SACRAL NIGHT: “Ancient Remains” CD

Led by the former guitarist and vocalist of Sanctuaire, Florent Brunet-Manquat, it begged the question how much of that old spirit would be carried forward into this new entity. But having switched to bass in the intervening years and only assuming responsibility as singer after their first EP, Sacral Night and his place within it, have been evolving in different directions. Gone too are the French lyrics of yore . Eve Ranaudin and Aurore Montebran both guests contributing to the English texts across this compact album. Boasting eight songs proper, only one just reaches the four-minute mark. Tremolo picking fast, percussion pounding, a ghoulish accented delivery binds their urgent craft. The music undoubtedly informed by the occult currents of the past decade. Cloaked in darkness yet illuminated by candelabras, the atmosphere is somewhat mysterious yet the metallic sound still strikingly clear. That juxtaposition is crucial. Piercing the veil in short bursts. The ending of “The Blood Spattered Bride” testimony to that. The lip-smacking rhythmic pulse of “To Conquer” also embellished with thunderous charges. Tempering the blacker shades, the anthemic title track and “The Last Decade And Beyond” stand out as rousing hymns. Expect riffs rather than solos and a series of hard hitters rather than a continuous journey or story of sorts. Thankfully, the synths laden epilogue courtesy of “The Cohort Rites” does provide a certain creepy closure as the curtains are drawn again. All very capable, the challenge will be to deliver that killer blow on their next record. Sacral Night is on the prowl…

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