Sacred Blood – Alexandros
Cypriot metal label Pitch Black Records, known mostly for bringing us power metal acts Emerald Sun and Arr(a)yan Path, has fished up another epic power album in Sacred Blood’s sophomore release, Alexandros. Having followed this label for a couple of years, I’ve heard this band’s debut (The Battle Of Thermopylae: The Chronicle), and found it wanting. The vocals were inexpert, and the whole effort seemed very rough-cut and somewhat amateur.
On Alexandros, Sacred Blood seems to be up to its usual tricks. It’s hardcore Greek war history (as you might guess from the title, the album specifically revolves around Alexander the Great), only more metallic than you’ve ever heard it before. Sacred Blood’s style is a blend of the fairly pedestrian and rough-cut stylings of epic heavy metal, blended with the occasional extra speed that is more indicative of typical Euro power. At times, the band reminds me a bit of Battleroar (specifically Age Of Chaos), another epic heavy/power act that, until recently, I’ve had real trouble getting excited about. This is mostly due to some very repetitive rhythmic work and ceaseless marching pace of much of the content.
Embellishments such as war cries, chants, group shouts, and various ambient sound effects do help the music breathe a bit more, but the narration that crops up here and there makes this sound like a very dramatic history lecture. That sounds pretty cool right? Kids, this is a metal album, I don’t want a spiritual repeat of Christopher Lee’s first Charlemagne project. While songs like “The Battle Of Granicus” boast some decent guitar hooks, they end up with the same problem that I find with much of this subgenre: redundancy and a general lack of creativity. In closing, this would be pretty nifty as a backdrop to a documentary on Alexander The Great, but it doesn’t make for a very thrilling active listen. Solos are relatively bland, the music is consistently plodding and rarely very stirring, and only the vocals and their support occasionally raise some interest. At least this album surpasses its predecessor, but I don’t see Sacred Blood appealing to more than a niche audience.
Here’s an example of why it’s extremely important to check out multiple bands under the same genre description. If one listened to the bland Alexandros, described as “epic power metal”, they might well decide to skip like-described label mates Arrayan Path outright (which would be a tragic, tragic mistake). Few people are willing to dig very deep into the subgenres, however, and I recognize that. Therefore, I only recommend Sacred Blood’s music to those who have a fairly strong affinity for epic heavy/power metal, or those who are truly interested in the historical content that the album has to offer, though I cannot vouch for how accurate or inaccurate it is. For most of us though, this is a power metal album to pass by.
Dan’s Rating: 2.75 out of 5