SACRED OATH - Twelve Bells
June 7, 2017, 10 months ago
(Angel Thorne Music)
Connecticut’s Sacred Oath has to be one of the biggest hidden gems within the power metal genre. The quartet, featuring vocalist/guitarist Rob Thorne, bassist Brendan Kelleher, drummer Kenny Evans and guitarist Bill Smith, have always delivered with each release in its on-and-off again, 30-plus-year career. On its eighth full-length album, Twelve Bells, the band’s blend of Judas Priest-laden twin leads mixes well with its Fates Warning-esque progressive metal influences.
Opener “New Religion,” about the digital age, will throw listeners for a loop at first with its odd-yet-intriguing Latin a cappella vocal intro. The track soon segues into a tasty blend of John Bush-era Anthrax meets Fates Warning vibe. Vocalist/guitarist Rob Thorne is spot-on throughout the album, as his vicious screams, Geoff Tate-isms and Rob Halford-esque qualities shine through on every track. The razor sharp riffs and numerous melodic leads are also album highlights. The thunderous “Electric Eye”-esque Judas Priest-influenced intro of “Bionic” may just be the pinnacle of the whole album, recalling a similar vibe as “Counting Zeros” from its 2009 self-titled album. The 61-minute runtime may be a tad too long for some, and the back half is not as dynamic as the front end proves to be. Tracks “Well of Souls” and the pseudo-rapped “Eat The Young” take a little more effort to warm up to than some of the other tracks. However, the Armored Saint-isms of “No Man’s Land” and the ominous King Diamond-ish buildup of closer “The Last Word” fill out the rest of the album nicely. Twelve Bells is a testament to Sacred Oath’s perseverance and focus on its craft.