Sacred Steel - Heavy Metal Sacrifice - (7.5/10)
Published on April 6, 2017
19 years in and still going strong, Germany’s Sacred Steel are delivering their ninth studio album Heavy Metal Sacrifice via Cruz del Sur Music and one thing is for sure, most fans will either love or hate them. Ever since their rise from the ashes of progressive metal outfit Tragedy Divine, the Swabians have held the banner of traditional metal up at the end of their arms, powering through the face of adversity for their cliche-soaked metallic imagery. Heavy Metal Sacrifice is no different, bringing the album and song titles with the words “metal” and “steel” to a total of ten each on the ninth album.
Where the previous album The Bloodshed Summoning had seen a more modern touch with some parallels to Seattle’s Nevermore being drawn, Heavy Metal Sacrifice is 80s metal through and through, once more borne by the unique voice of Gerrit Mutz, who is the main reason why metalhood is split about Sacred Steel. His very theatrical voice is the living proof that technical deficiencies can be ironed over by passion and dedication, but also has the side effect of some people hating the guts out of them…
Good parts of Heavy Metal Sacrifice operate in the higher tempos, such as the title track, “Hail the Godz of War”, “Children of the Sky” and “The Dead Walk the Earth”, cliche as can be, but despite that (or maybe just because of that) it works, Mutz’ unique delivery probably also plays its part in this. It’s when things go slower that Sacred Steel seem to have a few issues filling out the songs and keeping them exciting all the way through, because both “The Sign of the Skull” and “Beyond the Gates of Nineveh” clock in at over six minutes and come across as too long or their own good.
That being said, though, the longest song, “Let There Be Steel” falls into both categories, as odd as that may sound. While for over three minutes the song completely strips down to a slow, quiet version of the main song towards the end, efficiently killing any momentum they had built prior, the first three and a half minutes are among the best Sacred Steel have created to date, with a great riff, energetic and with this driving urgency, so a split decision for sure.
While it is doubtful that Heavy Metal Sacrifice is going to convert a lot of people to the cult of Sacred Steel, fans of the band will not be disappointed, bask in the cliche of steel!