Sacred Steel - Slaughter Prophecy

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Massacre Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:46:00

Please, whatever you do, obey the first line of Sacred Steel's new album Slaughter Prophecy. The line? "May God have pity on your soul."

Sacred Steel are one of those bands that transcend all forms of metal - embracing death, power, and thrash with a vengeance matched only by their metal titles. Firstly, this album is one of their better ones of late but don't let that go to your head just yet - because they define many of the generic problems wrong with heavy metal. As it stands, Sacred Steel will appeal only to a small minority of metalheads.

Firstly, what is singer Gerrit P. Mutz doing? He is like no singer I've heard before, although because they are crossing genres so frequently, he certainly is (in)capable of many realms from King Diamond-esque squeals to downright Chuck Schuldiner like Death vocals. But whilst the two extremes offer a glimpse of hope (at times), it's his "real" singing voice that just shits me no end. Some would say that Mutz (or is that putz?), too often, can't sing. And that's true. He can't. He is so inconsistent that he fails constantly. He has a forceful, semi-high-pitched tone that wails so uncontrollably that you had better check for any blood pouring out from your ears. I imagine he would be up there doing this stuff live but he can't mask his mistakes on the album ("Invocation Of The Nameless Ones," "The Rites Of Sacrifice").

The title track is the only track that truly espouses death metal sounds and whilst the rest of the album borders in many areas, it mainly stays in the power/thrash region. But I can tell you that the opening track had me checking to make sure I put the right CD into the player. The band, like their albums, have gone through so many changes in sound that I think they are just going with the flow. This adds a sense of "what the hell are they going to do next?" type interest, but by the time the album concludes, you just know there are better albums out there worthy of your purchase.

Mutz' vocals are masked by a wall of sound that is heavy and brutal traditional power metal but it has influences even from bands like Bolt Thrower. It's that diverse and at times, without Mutz, or at least with a different vocalist, you could really enjoy the music being played. But being this diverse also means it's difficult to keep focus, so the albums' songs are generally hit and miss (and miss, and miss). The actual structure of the songs are most of the time strong ("Let The Witches Burn," "Crush The Holy, Save The Damned," "Faces Of The Antichrist") but at times they lack significantly. The band attempt an "epic" song in the form of "Invocation Of The Nameless Ones" as the final number and it's actually quite good with acoustic guitars, melodic interludes, different vocal styles, but again, it falls flat when the man sings those verses. He is so flat and lifeless, but the build-up within the song is tempting. Lyrically, it's a much darker Manowar with many satanic and pagan passages and, let's face it, Sacred Steel are a witches coven disguised as a metal band. There's not too many flowing solos and generally it's all rather dark and moody (just like the album cover by Jan Meininghaus (Bolt Thrower, Falconer)).

Some people would say this is shite, others would praise the heavens (or the hells) out of it. I'm of the opinion that it definitely has its place in heavy metal (CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHERE?) and whilst there are elements of creativity, it just lacks in that vocal department. Lucky for you I can read minds and with such a scathing review I know you want to buy this album just to see how truly pathetic it is. Well, buy it, but don't say I didn't warn you.

If you have bought this CD (on purpose or by accident), then heed the opening line - it is your only saviour.

[And we at PW herewith republish this warning lest you stumble upon it unawares. This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

The Immortals Curse / Slaughter Prophecy (Vengeance For The Dead) / Sacred Bloody Steel / The Rites Of Sacrifice / Raise The Metal Fist / Pagan Heart / Faces Of The Antichrist / Lay Me To My Grave / Crush The Holy, Save The Damned* / Let The Witches Burn / Invocation Of The Nameless Ones

* ltd ed digi and vinyl versions only

Gerrit O. Mutz - vocals
J?rg M. Knittel - lead guitar, keyboards
Oliver Grosshans - rhythm guitar
Jens Sonnenberg - bass
Matthias Straub - drums

Reborn In Steel (1997)
Wargods Of Metal (1998)
Bloodlust (2000)
Slaughter Prophecy (2002)
Iron Blessings (2004)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin DE

Added: February 20th 2005
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website:
Hits: 1099
Language: english


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