The Sanity Days_Evil Beyond Belief 01Just a quick glance over The Sanity Days’ lineup, featuring members who have all, at different points, been part of Onslaught, will make you think you’ve got their style all figured out. It must be aggressive, speedy, killing thrash that they play! And yet, their music has got nothing to do with that. The Sanity Days’ debut Evil Beyond Belief is actually rooted in pretty straightforward heavy metal with thrash remaining a mere mirage hidden in some of the riffs and drum passages. But is this the only surprise they have in store for the listener?

Unfortunately, yes. There’s nothing astonishing nor shocking about this release. Vocalist Steve Grimmett (Lionheart, Grim Reaper), drummer Steve Grice, guitarist Al Jordan, and bassist Jase Stallard indulge in some familiar and somewhat tiresome heavy metal. More than just a part of the retro and revival wave that has struck metal during the past few years, they make music that might as well be streaming directly from the eighties through a metal channeling wormhole of some sort. But, hey, we’ve had year-end lists topped by “retro” bands, we don’t discriminate! The whole “this sounds old” thing wouldn’t be a problem if the songwriting was up to scratch. Unfortunately, again, it’s not. The problem that immediately becomes apparent during the first listen is that the tunes and the album as a whole are just too damn long. This has been an ongoing theme on Angry Metal Guy and The Sanity Days is one of the worst offenders in that regard. The material at hand comes off uninspired because it’s worn thin by endless repetitions. Once again it’s shown that a powerful, rocking riff can be too much of a good thing when repeated too many times. It’s exactly this that ruins “Charlie” and “Evil Beyond Belief,” each sounding mighty promising during their first few minutes.

The exaggerated duration of the songs is also reflected in their structures – they seem messed up and generally off. A lack of direction lingers and certain sections appear artificially inserted and misplaced. By the half point of each of these overly lengthy tunes, you might find yourself waiting impatiently for them to end. It’s just too bad, especially since the guys do sound as if they are having fun. The listeners, on the other hand, might not be. While I had a hard time picking out standouts due to all of the songs feeling quite similar, repeated listens revealed, expectedly, that when the band sticks with shorter cuts, featuring memorable riffs and catchy choruses, they can really nail it. “Satan’s Blood,” “My Demon Mind,” and “Firestorm” are prime examples. The album could have been a true banger if it had been filled with tracks such as these. As it stands, it’s pulled down by ho-hum tunes such as “Ruler of Eternity” (Dio deserves a better song!), “Closer to the Edge,” and the ballad “Broken Wings.”

The Sanity Days_Evil Beyond Belief 02

Repeated listens also revealed some remarkable qualities worth noting. First of all, the singing is excellent with both choruses and verses delivered with conviction by Grimmett’s clean but enthralling rasp. Secondly, there is some good guitar work, several inspired solos (especially on “Charlie”), and solid drumming as well, but these elements don’t stick out that much since the album feels simplistic by design and fails to showcase the musicianship. Finally, the production is great. It’s unusual to hear such a well-produced heavy metal record with just the sound of the drums falling short. As evidenced on “My Last Words,” the snare sounds hollow at times.

At the end of the day and judging by Evil Beyond Belief alone, I’m afraid that The Sanity Days’ might end up relegated to the status of eternal support band. The type of act that’s tight and accomplished, but doesn’t really have the chops to fire up their audience. That would be a shame, and I sure hope their sophomore release will fix some of the issues and focus on the glimpses of greatness presented on Evil Beyond Belief. Till then, I’d rather listen to Satan.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Candlelight Records
Websites: TheSanityDaysOfficial |
Release Dates: Out Worldwide: 02.23.2015

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Quite a number of duds this months, sadly.

    And those long songs. Jeepers…. Some bands, like Ataraxie on L’Être et la Nausée, can pull it off, but others….

  • Okay, so I’m a big Steve Grimmett fan and loved the one album he did with Onslaught, so I immediately checked this out and was prepared to argue the merits. Sadly, Roquentin is right. Writing long uninteresting songs is no way to go through life, son.

    • Roquentin

      I’m with you on that one. I like “In Search of Sanity” even though it is generally disliked in the context of Onslaught records, I think.

      Anyways, I understand that these guys wanted to distance themselves from Onslaught while still using it as a reference. I wouldn’t have minded a record in the style they chose if only it had been good. Oh, well.

  • Wilhelm

    I like this sort of dark heavy metal style, it’s a shame that it is yet another release which overstays its welcome.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    off topic can we expect a Ensiferum review soon?

  • brutal_sushi

    The album demo above gets my dark heavy metal juices flowing, shame.

  • Joosh Devilett

    This album is Brilliant, the production is one of the best I’ve ever heard. The only thing I can say is that it’s not Thrash. It’s way more powerful and mid-tempo. This review is the only one that puts this masterpiece down and must be made by the jealousy that burns in a member of their beloved ex band. Metal Hammer has given it 8/10 as most reviewers have. It’s obvious Angry Metal Guy is sucking an Onslaught cock. Am I right?

    • No, but at least you sound smart and witty.

    • Car crash Candy

      Well said dude. I think you could be right there although what’s to suck any bands dick who are in decline? Neil Turbin had a rough ride with these guys saying the USA tour was a total flop.

  • Car crash Candy

    I bet this guy has never played or written a note of music in his life. Easy to sit a ruin what has taken some guys months to write whilst one of the band was very sick. I personally love this album and think the track is a great tribute to DIO. Crawl back in your corner, probably a loner who takes revenge in your work and as for sucking members of their previous band members dicks, it wouldn’t surprise me if you was a member as they are just as bitter and twisted from what I heard on face book and alike, who by the way gave done a great job of wrecking their reputation with the way they treat everybody and anybody.