US Power Metallers SACRED OATH has been around in some sort of guise since the mid-80’s and since then they have, rather remarkably, only released three albums (one is a re-recording by the way) and with this, ‘’Till Death Do Us Part (live In Germany)'' being, well, a live album one can only wonder what basis SACRED OATH has for continuing in the often stagnating swamp of world Power Metal.
It would take a brave Metal maniac to compare their bands latest live album up against the mighty ‘’Live After Death’’ and ‘’Unleashed In The East’’ but SACRED OATH has gone straight for the jugular and proclaimed that this, their fourth album, will go down in the annals of Heavy Metal as one of the greatest documented performances of this year or any other for that matter. Er, right okay.
Although it’s a fairly decent stab at US Power Metal, ‘’‘Till Death Do US Part’’ won’t be appearing on any best of live album lists any time soon. SACRED OATH’s problem stems from their unremarkable sound that lists from foot-on-the-monitor Metal of MAIDEN to psudeo-Prog wanderings of CRIMSON GLORY, SAVATAGE and QUEENSRYCHE. It might have sounded altogether special twenty years ago but up against the likes of JAG PANZER, CAGE, STEEL ASSASSIN and PHARAOH, SACRED OATH falter and falter badly.
Vocalist and founder Rob Thorne has a pitch that would make canines deaf. Geoff Tate or Midnight he is not. Compared to some of the fantastic guitar playing of Bill Smith, Thorne’s a bit of a weak link. ‘’The Omen’’ has punch and drive like ‘’Ride The Lightning’’ era METALLICA as does the MAIDEN-esque bombast of ‘’Queen Of The Night’’. ‘’The Prophecy’’ might just be about the worst song committed to recorded media in the past decade. It’s one of those horrible ballad dirges that Power Metal bands insist on coming out with, failing miserably.
That said if you like your Power Metal that bit on the rough and hewn side then the under ground ramblings of SACRED OATH might well fill a desire.
(Online July 3, 2008)