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Sanctus Infernum : Sanctus Infernum

Sanctus Infernum’ music is like a heavy charge of cavalry. I’m not speaking of blood horses but far more of fat and somewhat clumsy plough ones. The band plays a curious blend of Doom, Death, Thrash, Heavy and yes, there’s even some Black Metal to be found in this début self titled album. You clearly feel that the band wishes to escape the beaten paths, to get a bit free from all the dogma. Very well, but Sanctus Infernum will not build a new church, because the result is a failure.

The technical level is good: the solos are well executed but never original (I would say they are very insignificant), the rhythm section is relentless as you expect, yet, in fact, one could say it is so "in place", so standard that you don't even hear it. The problem is elsewhere: in the very core of the music. It lacks energy and soul. I wouldn't, however, venture to say it lacks conviction. After all, I'm not in the musicians' mind; maybe they just can't do any better, maybe they're happy with the result. As a matter of fact, I think everything falls a little flat. Mainly the voice is to blame: it’s a kind of aggressive rasp filtered by some synthetic effect (I perceive it that way in any case). It is completely dehumanized and blank, without variation and without emotion.

Sanctus Infernum's music is devoid of subtlety, brilliance and variety. Each track is built on the same structure, always repeated: let's yell and put the guitars on the "steamroller" mode…let's play frantic drums and let's scratch the fat bass. It is almost impossible to distinguish one track from the next. It is ultra basic and ultimately really exhausting. If I were asked: "What is Metal?" I could answer: "Listen to Sanctus Infernum." On the surface, it is brutal and dark with solos and bits of groove. But down deeper, it is basic, academic and typical.

Can we save something in this debacle? without a doubt the acoustic guitar's arpeggios. But they only help a little to bring the atmosphere that you seek in vain elsewhere. These all too shy notes can sometimes clarify the sticky mud. At these rare moments, you'll wish you were listening to a more varied album, where all the different influences would not be melted together into a compact magma where nothing juts out and hooks the attention. You'd wish it were the kind of concoction where each ingredient would be recognizable, keeping its peculiar flavour and, when combined with others, would produce new and perhaps exciting combinations. Anyway, for the time being, it's not even close.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Flesh Without Sin
2. God Unto Myself
3. The Journey Back
4. Facing The Black
5. Suffer
6. Waking The Dead
7. What Calm Is Without Storm
8. Let It Be So

Duration : Approx. 45 minutes.

Visit the Sanctus Infernum bandpage.

Reviewed on 12-05-2009 by Bertrand marchal
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