SACRED STEEL – Hammer Of Destruction

SACRED STEEL - Hammer Of Destruction


Release date: November 10, 2006

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Formed in Ludwigsburg, Sacred Steel now has six studio albums under their belts, and despite this, Hammer Of Destruction introduces the band’s first line-up change, which is an impressive feat within a genre that generally sees bands changing line-up’s every second year or so. Sacred Steel likes it Old School, therefore the sound of a needle landing on a vinyl surface starts off the CD. You might recall Motörhead pulling a similar stunt in the digital format era with their 1993 Bastards release. In fact, they did so in an even scratchier way.

The title track starts things off, and their style is very fast, which continues to be the case for the first three tracks, as well as for most of the album for that matter. At first listen, for a mere few minutes, Sacred Steel gives a fairly powerful impression, but very soon the whiny vocals of Gerrit P. Mutz get to you. If you are not familiar with his voice, imagine a lamb with it’s behind burned beyond recognition, and you basically have a picture of what Mutz sounds like. The “lamb in utter pain” parable reaches a height during “Black Church,” where it becomes practically unbearable to listen to him. Vocals can, partly at least, be ignored on stronger songs … particularly “Swords And Axes,” carrying a memorable sense. “The Torch Of Sin,” with its Thrashy hook, is also among the stronger tracks on offer.

“Blood And Thunder” serves a great riff, which should had been utilized a bit more, as the rest of the song turns out not as memorable. The intro for “Impaled By Metal” seems taken from an American moral group (possibly influenced by PMRC or the like). The female voice talks of ”de-Metalling,” which is funny. The acoustic piece “Descent Of A Lost Soul” allows a breather from the mayhem for a minute, while the best track on the entire CD, unfortunately, is a cover: Jag Panzer’s “Generally Hostile,” taken from their 1984 classic Ample Destruction. It is not a good sign when the best track on offer is a cover, even if it’s the mighty Jag Panzer that is being paid a tribute.

The production job of Harris Johns, who was responsible for classic works by Kreator, Destruction, Sodom, and the engineer of early Helloween, to name a few, deserves a mention. He is perfect for that authentic Old School sound Sacred Steel strives for.

It’s somewhat understandable that Germany is in need of new truly convincing Metal heroes of a heavier style, that departs from the “happy,” lighter-styled bands that pass off as “Power” Metal nowadays, seeing as Accept have disbanded, Running Wild reportedly are on their very last legs, and Grave Digger are unfortunately slowly running out of steam. If a newer band can reach that greatness, it will not be Sacred Steel; they just do not have what it takes in the grander scheme of things, even if their intentions are to be applauded. This, coupled with the fact that there are no shortage of better New Wave of German Traditional Metal bands out there, like Black Destiny, Metal Inquisitor, even Stormwarrior, makes it hard to hear exactly what the fuss is about!


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