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Review: Sacred Oath - Sacred Oath
Sacred Oath
Sacred Oath

Label: Angel Thorne Music
Year released: 2009
Duration: 72:49
Tracks: 14
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 2/5

Review online: July 5, 2009
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Sacred Oath

Rated 2.6/5 (52%) (10 Votes)

Sacred Oath used to be one of the unsung greats of the 80's, and their one vintage album A Crystal Vision still stands as a classic of Golden Age US-Metal of the first order. They reformed in 2005 (Well, Rob Thorne did, along with old drummer Kenny Evans and some new guys) and started making music again. In 2007 we got the comeback album Darkness Visible which I found oddly weak, and never got around to reviewing, and now we have their self-produced, self-released, and self-titled third album. I got this months ago, and it has taken me a loooong time to really decide that I don't like it very much.

That's hard for me to say, since I have been a Sacred Oath fan for like twenty years, but there it is. The first thing that will spring to mind when you spin this is "WHERE ARE THE RIFFS?" I mean the first few songs, and most of this album, have nothing resembling the galloping, twin-ax riffs that used to be a trademark of the Oath. The first decent song is "Buried Alive", which is followed by the also pretty-good "Voodoo Dolls" – these songs flash some of the old riff-magic of the Oath, but they are nowhere near as good as the old stuff, and the vocal lines are weak and very classic-rock sounding – not what I expect from an old-school metal outfit like this. Rob Thorne still sounds pretty good, even if he doesn't hit the highs like he used to – hey, none of us are kids anymore. On "Counting Zeros" he gives a really strong vocal performance, sounding the most like his old self. None of the rest of the songs really measure up though, and instead we have to sit through the unforgivably dull "Caught In The Arc" and the interminable "Mistress of the Setting Sun". Here and there the riffs will pick up some melody and flash some interest, but the vast majority of this is confined to dull groove-style thudding that is about as interesting as a bowl of wet toast. Witness the really beautiful opening licks of "High And Mighty" and then the awful, awful staccato junk that makes up the rest of the song. And let's not even discuss the dreadful "Order Of The System Lords".

It's just too painful. Even with flashes of their old style on display, the contrast with the other stuff just makes it harder to take this. It's like watching an alien who has taken over the body of a friend: mostly it acts like another person altogether, but sometimes we get glimpses of the person we knew, enough that we can't bring ourselves to kill it. This album is like that. Though they try to sound a bit like the old stuff that people liked, it's mostly window dressing to get us to listen to their new style, which pretty much just sucks. I hate to say it, but Sacred Oath are not worth your time.

Other related information on the site
Review: A Crystal Vision (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Return of the Dragon (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Twelve Bells (reviewed by Bruno Medeiros)
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