Can Epic / Power Metal still sound classy?
March 2nd, 2003, this was the first Greek live date of the mighty Italian Epic Metallers DOOMSWORD. An important show for those into Epic Metal underground thanks to the impact that DOOMSWORD had -and still have I guess- among the scene.
I remember myself arriving really early at the venue. I wanted to catch all the support acts and especially one: A Greek Epic / Power Metal band, without an official release back then: I am referring to SACRED OUTCRY from Athens.
SACRED OUTCRY have actually recorded an early demo back in 1999 but they never released those recordings to the public, in 2001 they began working on their debut album – a process that went through various phases from 2001 to 2003. It was one of the band’s member’s that have sent me an advanced CD-r featuring some of those 2003 recordings. It was me, that I could not believe in my ears listening to the songs included, so I found myself packed really early on the venue’s front lines to witness the SACRED OUTCRY set. Well there was actually another shock waiting me: Among their originals the band covered two WARLORD songs on stage: “Lucifer’s Hammer” and “Winds of Thor”. This must be the first time that I saw a real band playing those classics, live in front of me.
Time passed really quickly, those 2001-2003 recordings were never completed, the band came to a halt. The only thing left behind was a rough mix and the belief that someday the “Damned for all Time” album would be completed in the form it truly deserved.
In fact there were many people that were asking about this “SACRED OUTCRY debut” that was supposed to be released back on the day. The band eventually -and fortunately- returned to their original material.
The recordings were completed between 2015-2018, orchestral arrangements were added and editing, mixing and mastering was finished in 2019. Finally, SACRED OUTCRY present the first chapter in The Sacred Chronicles under the title “Damned For All Time”, performed by George Apalodimas (bass), Dimitris Perros (lead & rhythm guitars), Stelios Darakis (drums), Vagelis Spanakis (acoustic guitars), John Skalkotos (keys) and very special guest Yannis Papadopoulos (ex-WARDRUM, BEAST IN BLACK) in lead vocals.
Lets start with the basics. “Damned For All Time” is a little masterpiece.
There are many major influences on the band’s music. WARLORD and BLIND GUARDIAN are the main ones, the ones that are shaping the main guitar riffing on the songs, and of course the acoustic interludes, presented to almost every composition of the album -I may add a LORDIAN GUARD reference to some of those interludes-. DOMINE and MANOWAR can be safely added on the influence list.
The band pays lots of attention to the basis of the songs: the riffing. Each and every riff in here carries a serious Epic touch, even those one that are built under a more classic Heavy Metal vibe. Even the ones on “Lonely Man” that are DRAGONFORCE inspired to the max.
The lead guitar parts are amazingly shinning. They are -also- carrying this WARLORD touch that reflects quite nicely with the orchestral parts -which are often accompany the lead guitar parts, also appearing in various song moments as well-.
Yes a terrific job has been done into the orchestral arrangements of the album. They are adding a really special touch on the album’s sonic identification, without affecting the overall result which is -and should be- guitar driven.
Papadopoulos’ vocals take the songs to sky high levels. Not only his way of singing, but actually his amazing vocal melodies, they will actually help each and every song to stick into your mind.
But lets face the reality, nothing of the above would be that important if the band wouldn’t have a very important skill: The songwriting. Yes SACRED OUTCRY brings amazing songs to the foreground.
I like the way that they are handling their song’s structure, letting the compositions to evolve minute by minute, from an acoustic interlude, to a trademark verse, from a shining chorus, to a powerful crescendo.
Want to read about some more sacred highlights? Ok…
The “Timeless” intro in which we have the chance to listen some small parts of the 2003 recordings, coming “from the deep”…
“The Legion of the Fallen” first single, which carries one of the most catchy choruses for this really damned year.
The “Sacred Outcry” track, which remains a classic Metal hymn. How I love its PRIEST-ish main riff that evolves into a HELSTAR inspired, outbreaking theme.
“Where Ancient Gods are still Hailed” song which proves the band’s skill on mid tempo hymns composing. Again check the track’s amazing main riff!
The “Lonely Man” tune rides the wind faster than those BLIND GUARDIAN and DRAGONFORCE themes. Do not the song fool you as it starts with a wonderful acoustic part that carries some mysterious darkness-.
The same-titled “Damned for all Time” song is also based on a structure similar to the one on “Lonely Man”: acoustic interlude, evolution to faster parts and faster parts, but this one is a little bit complex, it carries some great orchestral parts, some mid tempo breaks and it is built under a “narrative” approaching -as per its structure-. A small musical story? Probably.
I love the that renaissance touch on the “Crystal Tears” interlude. The song evolves into a magnum opus, one of my favorites.
A great work has been done on the production and the album cover is one of the best I have seen on 2020.
Well, we have been waiting 20 years for this one. Worth the wait! We now can enjoy a classy, inspired, Epic / Power Metal masterpiece!
The album will be released September, 25th on No Remorse Records.
Read the album discussion, on our forum pages.
Read a small SACRED OUTCRY special article, featuring the band’s complete saga, narrated by one of its members on our forum pages.