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|Sacrilege - Ashes To Ashes Compilation (2015) Album Review|| |
Sacrilege - Ashes To Ashes Compilation (2015)
Karthago Records / Pure Steel / Soul Food Distribution -- Running Time: 78:47
Doesn't time fly? I've been meaning to write a piece about Sacrilege ever since I saw them live at The Rock Den's 'Power & Glory Fest' in 2014 but something always got in the way. Earlier this year Vocalist/Rhythm Guitarist Bill Beadle sent me a copy of their new album 'Six6Six' to review and then that also had to be put on hold because signing a record deal meant the release date got delayed. However, it's all worked out quite nicely because that label is Pure Steel subsidiary Karthago Records. Brutiful receive all the Pure Steel releases so not only do I have that album to review, but also this compilation 'Ashes To Ashes' which is part of the deal and being put out at roughly the same time!
This Sacrilege (please don't confuse them with the Birmingham, UK based, female fronted Crust/Thrash/Doom band who named themselves Sacrilege in 1984) were first put together by founding member Bill Beadle in Gillingham around 1982. They recorded a demo in 1983 and, unbeknownst to the band, Bill's Dad sent it to the David Jensen TV Show, where it was picked from thousands of entries, to be one of six acts put forward as best new band of 1983! Each episode of the show featured one of these new bands and, on their particular week, Sacrilege appeared alongside U2 and The Stranglers! After that the band recorded the demo album 'Gates Of Hell' and embarked on a UK tour that culminated with a gig at the famous Marquee Club in London. It's actually a sore point because that performance took place only about six months before I started to regularly attend gigs at The Marquee so I missed out on seeing them and it would take another 31 years until I finally got my chance! Like so many bands Sacrilege finally called it a day in 1987 and Bill stopped playing completely.
Fast forward to 2007 and Bill decided it was time to dust off the guitar, re-record all the old material and start writing afresh. Several low key album releases (all available at their website) and a few band member changes later and here we are in 2015 with Sacrilege gigging regularly all over the country, a record deal signed and on the verge of releasing their strongest album yet. However, before I get to that, we have 'Ashes To Ashes' which collects fourteen of Sacrilege's best known songs and strongest material from all their releases and comes in at, a near CD maximum length, 80 minutes!
If you aren't familiar with their music (shame on you) then Sacrilege bow at the altar of Black Sabbath meets NWOBHM, but, and this is a very personal opinion, they do it with a very British 1980's Gothic feel in the vein of The Cult and The Mission. It's not an acquired taste but is a very unique one because I really cannot think of another band that merge those genres so well and it certainly separates them from most of the other NWOBHM bands who have reformed in recent years!
As a four piece Sacrilege do not have a dedicated keyboard player but they do use keyboards to good effect in places, check out opener 'The Traveller' for proof, which adds to the theatrical Gothic feel. Many of the songs are also mid paced stompers with the band rarely breaking into third gear! That doesn't mean boredom sets in though as that actually gives Sacrilege their signature sound. Riffs, drums and bass are also far from complicated but, simple as they are, the songs are very catchy and there is some good solo work. It's a similar feel with the vocals. Granted, Bill is no Ronnie James Dio (who is?) but he possesses a good voice, has his own style and it totally fits Sacrilege's music. I doubt someone could ever replace him and sing this material with the same conviction! If you want standout tracks then the trio of 'Ashes To Ashes', 'The Unknown Soldier' and 'Gates Of Hell' which appear towards the end of the album are a good place to start but there isn't anything included here that is subpar or filler!
If you want to hear Sacrilege at their absolute best then you HAVE to see them live because that's where the magic really happens. They have an uncanny ability to completely control a stage and audience. If you combine that with the, usually, theatrical stage set, lighting and pyros it all adds to the majesty and mystery but this is still a very good collection of songs that showcase a terribly underrated band. Sacrilege should have had much better fortune when they were first around but, thanks to Bill's perseverance, and a cracking lineup which now includes Jeff Roland (Bass), Neil Turnbull (Drums) and Tony Vanner (Guitar) they are finally getting a chance to shine.
Andy Sneap, if you are putting a headline Tour for 'Hell' together then get Sacrilege as one of the support acts. That would be a great match up!
Review written exclusively for Brutiful Entertainment by Rick Tilley:
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