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Sacred Oath - "Sacred Oath" (CD)

Sacred Oath - "Sacred Oath" CD cover image

"Sacred Oath" track listing:

1. Paradise Lost
2. Blood Storm
3. Buried Alive
4. Voodoo Dolls
5. Counting Zeros
6. Caught In The Arc
7. Mistress Of The Setting Sun
8. High And Mighty
9. Wings Of Salvation
10. Order Of The System Lords
11. Sacred Oath
12. What The Dark Will Undo
13. Scourge Of Sin
14. Hunt For The Fallen Angel

Reviewed by on July 14, 2009

"'Counting Zeros' and 'High And Mighty' also seem to talk about the recent past, with lyrics in 'High And Mighty' like 'Lie after lie, another soldier dies,' that seem directed right at President Bush. "

Sacred Oath's self-titled disc has the sense of being in two places at once. On one hand, the music and vocals are evocative of the band's early 80's heyday; on the other, the lyrics are definitely focused on the present — or at least the very recent past. It's that dissonance, along with some fairly uninspired songwriting, that makes this a merely OK power metal album, despite the impressive musical chops of its members.

The album's opener, "Paradise Lost," begins with some good, almost thrashy riffing, before turning into something more power metal in nature. Vocalist Rob Thorne's vocals are infused with an interesting growl up until the chorus, which turns into a Steve Perry-style crooning, complete with the not-quite scream that leads into the solo. That's when things start sounding dated, despite the lyrics about "One leader leading us into a disaster," that ask us "how long until blood turns to oil?" I will say that Thorne and Bill Smith do some good guitar work, despite the dated sound.

"Counting Zeros" and "High And Mighty" also seem to talk about the recent past, with lyrics in "High And Mighty" like "Lie after lie, another soldier dies," that seem directed right at President Bush. Maybe it's just that I'm listening to this album in the "Obama Age," but those lyrics already sound old to me.

That's not to say that there aren't some moments of great energy on the album. "Caught In The Arc" starts out with a speedy, thrashy energy and features some great shout-along background vocals, along with a splendid solo.

Sure, it's campy, cheesy and oh-so-very-80's, but "Sacred Oath," the song, brought a smile to my face with its falsetto vocals and guitar breaks. Still, unless you're a big 80's power metal fan, this "Sacred Oath" probably isn't one you ought to take.

Highs: The high-energy "Caught In The Arc," the cheesy-but-fun "Sacred Oath."

Lows: Dated sound and clumsy lyrics cloud songs like "Paradise Lost" and "High And Mighty."

Bottom line: If you're a big power metal fan, or caught the band back in the day, this disc's for you. Otherwise, skip it.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)