Sacred Son
The Foul Deth of Engelond

As someone who has never been about taking any form of metal too seriously, Sacred Son’s Dane Cross has become somewhat of a folk hero of mine. As curmudgeonly as the elite Black Metal crowd can be, it’s still pretty dang impressive just how much hate Cross has stirred up for just living his life. And it’s not even the music that has people all in a tizzy! Rather, the trvest of the kvlt take umbrage with his use of, I guess, vacation photos as album covers? Particularly on the self-titled record depicting the man himself, wearing sunglasses, sporting a handsome smile, in front of a lovely looking seacoast. FVCKING POSER! DETH TO FALSE MEHTAL!!! *GOAT FART NOISES.*

So what’s a gentleman like Dane Cross to do? Well, at first glance it appears he’s here to appease himself with his haters, releasing a gnarly-as-all-fuck album cover for The Foul Deth of Engelond, depicting a priest, fat with gluttony and greed, about to be publicly executed by a mob of peasant revolutionaries. Finally, the dark, bleak kind of aesthetics so many believe to be necessary in the name of Black Metal. But on closer inspection, if you look to the back of the mob, you’ll notice a figure sporting a familiar grin, wearing those recognizable shades that have drawn the ire of scores of metal fans around the world.

Dane Cross, you tricky little troll, you…

A+ troll job aside, Cross and company are also here to deliver their most ambitious effort yet – 5 songs spanning a whopping 45-ish minutes of material. That’s a lot of real estate to cover over a short track list, especially when you factor in that the opening number is a one-and-a-half-minute table setter. The results, perhaps somewhat predictably, offer up a bit of a mixed bag. There is, no question about it, plenty of really compelling material to be found on this record. The second, titular track gets things off to a really strong start. Where Sacred Son has traditionally played a pretty straightforward, uncomplicated form of Black Metal, this one sees the band adding a few new elements to their sound. You can certainly pick up a fair amount of influence from fellow UK acts like Saor and Winterfylleth, adding a bit of space and atmosphere into the mix, and some really compelling riffs will no doubt grab your attention and get the blood pumping – including a fantastic crescendo mid-song that builds to ab absolute onslaught of guitar and drum fury that serves as the album’s real highlight moment.

From there, the remaining three songs are a bit more inconsistent. “Le Blakheth” gets off on a fantastic foot, beginning with some tremolo-picked fury layered with some faint, but really great organs that sound amazing together, which is followed with an absolute doozy of a heavy, doomy riff that gleefully drags you down to the lake of fire and pummels the piss out of you. Overall, the track really has a lot going for it, but I can’t help but feel that it would have been so much stronger had it been about 3 minutes shorter – specifically, there’s a stretch beginning about midway through where the band comes to a halt, and it takes another two minutes or so before the band builds momentum up again for what is, truthfully, a really nice ending. I just don’t know it had to take so long to get there.

The story is essentially the same on the final two tracks, “The Boy King” and “Vengeance I & II.” Moments of genius, surrounded by a fair amount of fluff – though in the case of the former, we’re again treated to a truly beautiful final stanza, but it takes a good seven-an-a-half minutes of competent, but bordering-on-repetitive patterns and framework to get to the good stuff. The final track starts off bringing something a little different to the table with some occult-ish, folky chanting that I can absolutely appreciate, but once again it maybe overstays it’s welcome by a minute or so. It takes a good five minutes for this thing really to start finding its legs, and by then I’m already kinda over it.

It probably sounds like I’m down on The Foul Deth of Engelond, but I promise that I actually really do like this album – I just feel like a little bit more restraint could have made this good album an excellent one. Honestly the worst thing you can say about this record is that it’s just too long. What Sacred Son does well here is as compelling as anyone else in the genre, you just have to make a real commitment to get through the filler to find the gold hidden throughout. I applaud the band’s effort to stretch their legs and try a few new things, and I think the elements are all here for the band to put out some really good stuff in the future.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
June 8th, 2022

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