(Spread The Metal Records)
Hailing from Kentville, Nova Scotia in Canada, Sanktuary have been around since 2009 and have already released three EPs ('Sanktuary' in 2009, 'Black Magic Brew' in 2010 and 2011s 'Tundrastruck') before signing with Spread The Metal Records and releasing this, their first full length album.
Essentially what 'Something Fierce' is an old style classic Metal album from a young quartet who actually do a pretty good job here. Opening with the instrumental 'Deadly Prey', it fades up to a good solid beat from drummer Anders Grasholm, whilst the guitar sound is already feeding back before the actual guitar solo kicks in.
'Heat Lightning' continues where the previous track left off and with a great guitar riff setting the tone, the drums are off and running with a solid thrashy beat. The vocal lines from Alan Binger are short and listenable and of course, as any band worth their salt will do, there's the sound effect of a thunderstorm spread liberally throughout the track.
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'Hail The Villain' starts off with a great twin guitar riff which harks back to the sound of the Black Sabbath classic 'Children Of The Grave'. Once the track settles down, though, it turns into a good mid-paced number which speeds up only during the choruses. The guitar solo is quite good and just when you think it's finished there's an extended instrumental section which closes the number. Over all, though, not bad at all.
There is a clutch of fast and furious numbers including 'The Thrill Of It All' where Binger has a much more serious vocal tone compared to some of the other tracks and the backing vocals on the choruses just add an extra layer. There's no mucking about or showing off here - just a straight up and down thrash song.
'Screeching For Vengeance' is of a similar vein with Bingers original vocal style returning during this Judas Priest influenced number - something that the title pays homage to. The guitar solos and machine gun paced drumming are good and the ubiquitous screeching at the end is a nice touch.
Without a doubt for me, though, my absolute favourite track on the album has to be 'Fire In The Sky'. A superbly heavy initial riff gives way to some excellent percussion from drummer, Anders Grasholm, and Binger does one of his very best vocal performances of the album - just think early Slayer and it gives you an idea of how the track sounds.
The chorus is simple and uncluttered making it very memorable and the guitar solo seems to come out of nowhere and, again, it's a very accomplished performance and one that the band can be justifiably proud of. So good is the track that it's been placed on my August 2013 play list so I'll be listening to it much more over the next few weeks and beyond.
You have to ask yourself at the point, though - just how does a band follow such a musical masterpiece? Well, the simple answer is demonstrated ably here - you have an acoustic piece that throws you from one end of the musical spectrum to the other.
'Beyond The Wall' is that track, and it's a slow, measured and technically excellent performance. The fact that there is no vocals adds an extra dimension to the track and it is another great track from the band. On the strength of this, it's fair to say that this band have a bright future ahead, so why not check out the album yourself and see what you think.
Hail The Villain
Thrill Of The Kill
Screeching For Vengeance
Fire In The Sky
Beyond The Wall
Alan Binger - Guitars/Vocals
Glen Emond - Guitars
Cole Hume - Bass Guitar
Anders Grasholm - Drums