I'm constantly amazed at the breadth and depth of the traditional metal talent in my native state of Pennsylvania. Sacred Dominion hails from the Pittsburgh area, another hotbed for heavy metal which includes bands like Icarus Witch and Order of Nine. That's good company to keep.
Sacred Dominion plays an entertaining blend of classic melodic metal with nods to the progressive side, but also the accessibility of melodic hard rock. But this mixture of styles seems so effortless to the band. The arrangements are as much streamlined and compact as they are deep and natural. Sacred Dominion was destined to create these songs. By comparison they could be a hybrid of Queensryche (early), Iron Maiden, and Fate's Warning. Anybody who loves those bands will dig Sacred Dominion's sound.
The real challenge here is to decide what makes The Inside sound so good. The musicianship is sterling. Mario Brescia's vocals are grand, a blend of Geoff Tate and Tobias Sammet. He's clear, melodic, and sometimes soaring. Then there's the drum work of Jeff Anzelone and the bass playing of Benjamin J Chiarini, simply exciting, notably on the title track. Simply put: all players do well.
As to the songs, they're all pleasing and intriguing, with each having a uniqueness to them. For instance, the closing track Desert to Dust is likely the heaviest metal song here, while Closer and Open Minds more melodic, accessible, and progressive. Time to Sail seems a simple heavy metal cut, but is lifted by the bass line, Daniel Corso's guitar lead, and the subtle piano outro. These songs were well thought out and so, well-crafted.
I'm hoping The Inside is not a one off project, and there's more great material to come in the future. Give them an all but perfect score so their heads don't swell with pride. Sacred Dominion's The Inside is strongly recommended.