Solitary Sabred _ Redemption Through ForceI made the error of listening to Solitary Sabred’s new album at work. Half-way through opener “Disciples of the Sword” I was being restrained by security: apparently it’s “against office policy” to strip to your underwear, lather yourself in baby oil, adopt the power stance and wave a poster-tube around your head pretending it’s a sword (why I keep baby oil at the office is my business, OK?). After negotiating my release and handing in all lipid-based products to management, I returned to Redemption through Force and, with great willpower and a solid neck restraint, listened to the whole thing without further disturbance. I am pleased to report it was entirely worth estranging all my colleagues for.

The intro lets you know exactly what kind of insanely epic metal you are about to be treated to: starting with a slow, simple acoustic guitar passage accompanied by synth strings and a fantastically hammed-up voiceover about the 12th century siege of Jerusalem, the song turns heavy 50 seconds in, adds battle sounds (of course), then introduces you to the mighty pipes of Petros “Asgardlord” Leptos. “Cripes, that’s a very high note he’s hit there” I thought, just as he went even higher. “Disciples of the Sword” kicks straight in afterwards and, well, you already know all you need to about that.

Following on from this rousing opening, “Stigmata of Pain” slows things down and increases the heaviness – think Doomsword fronted by Eric Adams. “Redeemer” is part Manowar, part Judas Priest, with Leptos’ vocals channeling the best aspects of Adams and Rob Halford, plus a pinch of Tim Baker’s (Cirith Ungol) unhinged delivery. “Burn Magic, Black Magic” adds a bit of Iced Earth to the mix, while “Sarah Lancaster (the Witch’s Breed)” ups the Manilla Road content. Penultimate track “Revelation” is the highlight of the album, crashing in at full speed with total vocal insanity before catching you off-guard with a surprisingly stirring, yet still heavy section featuring a fantastic vocal melody that will be ripe for sing-alongs in the live arena.

Solitary Sabred_2014

This all works so well because the band has done a marvelous job of integrating all these influences into their own distinctive approach to power metal. The songs are quite diverse – each track has its own character, but still very much belongs with the others, and this helps keep the album exciting for every one of its forty-three magnificent minutes. Leptos’ vocals make a significant contribution to this variety. He knows exactly when to use each facet of his voice, not overdoing the crazed rasping or Halfordian screeches, but balancing them with his powerful mid-range to complement each song.

I have two small criticisms of this otherwise fine metalwork. Firstly, an album this epic deserves epic guitar solos; those we’re offered are functional rather than spectacular. Secondly, the record has been afflicted with the curse of low dynamic range. The guitar sound is suitably aggressive and the drums are fat and full, but the bass gets a bit lost and it’s all pretty condensed. This is most noticeable on the intro, when the incredible initial vocal is robbed of some of its power that a greater dynamic range would have afforded.

Still, these are quite minor points when the music is this majestic. Solitary Sabred have delivered what might be the best power metal album of 2014, showing the rest of the pack exactly how to make an epic metal record that sounds classic but distinctive, and without an overdose of cheese. No mean feat for an unsigned band from Cyprus. [And that cover rivals the one from the Battle Beast debut for sheer cheese whizardry.Steel Druhm].


Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 160 kbps MP3
Label: Self Released
Website: solitarysabred.com | facebook.com/sabredmetal
Release Date: EU: 2014,10.06  |  NA: 10.07.2014

 

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  • RagE

    Something tells me im gonna love this

  • Jean-Luc Ricard

    Oh wow I hadn’t realised how badly the lyrics fitted the phrasing until I just watched that lyric video. Extra awesome points.

  • Jukka Alanen

    “Solitary Sabred”? Really? At least that’s easy to remember. :)

  • JL

    LOL those have to be some of the most over the top power metal vocals I have heard possibly ever. I can’t decide if i like them or hate them.

    • Jean-Luc Ricard

      You fucking love them.

  • JL

    Are you guys going to review the new Decapitated? It’s awesome.

    • Tomorrow.

      • Shawn Cypher

        So much good stuff to come. I just heard the new Primordial track on YouTube, hell I didn’t know they even had a new album coming out.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Mmmmm lipids…. Great review dude.

    • Jean-Luc Ricard

      Cheers!

  • Excentric_1307

    I kinda knew what to expect in the vocals from the review, but damn! Those vocal acrobatics have to be heard to be believed.

  • Oberon

    First and foremost, what is the power stance? I won’t be able to get this album till i get to a respectable beer producing country, can it top Louder than Hell?

    • Click on the words “power stance” in the review and find out.

  • Whoa, this is fucking over the toAHHHP!

  • TminusEight

    Dude, I’m at work and I just about got my sword out just reading this review! I don’t know if any album could live up to that epic intro but I’ll be sure to give it a shot when I get home tonight. Cheers.

    • Jean-Luc Ricard

      Yes, it is best only to unleash your mighty weapon when in the comfort of your own bedroom.

  • Kalsten

    I have to admit that I am dissappointed. When someone is compared to Eric Adams, I expect much more. While Eric Adams high pitch screams always ends with a beautiful vibrato and tend to become wider the more he holds the note, the singer from Solitary Sabred is a souless screaming machine. He gets to very high notes (much higher than currently Eric Adams, but he is much younger), but he sounds like a kid who got a testicle trapped by a door.

    • Jean-Luc Ricard

      Did you listen to the tracks other than the embedded one? “Sarah Lancaster” is a particularly extreme example of the over-the-top vocals, which was where my reference to Tim Baker’s crazy delivery style came from. The high pitched stuff sounds more like Halford than Adams, but often his delivery and particularly the mid-range singing definitely has a lot of Adams’ qualities (see e.g. “Burn Magic, Black Magic” or “Damnation”). Great variety over the album.

      There’s nothing “beautiful” about it, but this isn’t beautiful music…

      • Kalsten

        I couldn’t find the whole album anywhere to listen to (bandcamp, Spotify…) so I did only listen to the song you put in the review, and another one I found in Youtube.

        I’ll try to find it somehow.

  • De2013

    Listening to the embedded video, the vocals sounded a bit like if Rob Halford had swallowed the Chipmunks.

  • Malev Draizhen

    I can’t believe the whole review went by without mentioning King Diamond, the embedded song is literally 100% inspired by songs on “Them” and “Conspiracy”

    • Stelios Pasiardis

      i know i’m 2 years late, but exactly my thoughts.

  • Jean-Luc Ricard

    Awesome! Cheers m/

  • FutureBeyondSatan

    Finally got my copy. Well worth the wait. This dude can wail!!!!

  • You like Cirith Ungol. We should become friends. Friends who ride majestic, translucent steeds, shooting flaming arrows across the bridge of Hemdale.

    • I was raised on Cirith Ungol, so I want in on that steed and arrow special.

      • I would follow you into the mists of Avalon if that’s what you mean.

  • Requiem

    Jesus christ, I just can’t deal with those vocals…