Sacrilege – ‘The Court of the Insane’

The Court Of The Insane Cover

Sacrilege – ‘The Court of the Insane’
Pure Underground Records
Release Date: 02/08/2019
Running Time: 55:12
Review by Paul Monkhouse
7/10

It’s arguable that many of the bands that are known and loved in the rock world wouldn’t be here without the advent of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Those were heady days when this new breed of long-haired musicians seemed to pop up from virtually every town and city in the UK, filling the pubs and clubs with a sea of denim and leather scented with patchouli oil. The fact that so many of these bands are still around or have reformed shows that there is such a huge hunger for this much loved genre and that giants like Iron Maiden and Saxon are still packing out venues and playing with as much fire as anyone else on the scene. Not all were as successful as Maiden, but they still put their hearts and souls into it and Sacrilege are one such band. Originally formed in ’82 they enjoyed five good years together before going their separate ways only to reform again, twenty-five years later, in 2012 and have been constantly working since then. “The Court Of The Insane” is their new album and it pushes the clock back to those exhilarating days when the world sat up and listened and the weekly edition of music paper ‘Sounds’ was full of amazing tours and must-buy new albums.

‘Celestial City’ heralds the album with keys and that soon morphs into a guitar intro that captures the fire of the old days and races off with a song very Maiden-like in its scope. It must be said that vocalist/guitarist Bill Beadle doesn’t have the range of Bruce Dickinson but his singing fits perfectly with the band and adds real character to the Sacrilege sound. Second track, ‘Lies’ ups the ante on the drama and the band really take off for the title track of the album, the drums and bass of Neil Turnbull and Jeff Roland respectively being up in the mix, happily displaying the strength of a classic uncluttered three piece. It’s indeed a powerful number with a maelstrom of guitar and maniacal laughter at the end, showing the grasp of both narrative and musical punch.

‘Depression’ rips along like the best of Judas Priest and that theme is continued on ‘No Bequeath’ with its long instrumental passage and metallic edge. It’s not all balls out hard rocking as ‘The Prophet’ shows more light and shade, a much more melodic start giving way to an epic rampaging riff and some great fret burning by Beadle. The band seem to be very much aware of their heritage whilst pushing forward and broadening their ambitions on the album, a definite feeling of both old and new mixed in that will appeal to both the younger and older fans. Whilst the production and dramatic passages do seem at times very much harking back to the early 80’s, perhaps showing that there isn’t a multi-million-pound .budget behind them, this adds to the charm and authenticity of the album and is bound to bring a smile.

‘Unhinged Mind’ has much to enjoy about it and is another epic that sees the band let loose, not constrained by the need to just rush through tracks with indecent haste. ‘I Can Hear the Silence’ turns up the heat once more and is full of British Steel whilst album closer ‘Ride Free’ has lyrical and vocal flashes of The Who whilst having the gnarly heaviness that approaches Motörhead. A very fine way to finish and overall the album is a good reminder for those around at the birth of the NWOBHM and a pointer for a younger generation wanting to explore the thrill of something they missed at the time but is still very much worth supporting today.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Celestial City
02. Lies
03. The Court Of The Insane
04. Bring Out Your Dead
05. Depression
06. No Bequeath
07. The Prophet
08. Unhinged Mind
09. I Can Hear The Silence
10. Ride Free

LINKS:
http://www.sacrilegenwobhm.com
https://www.facebook.com/Sacrilegerock/
https://www.instagram.com/billsacrilege/

 

Bandpic

 

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Praying Mantis – Gravity

Gravity Cover

Praying Mantis – Gravity
Frontiers Music
Running Time: 58:00
Release Date: 11/05/2018
Review by Chris White
5/10

Praying Mantis are, by all accounts (ok, their PR Company’s account), one of the most influential bands from the NWOBHM period! I’m geared up for tight leather trousers, warbling vocals and twin guitar harmonies, colliding with big, thunderous bass riffs.

This record is also featuring a new vocalist and drummer in conjunction with the original members, so it seems that the band have achieved a good level of momentum since their last release in 2015.

In kicks the first song, ‘Keep It Alive’ and all is not going to plan. Heavy layered vocal harmonies guide us into a forgettable verse and an improved chorus that at least has a slightly catchy feel to it. My first impression is that the singer is trying too hard to outperform Graham Bonnet in the ‘louder and higher’ singing repertoire, but at least he sounds like he is having fun.

The second track, ‘Mantis Anthem’, features a retro Bontempi-sounding intro and as things go on, I wonder if this is more AOR than NWOBHM? It sounds a bit desperate as it goes on. Anthems are about waving that lighter in the air at the live gig, but I fear that if you were waving a cigarette lighter in the crowd to this song, you would most likely suffer narcolepsy and accidentally set fire to yourself.

Without wishing to dissect each song individually from here on in, my notes contain phrases such as ‘a bit like a testicle-equipped version of Vixen without the Richard Marx songs’, ‘plods along a bit’ and ‘acoustic guitar with yet more full-on helium fuelled singing’.

Finally, the album finished with the song ‘Final Destination’, complete with a wailed “dessssssteena-shunnnnnnnn” outburst from the vocalist, as if to prove a point. The point was clearly that after 5 minutes 16 seconds, it made me wish I was heading towards my final destination as well.

TRACKLISTING:
01 Keep It Alive
02 Mantis Anthem
03 Time Can Heal
04 39 Years
05 Gravity
06 Ghosts Of The Past
07 Destiny In Motion
08 The Last Summer
09 Foreign Affair
10 Shadow Of Love
11 Final Destination

LINKS:
http://www.prayingmantis.rocks/
https://www.facebook.com/PrayingMantisUKRockMetal/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9mgPe1jTBoyfVZs2wRidsQ

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris White and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Satan – Cruel Magic

 

cruel magic cover

Satan – Cruel Magic
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 07/09/2018
Running Time: 49:42
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

With a debut album released back in 1983, it was only after Satan’s 2011 reunion that the quintet started becoming relatively prolific as a recording band. Truth be told, Satan have been fairly consistent in the quality of their material, a fact complemented by a reputation for impressive live shows. With this “Cruel Magic”, the band notches 5 albums and therein lies the band’s dilemma: how do they retain the style that has gained them fame and admiration while not stagnating?

For a start the band has gone for a rawer, more ‘live’ sound. Regarding this aspiration, I read somewhere that in the recording studio they tried to resist the temptation to make too many takes, even if that meant leaving individual mistakes in the final product. And I have to say that’s certainly the impression I got from listening to the album. Rather than put me off, this approach was a masterstroke – it somehow gives the songs more appeal, makes them feel more genuine, more intuitive.

But the biggest achievement of “Cruel Magic” is that none of the songs feel boring and yet you know that they can only come from Satan. This is all down to the excellence of the songwriting. The riffs and vocals phrasings of ‘Into The Mouth of Eternity’ remind us that Metallica were one of the many bands influenced by Satan. ‘Ophidian’ is destined to be a classic in Satan’s repertoire. Besides having some blistering guitar solos ‘Legions Hellbound’ is notable for the smooth way the songs shifts from/to mellow and heavy parts.

I loved the guitar harmonies of ‘The Doomsday Clock’, a song about impending doom. ‘Ghosts Of Monongah’ is about the West Virginia mining tragedy of 1907 while in ‘Who Among Us’ Satan rise to the defence of Jesus Christ’s messages. You can see that even thematically, “Cruel Magic” is diverse, even though the songs seem to have a common thread of a foreboding doom. Suitably enough, the album ends with ‘Mortality’, a song where Satan play around with atmospheres and guitar sounds with interesting results.

Spot-on drumming, great melodies, inspired guitar solos, excellent songwriting….what more can one hope for? This is an album that I am liking more and more with each listen.

I’m generally hesitant to give full marks ratings but “Cruel Magic” is the archetype of all that is great about Heavy Metal.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Into The Mouth of Eternity
2. Cruel Magic
3. The Doomsday Clock
4. Legions Hellbound
5. Ophidian
6. My Prophetic Soul
7. Death Knell For A King
8. Who Among Us
9. Ghosts Of Monongah
10. Mortality

LINE-UP:
Brian Ross – vocals
Russ Tippins – guitars
Steve Ramsey – guitars
Graeme English – bass
Sean Taylor – drums

LINKS:
http://www.satanmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/officialsatanpage

https://satanuk.bandcamp.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuLTFfi-peM ‘The Doomsday Clock’ (Official Video)

promo pic1

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.