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Average shred material - 70%

concertmusic, September 26th, 2006

Thirty seconds into the first track, and I find myself reaching for the CD case to make sure I had not mistakenly hit Play for a Yngwie Malmsteen CD - alas, no mistake made; it's not Yngwie, but I forgave myself very quickly for thinking so. The US band The Reign of Terror may well be familiar to guitar shred fans, but were, until this here CD "Sacred Ground", released in 2001, not on my radar.

Instead of Yngwie doing the mad shredding, the axe wielder in this band is Joe Stump. We have 12 tracks, and two of them are the requisite instrumentals (guitar and keyboard atmospherics in one, acoustic guitar for the other); on the other ten tracks Joe Stump is backed by his band (vocals, bass, drums, keyboards). The other reason for my earlier mistake became clear after looking up this factoid: the vocalist here, one Michael Vescera, has in the past performed the same duties for none other than Mr. Malmsteen.

To be honest, while I occasionally enjoy this kind of music, it is not my favorite genre - there is just too much super-fast guitar noodling, which, while certainly impressive, also tends to become monotonous after about 5 tracks. The song structures are also similar enough to make the songs quickly blend into each other. "The Unknown" was the only song that made me look up the song title - the others were all one big morass of guitar-overloaded metal.

If you're into this kind of metal in the first place, you will certainly enjoy this CD - I'll keep it handy if I feel the need for maximum notes-per-minute metal.