Sanctity - _Road to Bloodshed_
(Roadrunner Records, 2007)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (4 out of 10)
Lots of bands have it really hard to garner some critical acclaim and build their own fan base. The hardest and most respected way among listeners who still have full ownership of their minds (as opposed to those who are easily hypnotized by advertising and propaganda) is continuous touring and non-stop hard work. Of course some bands share stages with older, more popular bands which usually ends up paying dividends to their exposure, but apparently Roadrunner Records has a different way: the Matt Heafy Expressway. Sanctity is allegedly 'discovered' by this 1986-born metal neophyte and their debut album _Road to Bloodshed_ is proof enough of just how far mediocrity can be shoved up the innocent listener's ear while Roadrunner gives the evil eye from backstage.

The first third of this 12-track, below average affair is generally acceptable; the second third gives out a questionably repetitive vibe; and the last third makes it even less interesting to listen to. _Road to Bloodshed_ reeks of general lack of inventiveness that is most boldly portrayed on tracks like "Zeppo" and "The Shape of Things". Intermittent single-note riffing and consistent double bass drumming presented themselves as an adequate background for the guitar solos on "Beneath the Machine" and "Brotherhood of Destruction", but the rest of each piece didn't do much to promote the momentary catchiness of this record to a more permanent one.

"Billy Seals" may be the cream of this film-thin crust, mostly because it serves as a break from its weaker supporting compatriots. Another thick cloud that lurked over the course of this album is the combination of happily toned guitars and cheesy sing-along vocals like on the title-track, "The Rift Between" and "Seconds"; they all feel like they've been cast in the same die. Money is directly proportional to production quality, and musical respect is directly proportional to creativity, but the latter two are definitely independent from the former -- and from where I'm sitting, production quality seems to be the only thing worthy of praise on this album.


(article published 24/12/2009)

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