|Sanctium - Sanctium
2 February 2012
03. Intent to Maim
04. No Raison D'être
05. A Vile Mind
07. The Black Gate
What the Australian melodic death band Sanctium are doing with their self-titled debut isn't groundbreaking, it's ground solidifying. This is as straight-up as you get and delivers exactly what you would desire from the genre. Brimming with potent riffs that punch out of the mix it has an immediacy to it that will quickly grab the attention.
For the most part the album operates along a singular dimension, the guitars, bass, drums and death growls all being tied very tightly together and cohesively. Perhaps too cohesively. Though the song writing is shifting along that one dimension and the band's performance is never unengaged, it often doesn't include many additional layers to complement the driving edge the band have going. This tends to give the record a similarity throughout, though at times it is possible to detect a progressive angle somewhat similar to extreme acts like Enslaved. The intro to "The Black Gate", for instance, sounds as if it's leaning more toward that kind of progressive injection, which is slightly black in tone but death in foundation. The lengthier final track "Enslaved" gives more than a hint as to where the band gets some of this progressive inspiration as the riffs are often bold and rapidly moving in a melodic death interpretation of the edge delivered by Enslaved on albums like Axioma Ethica Odini.
Such a comparison shouldn't be taken too far, however, as the album rarely reaches anything as progressively diverse or as densely layered as such inspirations as it follows a melodic death approach closer to the sound of bands like At The Gates. A densely composed sound in any case that will satiate many melodic death fans who are after something which is mindful of incorporating both melody and death metal aggressiveness into their songs.
In terms of variance, "A Vile Mind" brings a nice ambient backing around its mid-section, as do the short interludes "Ossuary" and "Aether". The latter in particular flows on effectively from the previous melodic intensity of "No Raison d'être." Rhythm and pacing is what offers a more dynamic approach and the drums in particular have a more essential role in providing diversity between and within the tracks. The growls often occupy a stylistic middle ground between death and black.
As a debut Sanctium ably displays the talent and energy which could potentially prove more satisfyingly volatile if additional layers are added within the song writing process. The sound here isn't raw by any means and the band has polished some effective and satisfying riff work.
Have a listen over at their Bandcamp.