Anyone searching for heavy metal’s oft-inaccurate/-unproven/-scoffable stereotypes and cliches would have ample ammunition in Sacred Steel’s third album, Bloodlust. Thus, a cursory read of its song titles: “Blood on My Steel,” “Throne of Metal,” “Sacred Warriors of Steel,” and the penultimate one, “Metal is War” – seriously, no shittin’ ya. And though Manowar rocked this style of absurdity har-har-hard, one too many bands of punters have followed in their wake, donning swords and chain mail (cool), conspicuously copping said band’s brand of power-thrash (not too cool), and seemingly drafting the most squarely yelped of frontmen (way uncool). In short, what was once good, bombastic fun became, over time, dumbastic drudgery.
Not that Sacred Steel is any more guilty than anyone else on, say, the cheez-wizzed LMP roster, but there’s more than just one fundamental problem existent on Bloodlust. First and foremost is head-yelper Gerrit P. Mutz, whose warbled wheeze is the summation of all the excesses of Geddy Lee, Geoff Tate, and Mighty Mouse. Like the crest of the same wave crashing on different shores, Mutz’s melodies persistently follow the same awkward, high-on-hydrogen trajectory, the only difference between one vocal line and the other being the context (i.e., song). With Mutz in tow, then, the German band’s capably melodic, Teutonic-sheened speed metal goes from credibility to laughability (the second fundamental problem) – the loosely narrative Conan The Barbarian-esque lyrics notwithstanding, of course. Sure, bands like Sacred Steel may have commercial clout in der Vaterland, but that doesn’t mean we need yet another one to land their records over here. Let Germany and Japan (the other country guilty of perpetuating this mess) have ’em, I say.
Metal Blade Records, 2828 Cochran St., Suite 302, Simi Valley, CA 93065-2793; http://www.metalblade.com