SACRED STEEL – Heavy Metal Sacrifice
Celebrating their twenty-year anniversary as a band, German act Sacred Steel live for the true/traditional metal cause since the very beginning of their career together in 1996. Hoisting shields and swords to the sky, "Heavy Metal Sacrifice" is another record to champion if you desire anthems that keep things as real as possible for the genre. Names like Manowar, Savage Grace, Cirith Ungol, and Iron Maiden certainly come up throughout in terms of the attitude, songwriting, and performance chops – making for a highly entertaining and dynamic aural odyssey.
"Hail the Godz of War" for instance has a speedy back and forth riff combination which harkens back to the early Steel Prophet years, those high guitar melodies that assuredly keep the tribal tempo transitions chugging along. At other times guitarists Jens Sonnenberg and Jonas Khalil set things up with doom riffs and then transform the parts into epic marches, as if Candlemass were meeting the NWOBHM for the first time. The quintet mixes up shorter songs such as "The Dead Walk the Earth" and the title cut with longer arrangements that give more flexibility in terms of instrumental sections, as "Let There Be Steel" for its 7:29 goes from everything like Metallica speed fury into a more triumphant-oriented chorus and a slow, bluesy lead break where Gerrit P. Mutz uses a lot of his lower, ominous delivery for a change of pace.
Let’s be honest – Gerrit has an acquired taste range that puts him in the warble category – he’s not going to remind you of Halford, Dio, or Dickinson that’s for sure. The closing 40 second "Iron Donkey" could be an ode to his unique screams or fast banter, but overall the man has learned through the years where his comfort zone is (mid-range) and exploited this for all its worth. Tack on the skull-oriented cover and you have the makings of another strong Sacred Steel album.