Sonic Prophecy - Savage Gods

Sonic Prophecy Savage Gods cover
Sonic Prophecy
Savage Gods
Rockshots Records
Sonic Prophecy’s “Savage Gods”, released last month under Rockshots Records, is one of those lighter fare, mid-tempo power metal albums which leave you neither hot or cold as it simply feels like the band is ingloriously holding back its full potential while still serving up a mixture of decent riffs, powerful guitar solos of the time-honored p-metal variety, and a skilful, octave-spanning front man, all backed up by an adequate battery. In spite of this, it feels like the album’s ten tracks, which average six minutes or so, fly by without leaving an indelible mark on the listener; in other words, few are truly memorable or outright gripping. To be fair, some of the verses and lead breaks are pleasant enough but in a nutshell this release fails to match the sum of its parts. I’d even go as far as saying it feels phoned-in to a certain extent.
Now, I haven’t heard the Salt Lake City, Utah formation’s supposedly commendable debut and sophomore, so I’ve not much to go on in respect to previous merits – that said, early cuts such as the crunchy, groove-swung opening title track and its somewhat 90s grunge evoking successor, “Night Terror”, with its ominously incepting guitar progression, round of tribal snare thumps and eventual cranked out guitar riff propelled by Layne Staley sounding vocals, as well as “Unholy Blood”, a mind-winding, jazzy lead fuelled ode to chthonic claret, constitute the better part of Savage Gods’ worthwhile and heady stock, whilst “Dreaming of the Storm” can be considered the most soporific overture of the bunch despite its rather auspicious commencement i.e. solemnly dramatic guitar intro and solo as it soon devolves into a sappy, uninspired marshmallow wallow which makes me wonder aloud “what's up with all the dreaming already?!”. Next!
My preferred track – actually the only one worth lodging into a freewheeling, shit-kicking and adventurous driving play list - is the herky-jerky-ly bass clanging/jangling and rampant, cataleptic riffing “Man the Guns” largely thanks to its Teutonic classic/power metal evoking lyrics and all-around fist pumping ardor. Dig the manly and chest-pounding Manowar styled opening verse:
“Emerging from the cauldron
From fire I am formed
My will like iron from the day I was born
Destruction is my dream
Blazing like the Sun
Rising all before me
Like a one-hundred mega-ton bomb!”
Had the lads generally laid it on thick in such a romp & stomping manner I’d have certainly scored this higher. As you can see, the album has its moments, but when push comes to shove, it faces stiff competition from the likes of Niviane, Armored Dawn, Novareign and Thaurorod – recent rad-ass power metal finds which are currently clogging up my reviewing short-list!
As with any (relatively) self-respecting genre purveyor, keyboards are employed, albeit sparsely, on the seven minute, fairy evoking “Walk Through the Fire” and trumpeting “A Prayer Before Battle”, which feature Sonic P’s multitudinous conductor at his most verbose and flamboyant whilst the ax (hench) men duly let fly – like they so mellifluously do in the second half of “Unholy Blood” – on the latter following an engaging, “whooo-ah-aah-aaah” croon fest and cleanly delivered, guitar and drum progressive bridge. In fact, this spectacular solo section, along with “Man the Guns”, is what ceremoniously nudges this affair into the (high school grade!) passing range.
The blast beat infused and tri-tone’d “Iron Clad Heart” also earns its keep while the choppily swelling and cymbal washed “Man and Machine” portrays his truly at his most sardonic and sly as the vocals unequivocally drip with spite and rancor, a Jon Oliva/Savatage-esque chorus and squealing, triplet based post solo guitar riff withstanding. Strangely enough, except for the tepid “Dreaming of the Storm” and rather hammy and trite closer, “Chasing the Horizon” (of the bah, humbug! variety), the individual tracks stand on their own two feet. Yet, I don’t see myself returning to this release ever again now that I’ve done my homework and sniffed out mild and less excitable material in order to balance my regularly high review ratings (and thus maintain street cred!). Although it’d benefit from taking pointers from its fellow Salt Lake denizens and trad metal stalwarts, Visigoth, in all graciousness, Sonic Prophecy’s “Savage Gods” is nothing to condemn or flagellate; it’s just not quite the bees’ knees... even if does hail from the Beehive state.