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Friday, February 26, 2016

Review: Corners Of Sanctuary - Metal Machine


Corners of Sanctuary is a 4 piece US band formed in 2011. For such a new band they have released an impressive amount of music.

4 Eps, 3 full length albums and 1 live album, now that's fucking impressive!! “Metal Machine” is their 4th album and these guys look unstoppable when it comes to creating. Also in the live department they kept themselves pretty busy too, besides doing a lot of shows they've also played along bands like Saxon and Anvil.

I was very impressed with all of the above and was interested in checking these guys out. They were completely unknown to me despite all the albums they've released so I had my hopes up for finding a hidden gem here.

However sometimes things might look great on paper but reality is very different.

Corners of Sanctuary play classic metal like it was done in early '80s along with influences from other American bands that belong to the glam/sleaze genre. Their style also brought to mind how Judas Priest used to sound in their late '70s era.

In Frankie Cross's vocal style and delivery these elements are easy identifiable. His voice reminded me a lot of Bobby Lucas (Attacker, Exhibition, Overlorde, Seven Witches) in his low to mid range while the high falsetto notes came straight from the glam/sleaze era mentioned before.

Personally I found his singing uninspired mainly due to the mediocre vocal lines and lack of good choruses, also found very annoying that there are small vocal harmonies in all songs. And I don't mean only in choruses (which would make sense) but in every part of each song. For me this takes away the impact and warmth that a single vocal line can deliver and makes the ending result sound faceless.

Same thing goes for musicianship too. While performance is adequate there are no surprises here. Nothing really stands out. Simple riffs and solos that offer little to nothing to the songs progression. Personally I hold nothing against simplicity as long as serving the music and in this case it doesn't. Also the band's constant persistence in writing mid tempo tunes along with the mediocre production (courtesy of Stu “The Hammer” Marshall) doesn't help things either since it sounds more like a live recording than a studio album. Guitar leads are buried, drums and bass are left in the back while the vocals dominate everything.

Wrecking Ball is the only song that stood out for me. It's simple but effective chorus brought Judas Priest in mind. Here you can find all the good elements of the band to just click and create an interesting song. Faster tempo and double bass drumming give this tune an edge that's unfortunately missing from the rest of the album.

In conclusion “Metal Machine” is an album I struggled listening all the way through and will hardly revisit in the future. Corners of Sanctuary should get back to the drawing board and focus on their songwriting and production.

Written by Manos Xanthakis

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