Sacred Monster – Knowledge
Sacred Monster- Knowledge (2014)
Reviewed by Mark Nagy
Influences are a fun topic in metal sub-genres. Power Metal largely goes without discussing it, it’s contentious in progressive metal, with lots of bickering about a lack of originality, but the doom metal branches seem to be completely OK with the topic, even if every last one of them is just talking about how big of an influence Black Sabbath was. Sacred Monster is no different, standing in a long and fruitful tradition of bands turning up the psychedelic dials on Black Sabbath’s already often spaced-out doom prototype, and not feeling the slightest bit of shame while they do it. Get ready for big, aggressive riffs, retro production, and a probably a bit too many harsh vocals.
Knowledge is a 4 song debut EP, and even within that limited territory, it sees Sacred Monster exploring a few different styles. The first three songs, “Running The Risk,” “The Hound,” and “Midnight Sun,” all feature prominent harsh vocals, with “The Hound,” and “Midnight Sun,” featuring a shrill, death metal scream, and “Running The Risk” moving between the screams and some cleaner tones. None of these vocal performances are particularly appealing to me, but I wouldn’t say that they’re poor. “The Hound” has an absolutely killer riff, and “Midnight Sun” is largely instrumental in any case. The last song, “Forbidden Fruit,” is all cleans, with singer Adam Anderson sounding something like a higher pitched Messiah Marcolin. This song sounds overall as if it is pretty heavily influenced by early Candlemass, which I’m much more a fan of than the death-doom that populates the rest of the wall.
Vocal issues aside, the riffs are all memorable, especially on “The Hound,” and the instrumental sections are certainly a highlight. Things move along at a pretty middle-of-the-road tempo through the EP, with lots of Black Sabbath-style trademark vocals that mirror the guitar riff. There are places, like in the start-stop section in the middle of “Running the Risk”, where the transitions leave something to be desired, but overall it’s a pretty engaging experience. It’s certainly got signs of youth, and this early along, it’s hard to tell if the band will be worth listening to five years down the road or with a full-length, but they know how to write a good riff. For a predominantly mid-tempo EP, Knowledge also doesn’t really feel like it drags in too many places. They could certainly be exciting with time and development, and I’ve at least been impressed enough to stick around for what I hope is an eventual full length release.
3.0 // 5