Sanctification - Black Reign
Pulverised Records
Death Metal
9 songs (30'31")
Release year: 2009
Sanctification, Pulverised Records
Reviewed by Alex

Swedish Sanctification may get their act going after Black Reign, because its core two members, guitarists Thomas Elofsson and Marcus Edvardsson, who have been splitting their time among many other Swedish bands, seem to be out of those at the moment. God Among Insects have split up and the pair appears to be out of In Battle. This may look promising for Sanctification, which released only one more very short full-length prior to Black Reign, way back in 2003. Also, depending on how you value his vocals in the death metal angle, another boon for Sanctification may be the fact of Magnus “Masse” Broberg, better known as Emperor Magus Caligula (Dark Funeral), joining the band full-term after only contributing background vocals on Black Reign.

Meanwhile, Kristoffer Hell carries a quick-hitting downtuned Swedish death metal on Black Reign with his bottom-of-the-barrel indecipherable growl, which only gets an extra stretch when mocking, almost rapping, rhythm of Raw calls for it (he also apparently plays bass, but since has left Sanctification. Drummer Nils Fjellstrom also appears to be a fill-in, so the lineup here is indeed a revolving door). Overall, the approach on Black Reign is to not overcomplicate the picture in terms of riffs, use Abyss Studios (Tommy and Peter Tagtgren) to produce a groovy and infectious album which does not overstay its welcome. The songs on Black Reign are quick, about 3 min long, shots in the arm. If you were to hear Black Reign first during a workout, I guarantee you would be running out there looking for a bag to punch.

The band does stick to somewhat of a formula. After a “busy” opening, switching back and forth between blasts and double bass, just as deftly as they switch between rapid chops and tremolo, the songs let up on the intensity and open up a bit. It is in those moments when Sanctification slides in a melodic riff (Thirst for Blood), a quick thrash insert or simple yet effective lead (Eternal). Hanging melodic fret slides onto the brutal carcass (Beat This), the band rarely goes slow (Flesh, Bone and Skin) and by the time Trucido Christianese shows up, the formula does become used up. The closer Storm, however, finishes things strong, riveted on bringing home those downtuned Hypocrisy-like chords.

With guitars tuned seemingly even lower than kick drums, Sanctification is bent over backwards projecting brutality, every string touch invoking apocalypse (title track). Yet it must be in Swedish DNA to let in just the right amount of melody in it to make the final product catchy. For the fans of Hypocrisy (Peter Tagtgren also contributed background vocals), Solar Dawn, In Battle and in some small parts Amon Amarth.

Killing Songs :
Thirst for Blood, Black Reign, Eternal, Beat This, Storm
Alex quoted 75 / 100
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