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Thanks to the GD forums, I’ve discovered some really high quality death metal bands over the past few years. Sanctification was actually a band I really had no idea even existed until I saw them in their forum. Their 2009 release “Black reign” received some pretty high praise, so I procured it along with “Misanthropic salvation”.
I actually heard this album before “Black reign,” and I really didn’t know what to expect when I saw the cover. It looks as if the artist was revisiting a close-up of Amon Amarth’s “Golden hall”, and the logo just reeks of power metal cheese. However, it’s just pure awesomely relentless, brutal death metal as only the Swedish can produce.
The first thing that struck me about the album on first listen was, of course, the annoyingly shoddy production. The root of the problem is the Kataklysmically bad drum sound that’s just plain ugly and way too loud. The tone sounds like there are more triggers than a Roy Rogers cosplay convention (what a stupid metaphor that no one will get), and it actually begins to ruin the overall quality of the album much like Kataklysm’s “Serenity in fire.”
Additionally, the bass is reminiscent of Immolation’s “Shadows in the light” in that it comes comes across as nothing more than an incessant low end rumble with no clarity or character whatsoever. Those two instruments overpowering the guitars and vocals in the mix makes this somewhat of a difficult listen on the first attempt.
Luckily, none of it really matters. Sanctification is far too good of a band to allow any production snafus to bring the overall quality of this album down. Make no mistake, these guys can create some world class death metal tunes that feature everything you could want. They have groove, technicality, and brutality in spades.
In spite of the production, the songwriting begins to reveal its true quality the more times you listen through the album, which doesn’t take long (It clocks in at just a shade over 28 minutes, and that includes a 57-second intro track that I think I’ve skipped every time I’ve played the album). After a while, it’s almost as if your ear begins to grow accustomed to the mix, and you start to pick out what proves to be some pretty ace riffing, courtesy of Tomas Elofsson.
There’s really not a weak moment to speak of on the album. Every track is well-written and catchy, and you can definitely start to see that this band was beginning to move toward the upper echelon of Europe’s quality death metal bands. With “Black reign,” I wouldn’t hesitate to say that they truly arrived at that level.
The overall score for this one would be a little higher with a better production, but these guys really impress me nonetheless.
Written for globaldomination.se
My god, the music on this album is the exact opposite of what I expected from the cover art; I was under the incredibly mistaken impression that this would be some melodic, perhaps slightly gothic variety of death metal that I would listen to twice and summarily dismiss. This couldn't be further from the truth, though, as Sanctification in fact is preoccupied with cloning the sound of a certain band that makes my heart go pitter-patter: Sweden's Aeon. Sanctification's style of pounding, ruthless death metal greatly resembles that of the more known band, and while that may not appeal to a large section of the metal-listening populace, there's little I can think of that pleases me more.
If you've heard Aeon, you've heard Sanctification, but the latter band might be even more ruthless and savage than the former. Sanctification's songs are bare and ferocious, generally hovering right around two minutes in length and wasting no time in getting to the hammering blast beats and grinding tremolo riffs. Vocals have the same roaring and demonic quality of Aeon, and the general aesthetic of flat yet ultra-heavy and forward production and blistering playing style is very reminiscent of that band. At the same time, even Aeon had greater dynamics than Sanctification, where the only reprieve on this album is a bare-bones intro track which is immediately smashed and cast aside like a broken doll by the first full-fledged track. This is enormously wrathful music, so single-minded and binary in nature that it would become droning ala 'Transilvanian Hunger' if the songs had a lifespan of over a couple minutes.
Yes, this is incredibly static music, but it's also incredibly satisfying, at least if you can enjoy the 'brutality reigns supreme' aesthetic that this album cultivates. The simple and brute force that this album carries really does bowl the listener over, and the short running time of the album overall allows this sort of incredibly narrow approach to function without getting stale. It's hard to describe this music because it's so primal and carnal in nature; it's an album that is specifically focused on hate and essentially nothing else, and it's up to the prospective listener to decide whether they'd like to here an exploration of the idea that's more focused on volume than depth. Personally, I love it and think that any added complexity would ruin the sheer fury that this album carries.
This is certainly not music for those who think 'Panzer Division Marduk' is excessive, or even for those who crave any real variety of melody in their metal, but for those who indulge in the grim, militaristic variety of brutal death metal practised by Aeon, there's no better an album to pick up.
Aeon's a kickass Swedish band with a heavy nod towards the Deicide style of song and lyric writing. With it's over the top aggression, relentless trigger happy drumming and barbaric way of forcing metal right into your brain and out yer ass with little to no thought of subtlety, Aeon is pretty much for the DeathMetal fan who craves it in your face and always nothing but. But then they write love songs to Lucifer and my goodness is that terrible...
Here's where a band like Sanctification comes in. These lyrics are terrible, but luckily not terrible to the point of being parody, nor can you understand what he's saying anyway! Terrible as in ''he obviously thought about 2 minutes to come up... 2 minutes of lyrics'' Just the same near nonsensical crap about killing and being destine for hell and blah blah from one song to the next. Thankfully there is no love poems to the dark lord, but then gay-bashing Christians for having a lord and saviour obsessed with oral sex (yet you want to be Satan's bride and that's not just as gay?), no sir Sanctification says ''to hell with decent lyrics, let's just worship Deicide musically!''
So what we have left fellow readers and headbangers is a tribute to Deicide's cross roads between ''Once Upon the Cross'' & ''Serpents of the Light'' along with a touch of Morbid Angel pre-Domination, and the -go-go-go attitude of Deranged, though not as catchyas any of these.
If you haven't heard Aeon you will force me to try harder in this review because sonically it's the same band but without great solos or double tracked vocals. Speaking of vocals, Mathias has a good but lacking in personality growl, it's somewhat dry but not totally hoarse, and he has a pretty good tone in general but he doesn't enunciate hardly at all, think a voice akin to Masse Broberg's work with God Among Insects and you have a close idea.
The riff style is rhythmic and cyclic and never strays too far in terms of tempo or time shifts so don't expect 15 riffs in 2 minutes, but it's also not entirely repetitive either. Hooks aren't found often but do occur in songs like ''Summoning the Ancient Ones'' and ''Necrolord''. Bass rumbles under the guitar and while it can't be heard to well you can detect when it's used to flesh out some of the more open ended riffs (again pointing towards ''Summoning the Ancient Ones’’ for a prime example). Drum work is trigger heavy,(might as well be a drum machine haha!), the double bass work is EXTREMELY fast and tight (this man later went on to join Aeon), and some of the fills and rolls are so quick you won’t really detect them without headphones. Besides some drums fills not making their way into your mind immediately, the production is full and clear; very modern but not clinical or unnatural (besides of cours the overly triggers drum kit).
The problem here is while it’s rather intense and raging, the songs get kind of “samey” and if you play this album once or twice it will all blur together; and that’s always an awful flaw to leave an album burdened with. Repeated listens will expose some of the songs being filler and some others as being the direction the band should head into (the band is at it’s best using the rolling double bass ala the track ‘’Misanthropic Salvation’’). I recommend this album with caution, this is certainly for fans of Aeon, Deicide, early Morbid Angel, Krisiun , L6b6t6my and even in some small ways- Deranged; but if these bands don’t float your boat you’ll with good reason dismiss Sanctification.
However if you DO like all those bands I mentioned (and I know I do!) then you will see Sanctification for what they are ‘’one more DeathMetal band that kickass and takes name and doesn’t care what anybody thinks of them’’
Hearing Sanctification's Demo 01-02 motivated me to try this cd. After the intro, which I assume is taken from some horror movie or something, it kicks off to an unrelenting start. Much the same as the demo, the songs are short, fast, furious, and the musicianship is tight. The production is of course a hell of a lot better on here than on the demo, everything is crystal clear. Yes, this is good death metal, Sanctification know what they are doing. They mix things up enough so that it doesn't get boring, and perhaps having the short songs has something to do with this. Although this cd is just under half an hour, I suspect that the songs would start to sound the same were it any longer. There really isn't all that much a band can do harking back to American death metal, but Sanctification manage to keep things fairly fresh, interesting, and certainly worthy of headbanging along. A good album here, check it out - 72%