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Mid-Paced Mayhem. - 86%

Metal_Jaw, March 7th, 2013

A little more than two years later after their solid, strong 3rd studio album, Sacrifice returned to the studio with helpful funding from Metal Records. The result was album number four, "Apocalypse Inside". Unlike the fairly straightforward thrashing of the last few albums, "Apocalypse Inside" is a little different. The songs on here are primarily of a mid-paced nature, rarely reaching the classic Sacrifice style of beating you fucking senseless with riffs. The songs also feel somewhat raw in nature and stripped down, with lyrics, while not so far as to be avant garde, are cryptic and tense; seemingly they talk about the human mind and body from a macabre point of view. It is these factors that make "Apocalypse Inside" an interesting listen, even if it's not as satisfying in a straightforward manner as their previous works.

It is interesting to note that this is the only Sacrifice studio effort without the original lineup. Yes, the man out is drummer Gus Pynn, replaced by one Michael Rosenthal. No, not "let me tell you a story of me mum, dad or teacher" MIke Rosenthal, but another more obscure Michael Rosenthal who only drummed for this album. His efforts are solid, workmanlike thrash drumming comparable to Pynn's, but lacking the technicality. The bass of Scott Watts is sadly very understated in the mix, so I can't speak much for him; sad considering the more raw tone of the album. Joe Rico can spit up some nice leads and particularly some good solid riffs when so inclined, though on "Apocalypse Inside" he seems to scale down his efforts into more of a type of thrashy noodling at times. Rob Urbinati's rhythm attacks are still pretty solid, though again he scales back his efforts into a more groovish crawling. His voice is still that harsh and venomous tone, but again for the album's style he restrains himself, particularly on those nasty screams and screeches he likes to let loose.

When I initially listened to this album, I mistakenly thought to myself that Sacrifice where creating something to compete at the time with groove metal, without actually going groove. In sense maybe they were, but maybe it was a genuine stylistic change. Who knows; I sure as doody don't. The album begins decently enough with "My Eyes See Red", one of those short, primarily instrumental openers Sacrifice likes to start their albums with, though this one doesn't hold my interest even for its minute 2:24 run time. The pace picks up stronger in the title track, one of my favorites on here for the faster pace, a handsome solo and the addictive main riff. The album shows its true colors in the chugging, catchy "Flesh", and most of the rest of the album stays at this gloomy, mid-paced style of thrash. This tends to make the songs run together a little, and some aren't as interesting as they could be, but most fare well. "Salvation" and "Beneath What You See" offer a bevy of tense, booming grooves, slicing solos and dark, psychological lyrical content. The fearsome "Incarcerated" and the rhythm-heavy, charging closer "Freedom Slave" offer us faster content in case we were getting bored with the slower stuff. The only song I don't fully recommend is "The Lost", a too-slow half groove number that feels like it wants to let loose but never does.

Overall, from its indecipherable cover art to the stripped own style of the music to the dark, morbid lyrics, "Apocalypse Inside" is probably the most unusual record in Sacrifice's small discography. It's not my favorite of theirs, but like "Soldiers of Misfortune" I will recognize it as a solid, well-done album. The bandmates put forth good efforts and show great maturity in restraining their abilities, and most of the songs are quite interesting to hear, if not overtly memorable. I recommend "Apocalypse Inside" if you're interested, in slower, less traditional-sounding thrash metal.