Although press packs so often contain hyperbole, there are some press officers out there who write so sparingly that when they declare a band to be the “epitome of great heavy metal”, you sit up and take notice. Slated for an early September release, ‘Sinner Sanctorum’ is the new EP from the much feted Forged in Black, a five-piece metal band with a collective heart of steel and a deep-seated love of classic heavy metal in the vein of Judas priest and Candlemass. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, then perhaps a cursory glance over at Smash Hits will be more your thing…
Reuniting with renowned producer Chris Tsangarides (Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath), the band demonstrate a skill set that has been ruthlessly refined over the preceding releases, delivering four blisteringly metallic cuts with a fire and fury that would make the Priest proud. Opening with ‘there’s always time’, the band cut right to the bone with Andy Songhurst and Chris Bone’s duelling guitars setting the scene over Kieron Rochester’s creeping bass and Kev Rochester’s explosive percussion. Despite the opening bombast, there’s also subtlety here and as the band strip the music back, so Chris ‘Stoz’ Storoznski’s theatrical delivery is given space to breathe. Long-time fans of Candlemass will find much to admire amidst the smooth tempo shifts and blood-and-thunder riffing and, just to top it off, Chris has delivered a mix that renders it all with perfect clarity. It’s a phenomenal opening track and one that reaches for the epic with its six-and-a-half-minute run time, but it’s no mere fluke as the staccato might of ‘Pay the price’ perfectly demonstrates. With a rampaging riff that feasts on Priest and spits out fire, ‘Pay the price’ is heavy metal manna from heaven and as Stoz unleashes a wail that threatens to shatter the more expensive crystal on your shelves, you’ll be too busy head banging to care. The EP’s title track is possibly the highlight, although to be honest it’s hard to choose a stand out track when they all set the blood pumping with such ferocity, but the massed vocals (Kieron Rochester providing Stoz with able support), just edge it into the lead. Full to bursting with flame-tinged riffs, it’s a beast and one that will set the mosh-pit alight for sure. The EP ends with the truly epic ‘Crimson Echoes’, a nine-minute monster of a track which takes in everything from beatific acoustic intro to full-bore doom riffing. Over it all, Stoz channels Messiah Marcolin, his well-phrased delivery and ear-splitting highs a crucial component in Forged in black’s well-stocked arsenal.
Over the course of four tracks and almost thirty minutes of music, Forged in Black prove unequivocally that their press release was more than justified in its claims. No hyperbole here, ‘Sinner Sanctorum’ is a metallic monster that easily lives up the lofty standards it set for itself. If you worship at the black altar of metal, then look no further for Forged in Black will cater to your every lascivious whim. 9
Find out more about Forged in Black over at their Facebook page, or via bandcamp (below).