Sacred Rite - Rites of passage Vol. 1 & ll 3.5/5

Reviewed: 3-8-02


1. Wings of pegasus
2. The blade
3. Executioner
4. Angels never die
5. R.I.P.
6. Revelation
7. Witch's fury (live)
8. Executioner (live)
9. Second row (live)
10. Revelation (live)
11. The blade (Sabre demo)
12. Angels never die (Sabre demo)
13. I will survive (Sabre demo)


1. Teaser
2. Ritual
3. Headfirst
4. 1812: The battle
5. Cold hearted girl
6. I've seen the wizard
7. I will survive
8. Take me to the kingdom
9. Ni4Ni
10. Eleanor rigby
11. The last rites
12. As it was told
13. Son of souls (Sabre demo)
14. The blade (Sabre demo)
15. I've seen the wizard (Sabre demo)

This reissue/collection/compilation is the work of Sentinel Steel, working with the 80s Hawaiian metal band to effectively put out their first 3 CDs, along with some extra demos and somesuch. It's a bit confusing, because 'The ritual' was apparently a half-studio/half-live album when originally done. I was introduced to this band in a rather unorthodox way, when a law school classmate of mine asked me if I'd heard of the band, to which I responded, "Sacred Reich? Of course?" And then she explained that wasn't it, and her cousin was in the band (I think it was Mark Kaleiwahea) and lent me the 'Nothing sacred' tape, and although the cover of "Eleanor Rigby" (quite restrained compared to Realm's) stuck out in my memory, the whole thing was very good, but at the time, since it wasn't available for sale, certainly on CD, there wasn't much to do about it.

Having opened for Ozzy, Triumph, and Quiet Riot, it was surprising they didn't get somewhat better known, apparently they were close to a deal with Polygram that just never happened, and I guess that's sometimes the difference between at least relative notoriety and obscurity. But anyway, now that all this music is re-released on 2 very reasonably priced CDs, it's all there to experience again. The music is really great, a blend between the more power oriented era of Iron Maiden, and a more pure NWOBHM sound. While they apparently were interested in a more powerful singer, Kaleiwahea on vocals has a strong, good voice, but it definitely has some of that "laid back" quality which to me characterizes so much NWOBHM. The instrumental work is just sensational, strong bass play (where you'll hear a lot of the Maiden influence/comparisons), good guitar work with great melodies and harmonies, and the songs are very memorable and well written. It takes about 5 seconds for "Angels never die" to be embedded in your head.

The lyrics range between very good fantasy themed lyrics ("Wings of pegasus", "The blade", "Executioner", "Angels never die", "R.I.P.", "Witch's fury", "I've seen the wizard"), to some rather unfortunately commercial lyrics which come off as rather cheesy, "Teaser", "Headfirst", "Second row", "Cold hearted girl" mainly from the latest era of the band represented here (and I think the material done after this was apparently even more commercial), but the good far outnumber the bad, it's just jarring thematically sometimes, and overall this is a tremendous collection of very high quality traditional metal, recommended!!




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