Review Summary: Sanctity's debut album displays a band who may prove to be one of the best things to ever happen to popular American metal.
I’ll admit, I’m quite suprised with Roadrunner Records these days. Once a haven for some absolutely terrific metal bands in the 80s and 90s, they somehow managed to sign almost every crappy band on the planet when nu-metal became all the rage. Thankfully, RR has (almost) learned the error of their ways, and has made an effort to sign many well respected names in the metal scene, including Nightwish, Opeth, and Megadeth.
However, one of Roadrunner’s newest acquisitions is starting to make waves in the American metal scene. With their debut album Beneath The Machine, Sanctity appears to be one of American metal’s next big thing. And I have to say, out of anybody, these guys do deserve it. Sanctity appeared out of nowhere to snag a support slot on last year’s Gigantour, and since then have built up a fanbase. Ironically enough, they were discovered by Trivium’s Matt Heafy, a man who has almost single-handedly ruined everything American metal has strived to achieve. But I guess there’s a silver lining to every cloud, even one that doesn’t know that Metallica died 20 years ago.
All Trivium bashing aside (ok, last one: seriously, what the hell is wrong with these guys? They’re ***ing TERRIBLE), Sanctity is nothing like them. I think the only way to classify Sanctity is neo-thrash, even though I hate labels like that. They’re probably one of the only bands to deserve a label like that. They took the sound of 80s thrash metal, including all the chugging and shred solos, and brought it into the 21st century. It may sound bad, but for the most part, Sanctity pulls it off.
However, Sanctity also manage to blend elements of power metal and (sigh) American metal into their music. Every so often, some string arrangements will make an appearance in the music, and they do work out well for the band. They complement the downtuned palm muted riffs that Sanctity cranks out very well. However, Sanctity being a RR band, some American metal (and metalcore) influences did make it into their songs. Occasionally, the listener will come across one of those oh so familiar palm muted patterns that plagues the majority of Victory Records’ bands. While there are thankfully not too many moments like this, every so often one of these riffs rears its ugly head.
I think vocalist Jared shares influences from both Lemmy from Motorhead and Johan from Amon Amarth. While there are some clean singing moments, most of the vocals churned out on this album are a form of “shouting in key”. They are probably the weakest part of the band; while they are tolerable, the vocals do get extremely irritating if listened to for long periods of time. If Sanctity had either Jared concentrate more on straight cleans, or found a new vocalist who did only cleans, it would work out well in their favor.
However, the music is what sets them apart from the rest of their American counterparts, save a few exceptions. Sanctity ACTUALLY know how to write music. It’s catchy, but at the same time, there is an actual sense of musicianship from all of the members. Chugging riffs and terrific solos make their way into every song, backed up by passable drums and a bass that you can actually hear, which is a rarity for RR bands. While this record still shows the band’s immaturity as songwriters, they have chops to burn, and with more experience, they could become an extremely good band.
Sanctity’s debut is an above average release from some rising stars in the American metal scene. While they still have a ways to go, one cannot deny the talent these four North Carolina natives possess, in both instrumental and compositional ability. I’m very interested to see where this band goes in their future: if Road To Bloodshed is any indication, this band has a very bright and illustrious career ahead of them.
Beneath The Machine
The Rift Between