Sacred Outcry - Towers Of Gold review
|Album:||Towers Of Gold|
|Release date:||May 2023|
01. Through Lands Forgotten (At The Crossroads Of Fate)
02. The Flame Rekindled (Lurid Lights And Drunken Revelry)
03. The Voyage (Towards Immortality)
04. Into The Storm (Beyond The Lost Horizon)
05. Symphony Of The Night (The Curse Of The Blind)
06. A Midnight Reverie (Whispers In The Wind)
07. The Sweet Wine Of Betrayal (The Perennial Sin)
08. The City Of Stone (The Burden Of The Crownless Kings)
09. Towers Of Gold (Tempus Edax Rerum)
10. Where Crimson Shadows Dwell (And Ouroboros Dreamt)
If epic-themed, speedy power metal is your sort of thing, then strap up and hold on tight, because Towers Of Gold will have you break-necking your way into the deepest realms of fantasy.
Formed in 1998 was the Greek/European power metal band Sacred Outcry, masterminded by bassist George Apalodimas. Although the band has now been around for twenty-five years in total, they only have two full-length albums under their belt, those being the critically acclaimed debut Damned for All Time, released back in 2020, which is now followed by this second release, Towers Of Gold.
Now, with the legendary ex-Lost Horizon frontman Daniel Heiman joining forces on vocal duties, this really does shape up to be an album of true epic proportions, or at the very least, an opportunity not to be squandered. Especially when bringing into consideration George Apalodimas' reputation for his epic storytelling and songwriting, which on the debut was second-to-none. During his short spell with the Swedish power metal band Lost Horizon, Heiman showed us just how much of an exceptional performer he was, bringing such a powerful energetic presence to the stage, and showing off his superb wide-range vocals without ever coming across as over-the-top or silly. There are very few vocalists in metal that possess such an incredibly raw natural talent such as Heiman, so I, for one, admit hearing about them joining forces got me all excited, but that goes without knocking the quality of former vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos of course, who was undeniably an exceptional performer in his own right.
Towers Of Gold is essentially an epic-fantasy themed concept album, featuring ten chapters reminiscing the golden, glory days of both the U.S. and European 90s power metal scenes respectively. The first thing that strikes me about Towers Of Gold is the album cover, which for me screams out a strong resemblance to Blind Guardian, and it isn't long before those Blind Guardian influences become evident in the music. The opening track, "Through Lands Forgotten (At the Crossroads of Fate)" begins as a short, epic, bard-like tale, containing a sweet, folkish acoustic melody, and gentle folk-style vocals performed by Heiman. This track itself sounds like a passage inspired by an early Blind Guardian record.
This album, however, doesn't entirely follow a direct European power metal route. Fused within its structure you'll also hear influences from the 80s U.S. power metal scene, particularly from the likes of Warlord, Iced Earth, and even snippets of Manowar (in the heroic lyrical sense of course). The second track "The Flame Rekindled (Lurid Lights and Drunken Revelry)" almost gives off a Virgin Steele inspired impression, with the strong symphonic elements in place, as well as the clear melodic approach over complexity. The track has a vast layering of instrumentation which goes back and forth between highly melodic and heavy driven riffs, pounding drumming and shredding solos, to softer rhythmic sections.
At just shy of eight minutes is the ballad-like track "The Sweet Wine of Betrayal (The Perennial Sin)", one of the album's lengthier tracks that also gives you a taste of Sacred Outcry's heavier side, where the heavy-driven melodic riffs take centre stage, not to mention the incredible solo towards the end. The track reminds me of early Iced Earth, in how it's powerfully driven by highly melodic riffs yet features slower sections too, passionately performed vocals, and moving songwriting. OK, moving on now to one of the highlight moments on the album, which is the almost fifteen-minute beastly epic "Towers of Gold (Tempus Edax Rerum)". This is a track of compellingly adventurous storytelling, where each musician really come into their own. Despite its length, there is rarely a dull moment here on this joyously melodic treasure of a track.
Sacred Outcry have really gone above and beyond with Towers Of Gold. They've crafted together something truly special, thanks to some incredible musicianship and quality songwriting, and combining various influences from across both sides of the Atlantic, making for an instant modern power metal classic in my eyes. Oh boy, Sacred Outcry could well have gathered a deserving power metal fan club of their own, one I would be opting to join. The future looks bright for Sacred Outcry, I can say that much.
||Written on 23.05.2023 by|
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