Hailing from Greece, Sacred Blood is on a mission, in their own words, 'to create metal influenced by heroic spirit, romantic, lyrical and epic themes that come directly from each nation's traditions.' 'The Battle Of Thermopylae - The Chronicle' is their first full length attempt in their metal quest. The work is basically a metal novella about an actual historical event which occurred in 480 BC: 'an alliance of Greek city-states fought the invading Persian Empire at the pass of Thermopylae in central Greece. Vastly outnumbered, the Greeks held back the Persians for three days in one of history's most famous last stands.' (Wikipedia) The music itself is pretty much standard heavy metal with a good dose of power metal in for the mix.
Generally and with little doubt, Sacred Blood accomplishes their goal on 'Thermoplyae.' Although the production and mix is slightly above average, the heavy metal still comes through. And this also despite some very muddy arrangements. Songs like 'Hordes Of Evil' and 'Spartan Warlord,' though offering promising metal, seem confused in arrangement. I couldn't tell if 'Sacred Blood' was going for a form of heavy or power metal, or simply trying to mix in some progressive elements. The tempo changes so abruptly on these songs, I found myself wandering as I listened. Yet, there is still some great performances here. The guitar work is above average even if it is also typical of the genre. Sacred Blood redeems themselves on such epic tracks as 'Heroic Spirit,' 'Land Of The Braves' and 'Gates Of Fire' where the vocal arrangements are promising and the fret work immensely believable. One difficulty I found was with Iason's vocals. Here again, I wasn't sure what he wished to accomplish. He can range between subtlety and extreme, but there was real no consistency in his performance. Overall, 'Thermoplyae' is an ambitious, but vague work. However, I did enjoy it.
You can put Sacred Blood's 'The Battle Of Thermopylae - The Chronicle' in the same category of Italy's Assedium and their work 'Fighting For The Flame.' It's ambitious, epic and passionate heavy metal, yet still fundamentally average in many ways. However, as I mentioned, it's still incredibly viable and listenable. I liked it, and if you're a fan of the genre and nascent bands in the field, I think you'll like it too.
- Craig Hartranft
Sacred Blood brings more Mediterranean epic heavy metal from a region that loves it. 'The Battle Of Thermopylae - The Chronicle' is a better than average work from a band that aspires to reinvent this much maligned genre. Thanks to their passion and vision, Sacred Blood could easily rise above their peers. And I hope they do.