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Sacred Blood - 'Alexandros' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/16/46/a6/3029_sacredbloodalexandros_1354644798.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 04, 2012    
 
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Plenty of nuances and moments of utter beauty to uncover with successive listens.

What with the latest album by Marauder (click here to read the 'Marauder -  Elegy Of Blood' album review) and now this one from Sacred Blood (the former containing a track about Alexander The Great, this one being an entire album about him) Pitch Black Records is currently focused upon two historical concept albums and are both ones that should pique the interest of readers of this web site who enjoy music in the sphere of heavy/power metal.

‘Alexandros’ is the Greek band’s second album, the debut being titled for and focusing upon the Battle of Thermopylae. It escaped my notice, so I can make no comparisons…but given how good this second release is, I am planning to go and check it out. Sacred Blood is a trio comprising Epeios Focaeus (vocals), Polydeykis (guitars and keyboards) and Jim “The Animal” (drums) but various guest musicians and vocalists have been drafted in to supplement their sound here, and have done so very effectively.

Typical of many concept albums, this one starts with a brief narrative to set the scene during ‘The Warrior’s Scion’ and this is followed by a further fourteen tracks, including both shorter linking pieces (amongst them some further pieces of narration) and longer power metal songs, although none of these break the seven minute mark to develop into fully-blown epics. Nevertheless, both of the first two longer tracks (‘The Bold Prince Of Macedonia’ and ‘The Battle Of The Granicus (Persian In Throes)’) are both epic in delivery and intent and set the scene for a fine album somewhat in the tradition of Virgin Steele.

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The playing is delightful throughout, and there’s a very varied assortment of material including more than a mere soupcon of Greco-sounding influences (no surprises there, then), and when these are mixed with Celtic sounds (as on ‘Before The Gates Of Ishtar’) the result is mesmeric. The songs have a wonderful dynamism too, and are extremely ambitious as the absolute highlight of the release, ‘Battlefield Aenaon’ so fabulously demonstrates. Focaeus’ vocals are accented, as might be anticipated, but his delivery and passion are perfect for the material here, and the harmonies and wails contribute appropriately to an album of superb pulsating, quality metal.

The name Sacred Blood might suggest we would be in death metal territory, but what we actually have here is a wonderful revelation within the power metal genre. Their album has plenty of nuances and moments of utter beauty to uncover with successive listens, and it comes very warmly recommended…

Paul Jerome Smith

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