Sacred Warrior – “Waiting in Darkness”


Sacred Warrior Artwork 2012I remember many years ago going to the bookstore to order my first Sacred Warrior cd, “Rebellion” along with a Bloodgood cd, and I still have the cd, and its still like new. At the time I was just experiencing Christian metal, and those two bands just stood out for me at the time. So its A privilege to be able to sit down and review Sacred Warrior’s latest release “Waiting in Darkness”.

So I put on “Rebellion” first which I have not listened to in at-least 3 years just to compare growth and sound as to where they are today. “Waiting in Darkness” is a great power metal release in comparison, and without hanging on the laurels as such an epic album as “Rebellion” it has its own stand out qualities that offer something fresh and new, and makes for a great comeback album from these Chicago metal warriors. They have released a lot of solid material in the past, Masters Command (1989), Wicked Generation (1990), Obsessions (1991), though Rebellion (1988) is still my favorite out of the previous releases. So how does “Waiting in Darkness” compare, and should we be comparing, following about a 22 year hiatus? Comebacks are always exciting, but I would hope nostalgia would not be the only the reason that Sacred Warrior fans would evaluate this release, its too easy to fall in the lines of past laurels and comparisons, for me its more important how does it stand in comparison to whats out there today. Is it a strong contender amongst the multitudes of other newer power-metal bands of the day. Though I have reservations on the cover, just not my style, possibly a little too dark for me, but that is just my own preference.

If there was comparison needed to illuminate the return of Sacred Warrior, then I would have to say they musically have come back with a bold vengeance. It sounds like they have entered onto stage very determined and driven. This does not come across as a nostalgic release. By every sense it is its own release. By far their heaviest release, it does not let up energy or drive from start to finish. I love the tone of the guitars, they seem to so raw and powerful, and by any standard this is a LOUD release. That heaviness is a bonus to the quality and brings it into this decade’s musical direction in this genre, without sacrificing quality and adds to the musical progression and maturity of the band. The band in my mind has had always a strong songwriting ability and again it explodes on here, In particular like the lyrics for “Jealous love” a ballad of sorts and a bit of a break from the nitrous charged rage of the guitars when pushed to over-drive.

There compositions are technical and strong with progressive elements. Again for me technical music does not get fully appreciated on one listen through, it takes time to grow on one and to allow the over all serving to be appreciated. I don’t think the musical consistency is as fluid as an album like, ‘Rebellion’, but its over all sound on its own is pretty consistent and strides along overall as a great power metal album by today’s standards at least. I think the album as some strong stand outs that have strong melodies, catchy hooks, and relentless pace that could easily be metal anthems, such as “Waiting in Darkness”, “Sinking Sand” and “Desperately Wicked”. What I like is their ability to mash up their sound a little with speed metal influences, like “Sinking Sand” and with progressive overtones that push it past the run of the mill power metal sound, and though I liked their older sound maybe a little more, their harder more chunky sound fits right into the modern age like a glove. Driving energy characterizes this release musically, and its strong melodies and powerful guitar riffs encapsulate an album with a strong identity, and sets a platform for the band to garner new fans with their latest sound, whilst retaining those older fans. There are two re-recorded songs, “Day Of The Lord” taken off their ‘Rebellion’ release and “Temples On Fire” that comes off, ‘Obsessions’‘. The newer renditions do not seem out of place in the mix, and comply and radiate with the heavier feel of Waiting in Darkness.

In conclusion this is a great metal release! Overall the production quality is strong without being over-produced and without doubt the loudest album by Sacred Warrior to date. The quality of productions allows for the lead guitar work of Bruce Swift to come to the fore on songs, “Desperately Wicked” and “In Dust and Ashes” without sounding overly clinical. I think the vocals are great, and for me stands as a highlight of the album…..maybe a touch higher in the mix next time round guys, but overall a powerful performance. As I said earlier I am in two minds about the art work, but it comes down to personal preference, just seems a little dark for me; so that’s the only thing really that does not sit well with me on a whole. That aside Sacred Warrior have still got it, and sound fresher and more energized than ever before, despite the long hiatus, and the album follows through nicely without alienating itself from any prior recordings they have done. So if you are on the lookout for some good power metal (I feel comparisons would not do it justice but say music from early Queensryche is a good yard stick), then this album serves as very powerful testament of high quality power metal, and above that a great comeback release to boot.

Rating: 9/10

Written by Donovan de Necker

1. Desperately Wicked
2. Waiting in Darkness
3. Sinking Sand
4. In Dust and Ashes
5. Fallen Hero
6. Fear Me
7. Long Live the King
8. Jealous Love
9. Living Sacrifice
10. Day of the Lord
11. Temples on Fire

Band Members:
Bruce Swift: Guitar/Vocals
Eli Prinsen: Vocals
Steve Watkins: Bass/Vocals
Tony Velazquez: Drums/Vocals
Joe Petit Keys/vocals

Extended family:
Rey Parra: founding member,Vocals
Rick Macias: founding member, Keyboards ’87-’89
Jon Johnson: Guitar ’89-’90

Rebellion (1988)
Masters Command (1989)
Wicked Generation (1990)
Obsessions (1991)
Waiting in Darkness (2013)

Record Label: Sanctuary Sound, July 2013

Weblinks: Facebook / Website 

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
USA: Metal Helm

Video below “Waiting In Darkness” ‘behind the scenes’


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