Perhaps you recognize the name, George Tsalikis, but likely not. He lives in the heavy metal underground as the singer and principal songwriter for American power metal band Zandelle. He steps out on his own for his first solo project, The Sacrifice, for the German label Pure Steel Records.
Of first interest is Tsalikis additional musical talent. Besides the obvious songwriting and lead vocals, he also provides rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, piano. But, like most solo projects, Tsalikis is helped along be additional talent. This includes Mike Paradine from Arctic Flame on drums, Richie Blackwood from Blackwood for lead guitar, and then a host of female vocalists. The album is conceptual dealing with vampires and such. I'm guessing the lyrics would be helpful for a greater explanation of the story, but they were not provided. The video trailer below gives you some vague clues.
As for the vocals and music, Tsalikis strays little from his classic "keep it true" heavy and power metal roots. As a metal singer, he falls into that traditional role, singing clean with strength and a formidable range. He tends to be a little melodramatic in his presentation, going for hybrid metal opera feeling. For the music, there's plenty of twin guitar harmony, and that powered by a chugging and sturdy rhythm section. Blackwood is an exceptional guitarist, delivering classic heavy metal leads tempered with some neo-classical influence. Actually, in my opinion and for my money, Blackwoods guitar lines pretty much steal the show.
Otherwise, there's a lot of similarity, even redundancy, to the songs. The mix of tempos, the timbre of the riffage, the expectation of a soaring guitar solo are formulaic for each song. But some songs have slight notable differences. One, Declaration has a somewhat lighter start in the guitar parts and subdued vocals, suggesting something of a ballad or anthem, and that's where things go. Victimized has strong bass line start as opposed to guitar riffage, and you can hear that bass line continue through the song. Also, Hero's Lament turns away entirely from the heavy/power metal motif. With piano, keyboard orchestration, and choral vocals, the lament becomes a closing emotional anthem.
All in all, the conclusion is obvious and simple. In The Sacrifice, with his keen songwriting and definitive metal vocals combined with some sterling guitar lines, George Tsalikis has created a fine first solo effort that should appeal to any fan of classic heavy metal. Recommended.
In The Sacrifice, with his keen songwriting and definitive metal vocals combined with some sterling guitar lines, George Tsalikis has created a fine first solo effort that should appeal to any fan of classic heavy metal. Recommended.
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