Black Magic Brew
posted on 3/2011 By:
Not to be confused with Seattle, Washington’s reactivated legends Sanctuary, Sanktuary is a mildly thrashy traditional heavy metal outfit hailing from Canada. This marks the group’s second offering of music, and having never heard the five-song demo they put together prior to this, all I have to go on are the four tracks on this 25-minute EP. While I do see some potential promise in the band’s future, this young group of aspiring metal musicians has quite a bit of work to do if their goal is to gain some recognition outside of their inner circle.
Each song is a bit up-tempo with none of them being too ferociously paced or overly slow, and when there are slight shifts in tempo, the above-average drumming does well to help during these transitions. With nary any melodic layering on top of some less-than-impressive riffs, the listening experience tends to seem a bit stale overall, as the recycled three-to-four-chord galloping progressions on hand just don’t pack much of a punch. Some melodic runs or even some dual harmonies would have done wonders here, but such is not the case and there just isn't a whole lot of pizzazz over the top. What saves the songs to a certain extent, however, are the guitar solos, which are somewhat decent for the most part.
The vocals come at you in a multitude of ways, as you’ll get some rough, gravelly lines ala Blackie Lawless, and then the next minute you’ll get a milder Sean Killian vibe, while other moments see some cleaner and slightly melodic crooning, and you’ll even get a deathish growl from time to time. As promising as this formula might appear on paper, it comes across more as uncertainty in direction than anything else, and the songs suffer as a result. It's no secret that the bands that have made a noteworthy mark in the realm of traditional metal have done so by way of awesome vocalists with a keen ear for flavorful melody, and obviously that ingredient, along with the mighty riff, of course, has been an integral part of the recipe since the very beginning. While the vocals on this EP don’t necessarily mar the songs, they don’t do them any favors either.
Even though my take on this EP might seem a bit harsh, I will say that this is certainly a solid enough building block for these cats to improve upon, but this is nothing to write home about. It’s my understanding that the band is in the process of creating their first full-length release, so hopefully they are putting all their effort into improving their songwriting and individual musicianship skills, because at the end of the day that's where it's at. One last note, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, before releasing anything else, my suggestion would be to choose a new band name immediately. Seriously, dudes. Unless you want to be mocked and ridiculed by elitist prick metalheads, then that needs to be your first order of business. After all, there really is only one Sanctuary. Best of luck...
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