|Heavy Metal, NWOBHM
Self-release, Shadow Kingdom Records (2014)
September 27, 2013
Release length: 14:30
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Night Sacrifice was some obscure demo unearthed from the mid to late-eighties. Instead it’s a new recording that feeds into the NWOBHM revival bands like Enforcer and Katana are at the forefront of. The raw audio quality perfectly captures the era with a subtle echo to the clean singing and instruments that sound a bit distant, but come through pretty clear, though don’t always work for the better.
“Wolf” starts off with a rich guitar driven introduction that captures that dark eighties feel perfectly before ushering in some rich Iron Maiden inspired riffs that are somewhat grand, but pale compared to the addictive hook filled chorus. The echo on the vocals is a bit distracting here, but not enough to ruin the performance as a whole. “Shadows” has a little more melody to the riffs, making the faster performance stand out more and mask some of the faults in the clean singing and the effect it has. Around two minutes in it does slow down, giving way to chugging riffs that act as the backdrop to a nice guitar solo that starts off simple but nicely grows into a suiting bit of technicality
Sadly the first two songs are the most inspiring, while “Night Sacrifice” does leave a little to be desired. While starting out a bit more complex, the song thins out, slowing down to more of a Judas Priest style that leaves a good deal of emptiness in the main verses. The chorus does get a little richer thanks to the drums and a louder chanting of the song’s title against the distant vocals. While there does seem to be a bass presence throughout the recording (though it’s not specifically mentioned other than member Hades handling “guitars” for the release), it’s basically non-existent due to how low the volume is, which would have greatly saved the performance. Other than that the vocals throughout the recording could be a bit tighter. Sometimes they can be a bit off key, or seem to just be forcing too many lyrics into one spot, something “Wolf” is definitely victim of after the first chorus.
If you happened to miss out on the first run, you’re in luck. Thanks to Shadow Kingdom Records you still have a shot at hearing this release, as well as owning it. The label has released a strictly limited run of one hundred sealed copies that feature different artwork and a black cassette as opposed to the original white one with a yellow label on it. If you didn’t get to order one of these, you can still grab the MP3 files from their digital store, or at least stream it to see what these guys are all about, and to experience what you missed out on.
In the end, Night Sacrifice is a surprising find for fans of vintage NWOBHM. Lucifer’s Hammer do a nice job at emulating the expected raw audio quality of the eighties, and just having it on cassette only makes it all the more enjoyable to listen to. Unfortunately due to the extremely limited run, the only way to hear this if you can’t find someone willing to part with it is to grab the digital version from the Shadow Kingdom Records store, which just doesn’t do it justice. But if you must go that route, then so be it. This isn’t the most amazing entry to the style, but there’s no denying Lucifer’s Hammer bring some really catchy tunes to Night Sacrifice you’ll enjoy throwing on at any time.
01. Wolf – 4:16
02. Shadows – 5:20
03. Night Sacrifice – 4:54
|Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10