|Artwork by Matthias Frisk|
Those fucking Greeks just don't quit. A few months after my Hellenic Darkness post there's already been enough blackened material from their country to warrant a new one just for Q1 2015. But it’s time for a break from all that death and destruction to focus on one of the more energetic and downright fun new acts from the Balkan peninsula.
The Fenriz approved quartet Sacral Rage explode out of the gate with their debut full-length, Illusions in Infinite Void. The amount of tasty, fist-pumping riffs just in the first two minutes of “El Cima Del Mar” is greater than even the best classic albums of yesteryear. Nodding heavily towards American scenes both new and old, they have more than a few obvious influences ranging from Vektor to Jag Panzer. They channel their heroes into a relentless attack that’s equal parts thrashy, proggy, and classically ripping, all laid on a supremely thick speed metal foundation.
And this neverending musical hunger are just a small part of what make Sacral Rage great, because this isn't just a barrage of killer riffs thrown at the wall to see what sticks. Everything has its place and the band executes their ideas with deadly precision. To see a young band with such a knack for songwriting is refreshing and impossibly impressive. No track overstays its welcome and there's a constant flow between rewarding predictability and unexpected surprises. The thought they put into their instrumental breaks and intros - see "A Tyrannous Revolt" - shows they know how to hold a listener's attention; so much music in this style relies too much on the vocals and lyrics to distract from the lack of fundamentals.
With that said, holy shit the vocals. Lead singer Dimitris K is bound for greatness after his performance here. His flawless pipes range from gnarly thrash maniac to a high end that gives the mighty King Diamond a run for his money. And like the music, he knows the exact right time to use each one without ever going overboard. He’s the perfect leader for this insatiable group of musicians, and it’s just what the band needs to go from damn impressive to world-conquering.
Easily one of the better debut full-lengths that 2015 will see, Illusions in Infinite Void is a near perfect metal record. Sacral Rage wear their influences on their sleeves but include enough of their own personality and unique flourishes to make it forward-thinking and fresh. It’s neither overindulgent nor predictable, but hits the right middle ground between the two. This thoroughly modern and unique take on genre norms proves that not only is speed metal alive and well, there’s still plenty of room for a new generation to grab the torch and run with it.