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Album Reviews : Sanctium – Sanctium

By on July 16, 2013

359233You are the kind of person that loves sharing new music with your friends. It helps lesser-known local bands get some much-needed exposure and it means your mates get to experience more good music. It’s a win-win right? Sadly, many of your friends are rather snobbish when it comes to finding new music. When it comes to discovering a band unless they found it themselves they are often not very interested in what you have to recommend. That means you need to be very careful in how you go about your recommendations.

“Have you ever heard of Sanctium?” you ask your friend tentatively. “They are a really cool melodeath band from Sydney!”

Your friend, who inconveniently enough just happens to be the most devoted At the Gates fan in Australia, then slaps you hard across the cheek, “It’s called melodic death metal!”

You stutter an apology as you rub your face. This isn’t going so well but you know you should press on ahead anyway. “They are definitely your sort of thing, chock-full of that Gothenberg sound. Sanctium are basically the Australian Dark Tranquility.”

Your friend raises a hand again, ready to strike you for referring to ‘that Gothenberg sound’ but then pauses. You know that you have caught his attention. “The Australian Dark Tranquility?” Really? What makes you say that?”

You hesitate. Your friend clearly does not think you know enough about melodic death metal to make any sort of informed judgment on the merits of this holy genre. “Well,” you begin hesitantly. “It’s all sort of mid-paced and full of those melodic tremolo-picked riffs plus some melodic interludes and guitar solos and stuff. Oh and it has some really good death growls over the top. Their vocalist is sick!”

Your friend shrugs. “Sounds like I should just listen to Dark Tranquility then. Or At the Gates, they are even better.”

You suppress a shudder at the thought of endless skank beats and the same riff on repeat for 45 minutes so decide to steer the conversation towards better musical territory. “Well there’s more to it than that. There’s some other pretty cool influences that come through, like they have a sort of Lamb of God groove metal thing happening from time to time and there are some very strong Opeth-y moments at times.”

Your friend’s ears perk up. “Opeth you say?”

“Yeah man, the last song on the album, “Enslaved”, is a classic progressive death metal piece. It’s ten times better than anything Opeth have put out for years!”

Your friend scowls. “Well that’s not saying very much is it?”

Dammit, you forgot about Heritage again. You are always doing that. “Yeah but this is the good stuff! It’s got a beautiful jazz solo right in the middle that will send chills up your spine and then this big, thundery, doomy finish to close the album. Easily the best song on the album. I hope they write more stuff like that in the future.”

Your friend nods thoughtfully, obviously bemused by your impassioned rant. “That does sound cool. Although you seem to be suggesting that all the good stuff is contained right at the end…”

“No, no, the rest of it is good t-”

“Really, what are the other stand out tracks?”

“Well I haven’t had it for that long…”

Your friend puts on a smug little smirk. “They all sound the same don’t they?”

Your mind races as you try to dig your way out of this one. You stammer for a little while before realising you’ve lost this one. With a sad sigh you admit the truth. “Yeah, they do.”

Unexpectedly your friend is sympathetic. “Yeah, it’s unfortunate when that happens. It’s one thing to write good music, it’s entirely another to keep the dynamics rolling for the entire album.”

You couldn’t agree more. “It’s a shame there isn’t more of that prog influence! That really would have helped spice things up a bit more.”

“Not everything has to be prog you know. There is other good music out there.”

You bite down a remark about skank beats and cheesy keyboards and try to end this before it gets any more vicious. You know these Swedish metal fans will roast you over an open fire given the slightest provocation. “Just keep an eye on them, ok? They’re the sort of band you wouldn’t want to miss.”

Your friend nods and you can tell you’ve already lost his interest by the way he is stroking his giant Viking beard. Oh well.

His loss.

Band: Sanctium
Album: Sanctium
Year: 2012
Genre: Melodeath Melodic Death Metal
Label: Independent
Origin: Sydney, Australia

Track list:
1. Invoke
2. Ossuary
3. Intent to Maim
4. A Vile Mind
5. No Raison D’etre
6. Aether
7. The Black Gate
8. Enslaved


Sam Maher is Metal Obsession's resident prog reviewer. He only likes songs that are at least 15 minutes long, contain 4 guitar solos and can only be described with a genre that is at least six words long. He also plays guitar for Sydney-based groovy melodic progressive technical death metal band Apparitions of Null.