Epic power metal from Greece, debut full-length album released in 2008.
Greek band Sacred Blood was formed in 2003. Originally called simply "Sacred" they released their demo, “Clash of the Titans”, later the same year. In 2008 the band released their debut album (“The Battle of Thermopylae: The Chronicle”) and now we have the group's sophomore release. If the title fails to clue you in about the narrative of this album then I'll let you in on a little secret-this is a concept album Alexander the Great. OK, that is not much of a secret as all you have to do is google this band and album and the record label lets you know as much. Anyway, epic power metal is the name of the game and Sacred Blood do it as well as any. With out skipping over anything (or minimising the talent on display here) the band sounds good and the music comes of as both classic and modern, technical and simple as well as melodic and heavy. The only down side is the lack of original ideas. There is not much here to separate Sacred Blood from the legions of similar sounding bands. Like I said they do it as well as any other band in the genre, but they don't really do enough to make themselves stand out. New vocalist Epeios Focaeus is more than capable on the mic as is Polydeykis (rhythm and lead guitars, acoustic and 12 string classic guitars, keyboards) and Jim “The Animal” (drums). Don't get me wrong as a cut like "Marching to War" is fantastic. The guitar solos alone are (pardon the pun) epic in nature. My only (minor) gripe is that Sacred Blood just don't do enough to push themselves over the top. Still, if your a fan of epic power metal you should give "Alexandros" a try.
Ah, Sacred Blood. A relatively new metal band from Greece, with their debut release, The Battle of Thermopylae: The Chronicle, a long title indeed, but worth the listen. The first impression I got when I listened to the first track was as thus: “Holy shit, this is amazing.” Seriously, this band has an amazing opening. This wear you get the first taste of Iason’s unique vocals, which accompany a great story-telling sort of prelude to the whole album. However, when you get to the first actually song, and the guitars come in, you get the impression of Grave Digger and Running Wild worship, which is essentially what this album is. However, Sacred Blood manage to give it their own style, and keep it interesting through the whole album.
After a while, you’re listening to the album, and you realize how annoying Iason’s vocals can get. And how flat the drums sound. And how there is no interesting bass lines to be heard. But, if you’re like me, you don’t care, because the guitar riffs and solos, and the orchestration provide so much redemption. And, in all honesty, Iason’s voice, though annoying at times, is wonderful. They aren’t quite clean, similar to Chris Boltendahl of Grave Digger, and they really give the album a ball-crushing feel to it. And in a time where power metal is severally lacking balls, this is a good thing. It’s when Iason goes to his high-pitched clean vocals where it gets bad, but it’s passable. And the gang-vocals need a little work, but they provide a good effect on Sacred Blood and Spartan Warlords.
As for the album for a whole, it’s pretty solid. With two pseudo-ballads, Oracle and Heroic Spirit, and plenty of hard-n-heavy tracks such as Blades in the Night, Spartan Warlord, and Gates of Fire, they keep things interesting. Though they keep the same sound through the whole album, it doesn’t get too boring, except for on the final track, Gates of Fire, which tends to drag on. But the riffs on Sacred Blood and Warrior’s Song, especially the choruses, sound like Rock ’n’ Rolf himself wrote them.
As for production, it needs some work. The bass is hard to hear, the drums sound sort of flat, and the vocals on Warrior’s Song make me want to yell “THE HELL?” (it is a possibility that the vocals on this track sound so bad because of the uploader’s mistake, I do not know if they sound better on the actual CD) But if the band was aiming for a good 80s power metal sound, they nailed it on the head.
If you haven’t guessed already, the song is a concept album based on, well, the Battle of Thermopylae. For months now, I have been bugging Polydeykis for the lyrics so I can upload them to all the various sites on the web, but he won’t take the time, or he really really wants me to just buy the CD and do it myself. But from what I can hear, they sound well-written, with some Greek thrown in every now and then for good flavor.