Album Title: Promo '03
This is the second demo from Sanctimonious, a Finnish band playing guitar-driven black metal.
There's a touch of death and thrash metal influence, here, but the main focus is on black metal. The vocals are both growled and snarled, with occasional screams and even some spoken word. The guitar playing is equally diverse, including soloing, pick slides, and acoustic work. The drumming and bass are solid, as well.
The best thing about this band is the complexity of its songwriting. The songs are surprisingly varied, with lots of tempo changes and breaks. The more unusual elements, such as traditional metal soloing and acoustic guitar, have been smoothly incorporated into the whole. The result is a demo that sounds very well polished, with no awkward moments or mistakes. The end of "Last Eight Minutes" is especially memorable, with a long solo/screamed vocal section that seems to stumble suddenly into a death metal breakdown, only to stop dead half a minute later. The entire thing sounds perfectly smooth.
It sounds damn heavy, too. There's something for everyone on this demo, given the many different influences at work here, but that hasn't diluted Sanctimonious' sound at all. It's always great to hear a black metal band that isn't ashamed of the "metal" part of the style!
This demo sounds better than a good quarter of the full-length releases I've heard this year. Somebody ought to sign Sanctimonious ASAP. Highly recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Valtiatar Kuolema", "Last Eight Minutes"