Corners of Sanctuary teams with EU’s Metalizer Records for 4th full-length “Metal Machine”
Over the past five years, Corners of Sanctuary has defied the odds stacked against their brand of traditional, decidedly old-school heavy metal. The band, a Northeast Pennsylvania/Philadelphia-area hybrid, specializes in the melodic, song-driven metal personified by classic bands like Manowar, Accept and Exciter. Somewhere within the outward bounds of Judas Priest’s “Screaming For Vengeance” is a great jumping off point for what Corners of Sanctuary does; and it does it without the growls, vanilla-rage blandness, and C-tuned riffage so uninspired in today’s mainstream metal scene. This band is denim and leather, motorcycles and mayhem – relying of attitude, volume, and just a touch of throwback camp to stand above the pack.
For this album (the band’s fourth full-length), Corners of Sanctuary inked a deal with Germany’s Metalizer Records – a smart move, as the band’s style translates well to European metal crowds. Notably mastered by guitarist Stu Marshall, of international metal supergroup Death Dealer, the album takes a cue from the regal metallic tradition of Manowar in opening with a majestic instrumental piece called “Turn It On.”
A perfect segue into the title track, with its delightfully staccato crunching and metaphorical fist thrust high in the air, while vocalist Frankie Cross extols the virtues of “metal warriors on parade,” will make the listener blissfully unaware that it’s not 1982 outside the realm of their own headphones.
“Like It Matters” follows a similar mid-tempo stomp, akin to prototype thrash pioneers Raven – the hallmarks of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal are stamped all over Corners of Sanctuary’s presentation.
Standout cuts on the album, like the Scorpions-meets-Grim Reaper fury of “Left Scarred,” for which a video was filmed at Scranton’s Nay Aug Park, are built upon an arena-ready adrenaline rush – guitarist Mick Michaels’ playing is as organic as it comes; the volatile, meat-and-potatoes economy of guys like Twisted Sister’s Eddie Ojeda immediately comes to mind. The rhythm section of bassist James Pera and drummer Sean Nelligan (since replaced by “Mad T”) never races to the finish line, but rather spanks a steel-toed groove as in “Souls Will Shout” – a song that strides easily into the hallowed power metal halls of acts like Iced Earth. This band is not out to shock and awe, but will grab you through simple, anthemic choruses and instantly likeable, workingman’s defiance.
Proving great heavy metal is indeed timeless, Corners of Sanctuary is out to eliminate the need for mind-numbing sub-genre categorization that has plagued metal as of late. By emphasizing a rock-solid foundation, the band is proof that it really is the heart that fuels the heavy.
Mark Uricheck is a Weekender correspondent who writes weekly CD reviews. Reach Weekender at [email protected]
Corners of Sanctuary