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“Sacrifice” was my first exposure to Denmark's SECTION A, a band that, on this album anyways, plays a moderately fast-paced brand of Melodic Metal with some Power and Progressive elements. As with a lot of modern Melodic Progressive Metal, the emphasis is more upon the “Melodic”, and less upon the “Progressive”, which makes it pretty accessible, yet still enjoyable for prog heads. Guitarist Torben Enevoldson offers up some great shred material on a couple of tracks, and Andy Engberg (formerly of LION'S SHARE) does a fine job on vocals, with a reasonably wide range, and some great harmonization as well.
I hear occasional similarities to sounds like FATES WARNING and even a little bit of mid-era NOCTURNAL RITES in sound (could just be me), but SECTION A definitely has their own vibe going here, with a whole lot of slick guitar work, first rate vocals, and good production. In fact, with great strengths all around, “Sacrifice” has the potential to be one of my favorite new emergences from the Progressive Metal scene this summer.
“Heroes” and “Lionheart” have my choice as top picks from the album. The former because of it's absolutely stellar guitar work in both the solo section and the arpeggios which represent the opening riff. It's also probably the single catchiest track, with the possible exception of “Lionheart”, which offers a throwback to some traditional metal stylings, and a strong, singable chorus. “Days of Sorrow” is another great mid-paced rocker with some dynamic and utterly enjoyable fretwork.
Worth pointing out are the fairly uplifting lyrics found in several if not most of the songs on this album. I don't know if this is typical of the band, but it's certainly refreshing, and adds the finishing touch to an already terrific album.
I realize that this album is something of a departure from SECTION A's past work, but I can't help but think that it wasn't a bad step. There's not a lot wrong with this album, and the biggest complaint I can think of is the occasional bit of musical redundancy. Absolutely recommended to anyone who enjoys Progressive/Melodic Metal, and those like myself who find themselves searching for metal with positive lyricism.
Originally written for www.metal-observer.com/