends as an absolute banger.

The centerpiece of the album has to be the last track, the 15 minute “The Glass.”  Without a doubt, it is an opus to everything the band can do.  They really pull out all of the stops with this one and encompass an intensity and focus that shines through the entire time, with the middle more melodic part of the song being a particularly great section; the thrashy aggressive section afterwards is equally as impressive.   It definitely doesn’t feel like such a long track, as all the pieces fit together so well. SACRAL RAGE have really impressed with an album that has so much to offer.  The band clearly has a love for Metal and know their history very well.  If they can keep this up, they can be part of Metal history one day too.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Progenitor
2. Eternal Solstice
3. Vaguely Decoded
4. Suspended Privileges
5.  Samsara (L.C.E.)
6. Necropia
7. Onwards to Nucleus
8. The Glass
Lineup:
Dimitris K – Vocals
Vagelis F – Drums
Spyros S – Bass
Marios P – Guitars
Record Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
     


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