Genre: Technical Thrash Metal
Label: Cruz Del Sur
Sacral Rage is one of the most promising Greek bands, simply because with the EP “Deadly Bits of Iron Fragments” and their debut “Illusions in Infinite Void” they managed to approach and combine genres that were forgotten and thought of as passe, like technical progressive thrash and also technical traditional metal, and they did it very well. The new record Beyond Celestial Echoes for sure takes the band a step further as far as the evolution of their sound goes.
And what a step, explosion to space. The cover, the titles and the seemingly cryptic lyrics remain in the realm of a fantasy world, somewhere in time and in the universe. There they definitely belong in the same team as Voivod and Vektor creating similar otherworldly atmosphere with the bleakness and the feeling of void that unavoidably anything referring to the vastness of the universe bears, listen to the intro of “Necropia” for example. The record’s trademarks are the high pitched vocals and the general usage of vocal layers as in King Diamond and the extraordinary guitar work. Kicking riffs, leads and solos, a very much informative and welcoming intro, indicative as to what kind of atmosphere the record has and a marvellous interlude that bring in mind – who else – King Diamond (“Funeral” from Abigail and “Insanity” from The Eye for example). I didn’t mention the drums, not because they are not flawlessly performed making the many tempo changes flow normally, but because they are so smartly played that even though they are high on the mix, they do not steal the show on a record that is clearly based on string instruments.
Sacral Rage have a somehow old school approach to the music they serve, they are not afraid to dive in old heavy metal fields with over the top high vocals as in Crimson Glory, Agent Steel or Helstar in combination with the stretched, twin and repeated guitar parts with a lot of tempo changes as in Watchtower and Toxik, while they managed to create an almost 15-minute long epic that closes the record including whatever they had to offer so far in a crescendo of creativity and exposition of the musical and compositional level the band has achieved. Having said all that, I have to add as a counterweight that the record is overambitious, it attempts to move into space trails that only huge bands have managed and for sure Sacral Rage deserve praise for that. The more I listen to the album, the more I believe they won that bet. It is understandable if this record seems somehow artificial, as it did to me in the first few times I listened to it, but with time I got to like it more and I believe it is one of the most interesting records of the year, mostly for its unique approach and its positive megalomania, and for sure gives hope for the future of the band.