Sanctity
Road to Bloodshed

What’s the deal with everyone wanting to be compared to Testament recently? I like Testament as much as anyone who grew up on ’80s thrash, but I must have gotten at least a half-dozen records in the last month with quotes like “This is Testament for a new generation of thrash,” etc. For a band that hasn’t put out a record of new material in eight years or so, they seem to suddenly have a far-reaching influence again.

To be fair, I’ve had this record a little longer than those, and I don’t remember if Sanctity included anything about Testament in their press notes. But if they didn’t, they should have. In fact, they should probably be sending them royalty checks. The opener of Road to Bloodshed, “Beneath the Machine,” could have been ripped straight from The Ritual or Low, and there are few songs on here that don’t remind the listener of Testament at some point. Some are more obvious than others. “Laws of Reason,” “Beloved Killer,” “Flatline” and “Once Again” are practically Testament covers. There’s also a healthy dose of the most recent record from Trivium here, which owes much of its sound to – sing along if you know the words – Testament.

When Sanctity is not ripping off Testament, they have a real identity crisis. It’s almost as though they couldn’t decide whether they wanted to go for a mainstream rock audience or a metal audience, so they decided to go for both. As most people who have tried that have found, it just doesn’t work. The worst example is “Billy Seals,” which, at the beginning, could be the latest single from Staind. It’s really weak. Then they try for a thrash bridge but it still just doesn’t have any balls. Same thing with “The Shape of Things” which opens with another bad mainstream rock verse, then has a good thrash riff, but it’s so muddled with commercial elements that it’s ruined. And I don’t know what they were thinking with the industrial stuff on “Seconds” and an almost-rapped vocal.

Songs like “Beneath the Machine,” the strongest here, and “Once Again” are somewhat entertaining in a Testament tribute sort of way, but when the band tries to branch out into its own sound, it feels like they don’t have a solid grasp on exactly who they are. They’d make a hell of a Testament cover band, though.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
July 15th, 2007

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