Sheratan - Reencarnacion 4.5/5

Reviewed: 4-13-07


1. Sueno inmortal
2. El beso del mal
3. Doncella de orleans
4. A mi voluntad
5. Sacrificio o salvacion
6. La soledad de un reino
7. En nombre de dios
8. Nunca
9. Princesa oscura
10. Apostoles de la mentira
11. Condenado

Those who follow my demented ramblings at this site with any regularity may know that I'm a massive fan of Spanish-language metal, particularly old Tierra Santa, old Avalanch, Saratoga, and bands of that ilk. Of course, you may also know that I've been sorely disappointed at the recent output by the former titans of the subgenre, as band after band simply loses the plot, worships at the altar of wimpdom, and waters down the product. So let me cut right to the chase: Sheratan's debut is, without question, the most exciting Spanish metal CD I've heard in recent memory. This 'Reencarnacion' CD is 46 minutes of unrelenting fast-paced traditional Spanish metal excellence, and has gone a long way towards restoring my faith in what I thought was a dying branch on the heavy metal tree of life.

Stylistically, I suppose the best way to classify Sheratan would be as power metal, but with a healthy dose of thrash/speed metal attitude. Another way to put it would be to say that 'Reencarnacion' takes the best elements of classic Saratoga and Tierra Santa, sprinkles in some Helloween 'Walls of Jericho' influence (especially in some of the Hansen/Weikath styled duels), tosses in a dash of Steel Prophet-type riffing, and uses a few guitar melodies that would not be out of place on a Sabaton CD. There are no (or almost no) keyboards, no ballads, no boring intros/outros (save perhaps for the one track which rather regrettably begins with a woman screaming in terror as a man cackles demonically - wish the band had ditched that, but it's really the only blemish on an otherwise immaculate CD), no lame midtempo cuts, no filler, no fluff. Sheratan are men on a mission, and they never let up on the breathless pacing for the entirety of the 11 tracks on display. And what tracks they are! If I were trying to indoctrinate a newcomer to the glories of Spanish metal, I would pick track 7, "En nombre de Dios", which encapsulates in 3 superlative minutes everything I love about the style: killer riffing, impassioned soaring vocals, a chorus to die for, and stunning harmony guitar work, all delivered with blistering speed and reckless enthusiasm. Track 1, "Sueno inmortal", and track 11, "Condenado", are also pure classics, but there really isn't a single misfire or bum note on the entire CD.

If there were any justice in the world, Sheratan would have conquered the Iberian peninsula with this 'Reencarnacion' debut, would have attracted the attention of a larger label, and would now be implementing the next phase of their quest for world domination. But we all know that has not happened, and is very unlikely to happen. The language barrier is a major issue, unfortunately, as many metalheads around the globe are simply unwilling to plunk down their hard-earned cash for bands who do not sing in English. Their loss, I say. The distribution aspect is perhaps a larger problem, as this CD is not easy to find in the English-speaking world, and I only learned of its existence after reading a euphoric description of it at an online distro that I frequent. Be that as it may, if you've ever harbored an affinity for Spanish metal, you owe it to yourself to track down a copy of this CD posthaste. To more casual fans of the genre I say this: If you were to purchase only one Spanish metal CD in 2007, this would be the one to buy. For my part, I'll keep marveling at "En nombre de Dios" and the rest, and will wait with bated breath to hear what Sheratan do next.




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