"Bloodlust" (Nuclear Blast; 2000)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Sacred Steel's style of '80s true metal (i.e. Manowar) has elements of power and speed metal. It is best to think of Sacred Steel in the vein of their fellow German countrymen Helloween and Gamma Ray mixed with a decidedly American influence (Helstar and Omen, for instance) with Viking overtones.

"Bloodlust" is a continuation of a song from their debut CD. This gives "Bloodlust" a concept feel (especially in the lyrics) although it is plainly obvious that the songs stand quite well by themselves. 

These crazy Germans certainly have a foundation rooted in the Gamma Ray tradition, but I hear more gruff vocals and an almost Swedish guitar sound amidst all the Viking related bombast. Paint-by-numbers chord progressions might leave one a bit bored akin to the numbness that comes with having your mouth shot full of Novocain. However, Sacred Steel's brazen and sassy use of melody over pure raw sound is likely to prove to be a great asset over time.

The vocals combine the best of true metal and the higher-pitched operatic vocals of Candlemass along with the quick forays into the gruff melodic death metal style.

It's not until the end of the CD when tracks "Dark Forces Lead Me To The Brimstone Gate," "Master Of Thy Fate," "Lust For Blood," and "Throne Of Metal" really give the band a chance to shine. All four tracks have classic power metal riffs and vocal lines that can rightfully be considered top-notch examples of the power metal resurgence. "Blood On My Steel" and "Sacred Warriors Of Steel" are two other tracks that really stand out. 

Sacred Steel have already made two triumphant appearances at the ultra-famous Wacken Open Air festival and have even garnered nominations for "Best Metal Performance" in Germany. Although "Bloodlust" isn't a CD that I'll find back in my CD player too often it is obvious that Sacred Steel have an audience that 'hears' something that I don't. 

Vinylphiles take note: the LP version of "Bloodlust" contains a bonus track.

Sacred Steel is Gerrit P. Mutz on lead vocals, Jorg M. Knittel on lead guitars, Oliver Grsshans on rhythm guitar, Jens Sonnenberg on bass, and Mathias Staub on drums. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:21 -0400 .