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Review: Sacred Oath - A Crystal Vision
Sacred Oath
A Crystal Vision

Label: Sentinel Steel Records
Year released: 2001
Duration: 61:29
Tracks: 13
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: August 25, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
A Crystal Vision

Rated 4.33/5 (86.67%) (18 Votes)

I am probably one of the few who still has the original Mercenary Records issue of this from 1987, on cassette no less. Sacred Oath were a very cool underground band from Connecticut who released this, a lost metal classic, before folding up in 1988. Originally never released on CD, this is another obscure gem resurrected by true metal maniac Denis Gulbey of Sentinel Steel records and given a lavish and well-deserved reissue.

Denis' promo copy proclaims this an "80's occult metal feast", and for once the label hype is right on the money. For fans of old-school 80's metal, this is indeed a banquet of delights. Sacred Oath start with a galloping riff style reminiscent of "Warning" era Queensrÿche or Mercyful Fate circa "Don't Break the Oath", over this they layer Maidenish twin-axe harmonies and progressive songwriting that recalls early Fates Warning. With the wailing, high-pitched vocals of guitarist Rob Thorne laid on top, you have a recipe for tried and true heavy metal just the way Mom used to make. Sometimes the vocals are a little too wailing, but even the songs that don't have a hooky chorus have fistful after fistful of cool riffs. Songs like album standouts "Two Powers", "Magick Son", "Shadow out of Time" and "Rising From the Grave" rock out with killer riffs, virtuosic leads, and catchy choruses you'll be singing for days.

Denis always does the coolest reissues, and this is no exception. Here we have a modern remaster to punch up the sound of the original recording, plus four bonus songs. Two of these are re-recordings of songs from the album done in 1998, and the other two are songs written for the follow-up album that, sadly, never came to be. The production on these is better than on the album tracks, but I find I still prefer the original 'classic' sound. The booklet is awesome, with band pics, liner notes, a band history and the complete lyrics. The cover is a Tim Hildebrandt painting that looks better from a distance, but is still cool. One of the things I like best about Sentinel Steel reissues is the original cover art is always on the back of the booklet, so you can turn it over and voila, instant nostalgia.

This is a genuine lost classic from the good old days, not to be missed. I have loved this album since I picked it up in the used bin for $2 waaaayyy back in '89, and getting it on CD has only served to remind me of how cool it is. Fans of good old-fashioned metal will love this, no ifs or buts. If you love Omen or Cauldron Born or Manilla Road this is something you simply have to add to your collection, trust me. You can get this from the label at And while I normally do not plug, this one's from the heart. Denis is a true fan and a cool guy, and he's simply the best source in the USA for REAL heavy metal. So pick up Sacred Oath and put a big ol' metal smile on your face.

Additional Information

Originally released in 1987

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