Sacred Outcry – Damned for All Time Review

Gather ’round, everyone, I have some introductions to make. Angry Metal Guy Community-Monstrous-Entity-Blob-Thing, this is Sacred Outcry. Sacred Outcry, Angry Metal Guy Community-Monstrous-Entity-Blob-Thing. Don’t worry; they’re more afraid of you than you are of them. Sacred Outcry formed in 1998, and are now releasing their debut album, Damned for All Time in—pardon? Yes, this is their debut album, twenty-two years later. You’ve got to hand it to these guys, that is some dedication to the dream. The band plays power metal with traditional metal overtones, enough to keep their riffs interesting and your skin lightly scorched. An album this long in the making has a lot to live up to—do Sacred Outcry succeed? Can they succeed?

Sure they can, and yes, they do! The years held by the album feel like an asset more than a curse; there is a welcome blend of era-tropes that work very well together under the loving guidance of the years the album spent being produced. “Legion of the Fallen,” for example, is a gold mine of modern power metal. It’s heavy, catchy, and blends big guitars with memorable strings and massive vocals. “Where Ancient Gods Are Still Hailed,” on the other hand, is mellower, opening with that picked arpeggio electric guitar goodness from days gone by. You might expect the blend of styles to be a bit jarring, but the album’s modern polish ties everything together to give it a good sense of flow.

Fortunately, the second strength of Damned for All Time is the songwriting. “Sacred Outcry” isn’t leaving anyone’s head for a while, and “Crystal Tears” is a power ballad like all power ballads should be – big and emotional while still being heavy enough to be moving. That the performances across the album are exemplary helps things too. Band members have credits that include such acts as On Thorns I Lay, The Eternal Suffering, and Beast in Black, and bring their all to Damned for All Time. In particular, Yannis Papadopoulos absolutely kills it on vocals, ranging between rough shouting and plaintive singing in a higher range—and this guy’s voice reaches high. Papadopoulos rides on waves generated by catchy leads and heavy riffs, with a well-mixed low end and the occasional acoustic guitar thrown in as a treat. Everything works well together, and Damned for All Time winds up a cohesive whole that sounds plain fantastic.

Remarkably, there is very little about the hour-long runtime that feels repetitive. This is generally my fear with power metal—that eventually, all of it blurs together and ends up sounding the same. Sacred Outcry, however, manage to imbue each song on Damned for All Time with its own identity, and each song showcases band strengths (and the occasional weakness). “Scared to Cry” is the album ballad, emotional and heartfelt, distinguished from “Crystal Tears” is approach and style, but not in feeling. “Sacred Outcry” is a straightforward power metal extravaganza, while “Legion of the Fallen” takes a more progressive approach in the same vein. The formula and variety work really well up to the end of the album, where the 15-minute title track precedes the seven-minute closer. It’s here that the album begins to stumble a bit; the band’s songwriting is as sharp as ever, but the excessive length attributed to these past two tracks never really pays off. They’re good songs, but putting such length right at the end of the album breaks its flow, and I’m not convinced that the title track needs to be as long as it is. This breaks my immersion a little on each listen, and is one of few flaws in a very strong album.

Sacred Outcry offer a refreshing take on modern power metal. The band’s influence includes light strokes of the brush from all over the last two decades, but still manages to form an enjoyable, catchy, and wonderfully heavy whole. Damned for All Time stands a step above its contemporaries, and so it should—22 years is a long time to wait, and I can only imagine the band is thrilled for their creation to finally be seeing the light of day. I just really, really hope we can hear the sophomore album before 2042.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: No Remorse Records
Websites: |
Released Worldwide: September 25th, 2020

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