SACRED STEEL is another of those bands in the German Heavy/Power/Speed Metal genre evolving out of ACCEPT’s sound. These veterans release their eighth album with “Carnage Victory” and I must say that I appreciate what they have done. This album bubbles with energy and the riffing sets in like an iron fist in the face. The first thing I felt when listening to this album was that appreciation that SACRED STEEL dare to play on ten and turn up the tempo even though they operate in a very melodic genre. The opener “Charge Into Overkill” immediately shows how this genre should be done. Thundering double bass drums and a furious tempo break off into thought-through guitar parts and then return. This is like GRAVE DIGGER gone wild!
Speaking of GRAVE DIGGER, SACRED STEEL’s vocal duties are carried out by the Gerrit P. Mutz, whose voice ranges from Chris Boltendahls' raspy bawls to Kai Hansen’s semi-melodic falsetto shouting. He may not quite reach those vocalists, but his variation and enthusiasm really contribute to the sound. The sound consists of mid- and high-tempo songs with heavy drumming and an ever-present bass, but the guitars are given room to shine, and often they provide nice crunching riffs, which balance on the border between distortion and melody.
Some of the mid-tempo songs are the downside of this record. Songs like “Metal Underground” do not give the album much. Instead, I feel that SACRED STEEL are at their best when at full speed. This gives us catchy blasters like “Don’t Break The Oath” and “The Skeleton Key”. In my opinion, the best song on here is the extremely anti-Christian “Broken Rites”, whose lyrics concern the scandals of Catholic priests abusing children. The lyrics are a bit childish, but at the same time, the anger and extremism of the words captures the attention. The drive in the song is also great, which makes this a real killer.
To sum up, this is not a superb record, as the peaks aren’t high enough and there are a few filler songs, but the general quality is definitely high, which renders it a stable rating of 7. Try this out if you like bands like GRAVE DIGGER; GAMMA RAY and RUNNING WILD, you will not be disappointed!
(Online March 9, 2010)