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Solid, energetic and very promising - 82%

Leechmaster, November 22nd, 2009

Often falling victim to numerous stereotypes due to their beliefs and ideology, many bands from the Christian death metal scene have generally been disregarded as a result of this, and in some cases undeservedly so. While many bands from the genre deserve to be dismissed purely because they write terrible music, one band that has been improperly overlooked is German death metal act Sacrificium. The band’s debut Cold Black Piece of Flesh was quite a promising effort, despite being hampered by poor production and an imbalanced mix, however, it is simply pale in comparison to their second album Escaping the Stupor. Although it’s not the most original record ever, it’s still an incredibly powerful, energetic and catchy release, not to mention brutal as shit while still retaining an ample amount of melody to it.

Throwing nods to a vast array of bands, Sacrificium’s Escaping the Stupor is quite versatile; drawing upon many influences ranging from the Bolt Thrower inspired riffing in “Extinction of Mankind” and “Revelation of Justice,” to the vocalist’s black metal shrieks prevalent throughout the entire album. While usually quite subtle, some influences tend towards becoming overly explicit at times, particularly the Bolt Thrower influence which is also evident in the prolonged fade-in of “As Silence Dies.” Now with that being said, it’s certainly not as if there’s anything wrong with that, because y’know, it’s fucking Bolt Thrower we’re talking about here. The majority of the riffs however, are firmly rooted in Swedish death metal and are clearly inspired by Bloodbath in a big way; guitar tone and all. There are also some Gothenburg influenced riffs to be found, with the verse of one of the stand-out tracks “Towards the Edge of Degeneration,” featuring an infectiously catchy groove, as well as these abstract chord progressions which almost wander into prog territory.

The vocals are also heavily influenced by Bloodbath, with the vocalist’s deep to mid-range growls reminiscent of ex-frontman Peter Tägtgren’s punishing gutturals. His higher-pitched shrieks on the other hand sound like they’ve been recorded by an entirely separate vocalist, as they bare much more resemblance to black metal than death metal. Nevertheless, they are also really impressive despite being rather monotonous, and accompany lyrical content that is fortunately devoid of any ridiculous lyrics which unsubtly urge you to start praisin’ Jesus and accept him as our saviour. However, the actual lyrics aren’t exactly noteworthy either, and the bass doesn’t offer much as well, as it is practically inaudible apart from a few grooves in the half-time sections.

One of the album’s main problems is the scarce amount of leads and solos, and what makes it even more disappointing is that the few that do occur are incredibly remarkable, and it’s a real shame that they’re so limited. Another hindrance is that they’re far too low in the mix as well, and it’s annoying that the epic solos in “I Am the Enemy,” and “Of Traumatic Memories and Tears” are so weak and aren’t at the forefront of the music. Other than that, the production is incredible, with every instrumental nuance sounding immaculately clear and refined perfectly. The drums really benefit from this excellent job, with his pounding blast-beats, barrages of double bass and tight cymbal and fill work sounding incredible.

Setting an excellent example for how Christian death metal should sound, Escaping the Stupor is a really solid release packed with loads of insane riffs and grooves, high energy and catchy song-writing. While it isn’t exactly the most original release ever, it still makes for an extremely enjoyable and memorable listen which definitely does not deserve to be overlooked as it undeservedly has been by far too many.