The Sacrificed

Annihilation... The Sacrificed - 2012 (Roxx Records) 2010

1. System Failure (Intro) (:24)
2. 2012 (4:20)
3. Freedom (4:57)
4. No Promise Of Tomorrow (3:26)
5. The Return (2:58)
6. The Path To Righteousness (4:10)
7. In Heaven (3:32)
8. I Concede (4:51)
9. Victorious (4:14)
10. Father (1:48)
11. Savedv3:31)
12. Love & Hope (3:18)
13. Believe (3:58)
14. Slay The Wicked (4:00)
15. Time (Outro) (:50)

Based out of Lakeland, Florida, USA, The Sacrificed are classic American heavy metal. While press kits and pre- release hype compared the band to classic Queensryche and Sacred Warrior, that really doesn't do the band justice. Actually, I'd compare the music on "2012" to Warlord, early Helstar, and even Liege Lord and Agent Steel. However, there is a mixture of classic metal and some more more modern influences as well. "Believe" and "Saved" in particular seem to lean in a more modern direction. Unfortunately modern metal will bring thoughts of metalcore and the like, but that's not the case at all. I don't think most metal purists fans will be disappointed.

After a short intro, the album kicks off with the one of the albums heaviest tracks. The title track is a dynamic, speed metal number. "The Return" sounds like classic Judas Priest or Saint. The soaring vocals along with the chugging guitar riff is straight off "Defenders of the Faith" or "Too Late For Living". For the most part, the album stays on the heavier side, but the band offers some variety on songs like "I Concede" which shows the more melodic side of the band. The mostly acoustic song starts off as a melancholy ballad and builds into a heavier number. One track that was quite a pleasant surprise was the cover of Deliverance's "Slay the Wicked". This has long been one of my personal favorite songs. I saw Recon perform this song live years ago with Deliverance vocalist/guitarist Jimmy Brown joining them. I watched with my jaw on the floor. It's just a fantastic song and The Sacrificed stay pretty true to the original, even using the original "I am a jealous God" intro. The song is perfectly fitting for them, especially since the band's lyrics mostly deal with spiritual matters from a Christian perspective.

Vocalist Eli Prinsen has that high, soaring, classic metal style that is reminiscent of guys like Ski (Faith Factor) and Rey Parra (Sacred Warrior). On a song like "No Promise of Tomorrow" he even uses some lower register vocals, not unlike Geoff Tate. Obviously Eli's vocals are where the Queensryche and Sacred Warrior comparison are coming from.

The only real downside to "2012" is the production. The vocals are always out front while the guitar work is mostly muddy and slightly buried. However, it's not terribly distracting and actually adds to the old-school heavy metal feel. I personally found myself listening to this one over and over again in the first few weeks of owning it. The Sacrificed are old American heavy metal.

The first 100 pre-orders were also treated to a CD of The Sacrificeds previous demo material titled "The Davinci Hoax". It came wrapped in a separate cardboard album sleeve.

III The Sacrificed - III (Roxx Records) 2012

1.   The World Is Changing [intro] (1:09)
2.   Falling (5:45)
3.   Ark Of The Covenant (3:12)
4.   The Nephilim Agenda (4:02)
5.   Time's Up (3:03)
6.   Words On The Gin (3:11)
7.   Behold The Power Of God    (4:09)
8.   Regeneration (4:28)
9.   Offended (3:19)
10. Before The Storm (4:33)
11. 24 (6:25)

"III" is The Sacrificed's third album, as the title so cleverly alludes to. Since the band's last release they have added guitar shredder Michael Phillips (Deliverance/Fasedown) and former Vengeance Rising bassist Daniel Cordova to their ranks. With this album, the band has delivered an all around heavier album with far superior guitar work to anything they have recorded in the past. The music would best be described as power metal. However, not a flowery, keyboard infested power metal, but rather a balls-to-the-wall, guitar-driven, power metal album. Comparisons to bands like Recon and early Fates Warning would not be far off. Though the music on "III" isn't overtly progressive in nature, there is a more progressive feel to the music compared to the band's first two releases.

The album opens with a real headbanger. "Falling" is pure heavy metal with soaring, high vocals and a steady double bass assault. Some songs even border being speed metal. Songs like "Ark of the Covenant" and "Behold The Power Of God" are crushing! If "Behold The Power Of God" would have been recorded by Phillip's former band Deliverance, fans would have compared it to "Weapons of our Warfare" and called it a return to form. "The Nephilim Agenda" starts off as a more melodic number with clean guitars and build up to a heavier song. This song, and the entire album, features some fantastic guitar work from Phillips. As with the band's previous release, "III" features a cover song. This time around it's Queensryche's "Before the Storm". Not only is this a great choice of a cover, but The Sacrificed pull it off flawlessly. It's fairly obvious that Queensryche is an influence on the band's overall sound, though they are in no way a clone.

The production is similar to "2012", though I think the guitar tone is vastly improved. All the instruments are heard loud and clear, including the bass guitar. The one thing that did bother me about this recording was the vocals of Eli Prinsen. Eli has that high, soaring, classic metal style. He easily hits those helium-high notes and has a great tone. However, the vocals just seem to all mash together with little enunciation and diction. It's very difficult to pick out words, even on a song like "Before the Storm" where I am already familiar with the lyrics. On first listen I thought perhaps the vocals were too buried in the mix, but that's not the case. Perhaps it's just a bit too much effects on the vocals, or maybe Eli just isn't enunciating his words. For more extreme vocal styles, I find this less of a problem, but with a powerhouse vocalist like Eli Prinsen, it becomes a little more evident. However, with further spins of the disc, I found this to be less distracting.

The Sacrificed's "III" is is head-banging heavy metal and a welcome addition to my heavy metal collection. Fans of classic metal and speed metal will find that "III" is right up their alley.

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