Metal Is War !
No intro here (well a mild acoustic bit) but the album just descends into the fast and melodic darkness that is "Stormhammer". The first vocals are a narrative style death metal. This death metal vocal intro starts us off on "The Oath Of Blood" as well. It's a nice touch and brings a brutalness to the songs. "Oath .." has a great thrash like riff and a sort Manowar-ish call to arms feel.
"Lust For Blood", "Metal Is War" and "Blood On My Steel" are all fine power metal songs. They are hooky with anthemic leanings and melody provided by guitars and vocals by Gerrit Mutz. "Sacred Warriors Of Steel" and the album closer "Throne Of Metal" both feature keyboards. The intro to "Sacred ..." has a church organ quality providing a dark touch to the song, but is quickly cut off by the melodic riffwork of rhythm guitars. "Throne Of Metal" 's keys are more of majestic male choral style often featured in Manowar songs. They are subtle here, but add a nice epicness to the ending of this album.
The stand out tracks for me are "Master Of Thy Fate" with its acoustic intro and melodic ballad like vocals. The song then moves into a defiant ,I'll do what I please, tone with mid paced riffing and a sing along chorus. It's a dark and passionate tune. However, in a unpredictable turn (I tend to prefer the melodic emotional tunes), my favourite track is "Dark Forces Lead Me To The Brimstone Gate". This is a dark, thrashy song which is fast and crushing. The drum work takes on a hammering feel and pound the heck out of you. And through the chorus's they incorporate some of the death metal vocals as a background so the regular vocals have a demonic feel. Very nice indeed.
This is the only Sacred Steel album I own, and probably the only one I will own, but it is fine piece of power metal and highly recommended. I should note that Gerrit Mutz's vocals take a bit of getting used to. They are not all wailing and screeching as often found in power metal, but more baritone-ish almost doom like. The accent is quite distinguishable, which is unusual, but once I was used to it, I can't imagine the album without it. They rather enhance the mood of the music and helps it stand out from other power metal outfits.
Well that's all (for now) on fantasy/sci-fi metal, my next post will be much different then what I've been dealing with lately .... maybe even a little shocking .... but mostly just different.