The heavy/power metal scene has always been about great riffs, catchy melodies and a proud warrior-like attitude. Sacred Steel aim to keep that tradition going strong on their ninth full length Heavy Metal Sacrifice. This 47 minute journey has all the necessary ingredients to bring the epic sounds that heavy metal — of the power persuasion — is known for. It has many great moments but at the same time can be inconsistent. Thankfully, even with some misses, this album holds up fairly well.
Throughout the band’s 19 year career (and counting) Sacred Steel has been known for preaching the word of heavy metal. And they portray that perfectly here on the title track. And truthfully, it’s a great way to start off a heavy metal album. The combination of speedy riffs and strong vocals has you racing your fists from the word go. “Hail the Godz of War” may be one of the shorter songs on the album but it delivers the kind of muscular punch we’ve come to expect from this genre. The song that really sticks with me, though, is “Let There Be Steel.” With a runtime of nearly eight minutes, this epic power metal anthem will make you want to find the nearest hill and raise your sword in victory. It may not have the same pulse quickening pace as the previously mentioned tracks but it is the strongest and most anthemic song on the album.
As previously stated, and although there are some great tracks, there are others that miss the mark. They aren’t bad tunes per se, they’re just wildly inconsistent. They’re either wrongly placed or they seem to lose momentum prematurely. “The Sign of the Skull” and “Beyond the Gates of Nineveh” both start with a nice flow but the steam is lost in the chorus sections of each. The problem is, this is where these tracks should accelerate tremendously but instead these two fall flat. An additional problem with the latter track is in the vocal arrangement that seems completely out of place with the music. And then there’s “Iron Donkey” that is…well…interesting. I’m thinking it’s a goof track (there’s burping at the end) but it’s hard to tell with power metal sometimes.
Heavy Metal Sacrifice may not be on any best of lists for 2016, but if you’re a heavy/power metal fan, or can at least tolerate it, this is an album you will enjoy. Sacred Steel has always flown the heavy metal flag high and this album is yet another example of how they do it proudly. Although not perfect, it is quite satisfying. So get on your Iron Donkey and ride!!!