To many, Sacred Mother Tongue are an unknown prospect. Now with their tenth anniversary on the horizon, the band have readied an assault on the masses. The signs were there following the arrival of EP ‘A Light Shines’ last September and these signs have been cemented with their excellent fourth studio release, ‘Out Of The Darkness’.
The album starts strongly, the band making a real statement of intent. Opener ‘Demons’ arrives in style, the intro owing much to early Metallica in its delivery, before allowing vocalist Darrin South to show his range as the chorus soaring over guitarist Andy James‘ precise riffs. Without pausing for breath, ‘Bird In Hand’ brings the album roaring back to the 21st Century.
First single ‘Seven’, released nearly a year ago, provides an early highlight. Building slowly, displaying intuitive changes of pace and evolving into an arena-sized chorus, South earns his song writing stripes with its vocal hook, guaranteed to remain engrained in the memory for weeks. ‘Pawn’ and ‘Bleeding Out’ pass in a whirlwind of riffs and choruses, before latest release ‘A Light Will Shine’ provides another well-formed slab of heavy rock.
Of course, much of the attention centred on Sacred Mother Tongue concerns guitarist James. Widely renowned as one of the most exciting talents in rock and metal, his speed and technique is terrifying. While boasting both blistering shred licks found on ‘Seven’ and Killswitch Engage-esque riffery found on ‘Evolve Become’, his true talent lays in knowing where to rein his playing in and add another head-bang inducing groove, displayed brilliantly in ‘The City Is Crying’.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that James‘ guitar work, as stunning as it is, is the band’s one trick. On the contrary, his attack complements excellent vocal work and an extraordinarily tight rhythm section and in the album’s faster passages, ‘The City Is Crying’ a perfect example, drummer Lee Newell uses his double bass drums to devastating effect.
This record will do great things for Sacred Mother Tongue, who show all the signs of becoming another top-drawer British metal band. Musically they are more talented, more exciting than their arena-filling peers and by always retaining their sense of melody through the album’s heavier passages, they will threaten to break through the mainstream.
The pace of the record is possibly its only failing. Unrelenting, the band tear through the eleven tracks with an almost reckless abandon, the only contrasts coming in the form of the anthemic choruses found in ‘Bird In Hand’ and ‘Bleeding Out’ particularly, though it is hard to find a weaker alternative.
This unbalanced dynamic shows the band’s potential to take a serious shot at replacing their arena-bothering peers, though it is not the finished product. Their position on Download‘s main stage this June will expose many to Sacred Mother Tongue and they will gain the plaudits they deserve.
Out of the darkness, and into the attention of many.
Reviewer: Dave Straw