Sacred Outcry was first around a few years around the early 2000’s, before laying down the sword until 2015. The Greek trio then reformed to venture into the realms of fantastic heavy power metal once more, but only releasing their debut full length in September 2020. The band evokes classic heavy metal elements, furious riffing and thunderous soloing blend with the epic melodics lent from a very American school of power metal; fans of Judicator and the like would find plenty of interest here. Guitars reminiscent sometimes of Blind Guardian’s bygone early ‘90s era, buildup like Maiden epics, progressive leanings that see the sweeping guitars go from big to epic; there’s just a whole lot to unpack and experience in the near hour long runtime that moves through dark heavy metal and powerful, bombastic power metal, fluidly bridging the elements that make up the music.
Dimitris Perros guitars are superbly played throughout, and he’s backed up by a thick rhythm section in George Apalodimas fleshy bass and Stelios Darakis towering drums. Add to that guest keyboardist Giannis Skalkotos’s sweeping layers of extra atmosphere for a thick, immersive sound. It comes through perfectly on slow cooking tracks like Legion of the Fallen and Where Ancient Gods are Still Hailed, which take their time to evolve through the great songwriting and masterful storytelling, Perros’s guitar playing taking its sweet time to get the riffing rolling and bringing to full close in epic zeniths. The latter of the two is a major highlight, starting in a slow intro only to grow into a dark melodic masterpiece, riffs ablaze and a stellar vocal performance from guest vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos (Beast in Black, ex- Wardrum). Papadopoulos makes a great album, bone chilling in the darkest moments, epic and soaring in the most uplifting power metal tracks. Raspy vocals blend with high pitched screams and melodic choruses. The man’s talents will always be wasted in Beast in Black, but as long as he keeps making guest appearances like this and the Major Denial album from a few years back we should be good.
More straightforward tracks like the bands namesake with its sweeping guitars and uplifting tone make for the easier to follow material. Even so, it’s still made with the same persuasion and captivating atmosphere; maybe the only gripe would be mid album ballad Scared to Cry. While a nice little break before the second half of the album ensues in full glory it just doesn’t engage like it should need to, Crystal Tears instead being the powerful ballad the album deserves. There is an ever present epic, symphonic backdrop that lends itself incredibly well to the subject matters and the storytelling, based on Michael Moorcock's literature, epic fantasy and battles. Mainly present in layered vocals and the background dwelling keyboards it adds atmosphere by the heap load and brings the sound and feel to completion. At full length, Damned For All Time manages to be gripping, dramatic and epic even on the first listen, begging many more to follow during which its many layers slowly unravel to show the full majesty of the beast Sacred Outcry have unleashed.
Standout tracks: Legion of the Fallen, Where Ancient Gods are Still Hailed, Lonely Man, Farewell