SACRED STEEL - Iron Blessings

Sacred Steel - Iron Blessings

11 songs
48:25 minutes
***** ****


Not only long gone are the times when these guys played some kind of progressive metal in the mid-Nineties, but while reading the info-sheet, I all of a sudden realised that Iron Blessings is already Sacred Steel's fifth album in only seven years. In the beginning, I had my doubt about these German lovers of Eighties metal, because it was that time of the century when true metal was living its second Spring, and this name change seemed back then more like a commercial decision.

With the necessary distance and the new album ready, I have to reconsider. In fact, of all traditional metal bands, Sacred Steel are one of the very few that sound sincere with what they do. Yes, the cover artwork is again a typical cliché illustration, but at least the lyrics have been revised. From self-referencing metal topics, they have advanced now to the not really more original Dungeons and Dragons inspired proto-Satanic fantasy songs (Your Darkest Saviour, At The Sabbath Of The Possessed,...). But don't worry, we are still miles away from hysteric black metal music. Sacred Steel are basically still a traditional melodic power speed metal band, although they have widened their influences, so that at times it becomes more thrash-like, and there are never any ballad parts. It's hard to pinpoint any highlights, because the album is at a steadily high level, but the opener Open Wide The Gate with its memorable chorus or the more epic The Chains Of The Nazarene should be good places to start.

Gerrit P. Mutz's vocals are very special, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were here where people might get problems with Sacred Steels. His rather high-pitched voice owes a lot to German 80s speed metal bands, sounding like a true metal siren (and not like the opera-schooled prog metal singers). In my opinion, it's the vocals, paired with the truly excellent production (very old school sounding, but always transparent and crystal clear) by Achim Köhler, that make this album a rare highlight in the never ending flood of mostly superfluous metal releases.

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