Sacrifice To Survive – Sacrifice To Survive

January 21, 2012 in Reviews by blackwindmetal

 Sacrifice to Survive
Sacrifice to Survive

For some people progressive metal can be a very uninviting genre with all its complexity, technicality, and overly long songs. Well perhaps Sacrifice to Survive, an impressive self-titled debut, could be a nice change of pace for people who generally prefer the more accessible side of metal or music in general. While the band does use some of the complex structure and occasional impressive instrumental sections that you’d expect, they also incorporate many elements of more mainstream music to make for an interesting and unique sound.

One thing I noticed quickly was how the guitar work often sounds similar to that of an alternative rock band, with a similar tone and style to the riffs. There are also several sections that remind me of a more metal version of Coheed & Cambria, which is pretty neat. So yeah, the album certainly has a lot of modern elements to it, and even some non-metal parts as well. The beginning of “Idle Hands” in particular, contains keys that sound like they could easily have been played by Radiohead. All of this may be scaring off fans of more standard progressive metal, but I can assure you this is definitely still metal. There are certainly some things you would never hear a mainstream band pull off, including some harsh vocals on the first two songs, which work well. If anything, it’s a middle ground between the more complex and the more mainstream, with a balance between the two.

And in case the band wasn’t different enough already, their lead singer Emily Aldridge does not sound like any other metal vocalist I’ve ever heard. In fact, she wouldn’t be out of place in pop/rock, alt rock, or anything more popular. She has a certain spunk to her voice, which adds character to the music. Like the music around her, her voice strikes a balance between being pleasant while at times becoming a bit aggressive. She’s a perfect fit for what the band is going for, and sounds great.

The songwriting is very consistent, with most songs doing something impressive by being catchy without being repetitive. My favorite song is “Hallucinate”, which starts out with some pretty cool shredding before speeding its way to an excellent section which seems to a chorus, except then the song changes suddenly, slowing down and abandoning the typical verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure. Also, that particular section is only repeated once, and even then some of the lyrics are changed. Still, the melodies stuck with me long after the song ended, and most songs here work in a similar way.  You can expect to get a great chorus almost every time, but the song structure isn’t limited to same old thing. There’s even a great instrumental, called “Entropy”, which closes the album.

Perhaps the only complaint I have is that a lot of the songs start to feel a bit similar after a while, with a mix of heavy off-beat sections, the more simple sections, and of course the many extended solo sections (“Hallucinate” in particular has one that lasts over a minute and closes the song). All the songs are very good and don’t repeat themselves much, but a few of them sound a bit too much alike (for example, “Awakening”, while a great song in its own right, is perhaps too similar to “Hallucinate”). The exceptions are“Exile”, a simple power ballad the whole way through, and of course the instrumental. Perhaps I would have preferred if some songs cut back on the non-metal elements a bit, and if a couple others used them even more to give a bit more variety among the songs.

Still, I can’t say I’ve heard any other band that manages to mix the complexity of progressive metal with more accessible music so well. Even if it gets similar after a while, it doesn’t last long enough for that to be a big deal. Overall, an excellent debut from a band with a lot of potential.

Travis Green’s Rating: 4.0 out of 5