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Yes, I can’t stand most Gothenburg nowadays, too. However, back in the day between At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity, and In Flame stood a band better than all three combined (no joke). Their style resembles more of the classical / baroque approach of other bands in their league like Without Grief or hell even early At The Gates / Dark Tranquillity. Despite this similarity, this band really, really kicked it up a notch, slaying any expectations you dove in with and setting the standard high for anything else in the genre. Shit, I can’t even listen to over half of the melodic death genre anymore because most of it sucks compared to these guys.
Musically, this album is very dark; it’s more natural than studio dark, since everything feels like a gust of the outdoors: the washing distortion, melancholic acoustic / clean lapses, and Svensson shrieking like the earth letting loose all of its rage. Michael Andersson on the first few tracks has some throaty growls that, while competent, don't stand a chance against Daniel’s monstrous vocals. Most of the album encompasses his mutilated black metal screams, but his demonic roar of a growl is where the ferocity meets the right balance of intricacy.
I mean FFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUU…
He should be growling for In Flames! Not like In Flames uses growls anymore (Anders hasn’t actually growled since The Jester Race), but god damn it’d be a step in the right direction. The vocals are very balanced in the mix (as is the whole album) and are the final layer on the cake that makes this music much less watered down and way more lethal than most any other melodic death band. Not only that, but his drumming is far better here than with In Flames: precise, blistering, finely produced (no stupid hollow drums), loads of catchy double bass and catchy rhythms… holy shit, I actually prefer the drumming in some cases than the leads themselves.
Now that’s a ballgame of its very own – the leads. The distortion isn’t killer, but it plays a fantastic role in drowning the listener and throwing them in a tornado of demolishing riffs and superbly crafted melodic leads. Every song flows like a written orchestration, but without sappy violins stealing the show. There are classical tinges everywhere, and most of the songs run without losing their intensity. It’s a heavy and fast album, but there never seems to be a dull moment. My one complaint is that they didn’t write an epic monolith of a song, but I’ll suffice with what they offer. What seems so innocent in even the last track (an acoustic instrumental with some strings accompanying) just sounds so awe-striking without even showing off.
One album out of the blue and they annihilated Dark Traquillity's, At The Gates', and In Flames' entire discography. It’s not even a contest - Sacrilege flat out win. Add the second album, and they just took over the Gothenburg scene.
A bit of a melodic death metal gem is what Sacrilege has produced here on “Lost in the Beauty You Slay”. They are very similar in style to the one pursued by other Swedish bands of the genre, without sounding like copycats. Songs are individually strong, rather short and concise, often following the verse-chorus formula with the occasional interlude to break up the tempo and allowing the songs time to breathe. In general, it’s melody before aggression, song-writing and catchiness before pure aggression, and it’s all the better for it.
The vocals are split between Michael Andersson (first three songs), who has a lighter screeching voice that is adequate but no more, and drummer Daniel Svensson(the rest) who is equipped with a darker, more growling-type throat. His vocals are superbly brutal and adds a lot to the album.
Guitars are varied without being particularly complex, focusing on melody as opposed to weighty riffing. The bass is actually allowed some space in this production, shining through on the title track with good effect. The drumming of Daniel Svensson is very well performed, and lays a good foundation for the songs to build upon.
There is something superbly appealing about this record, a certain charm to the music that makes it more than a regular death metal offering. It’s hard to really put your finger on it, but it’s that special little spice of something extra that makes this one a truly memorable effort.
Melodic Death/Gothenburg is far from a popular style among metal elitists, it seems. However, I think if they had a taste of this band, their icy hearts would melt.
Once the project of current In Flames drummer Daniel Svensson, Sacrilege add just the right amount of melody to their Swedish death metal attack. The first three songs aren't quite as good as the rest of the album in terms of vocals (Mikael Andersson does vocals on these tracks). But when Svensson takes over, it's total fucking devastation! He manages to incorporate both a guttural growl not out of place on an old Grave or Dismember album, as well as a more shrill, high pitched shriek one would almost expect to find on a black metal release. Very well done, Daniel!
The guitars (thankfully) are not the chugging repetition of most Gothenburg bands--there are actually REAL RIFFS! And some kick ass riffs, at that. They never beat a riff to death, incorporating enough variance to make the album interesting; at the same time, it is similar enough to ensure the album is very tight and cohesive. Nothing really seems out of place. The drumming is great, demonstrating Svensson's versatility behind a kit. He is a very able blastbeat drummer, and is also very quick on the double kick. Something that also impressed me were his drum fills--not a single piece of his kit goes untouched in a given song. A bit pretentious, maybe, but it adds some flair to each track.
My only real complaint would probably be the bass. There's no stroke of originality, and it's pretty much overshadowed by the superb drumming. Alas, it is only a small detail--this album will SLAY YOU!
Bottom line: If you like melodeath, you need to hear this. If you don't like Melodeath, you still need to fucking hear this.