Sanctifier – Awaked by Impurity Rites – 3.5/5
The Mexicans have slowly garnered a reputation for a small but consistent Death Metal scene, and Sanctifier do nothing to prove otherwise; adding old school sensibilities to modern production values proves to present us with some excellent music that – whilst not breaking any boundaries – remains consistent. With lore deep in Lovecraftian mythos that presents itself in the lyrics, this topic feels ripe for such a genre to exploit and it is perhaps unfortunate that there is little within the music itself to emphasise this influence.
The drums powerful and capable of keeping time despite the many changes in tempo, and whilst perform little in the way of fills, don’t simply resort to blast beats at all times, and are capable of some variation; sometimes lost too far in the back, they fail to contribute as much as they could to the proceedings. The vocals stray almost entirely within his lower register, with a hoarse growl that feels as though it has more bite than other artists; whilst capable he feels all too monotonous, throwing in a few high pitched growls here and there but for the most part doing little to add variety to the proceedings.
It is the guitars draw most of the attention, the combination of deep chord-based chugging riffs maintaining a steady rhythm that whilst not complex in itself, varies in pace and style frequently enough to avoid feeling stagnant, whilst sadly, the bass remains relegated to the back. In addition, the lead has no qualms about producing a high speed solo, often contrasting with the deep backing with an array of high-pitched tones, providing the main highlight of the outfit.
The production is warm, and whilst is still feels aggressive it is without that raw, guttural edge of older albums, resulting in a piece that feels melodic without the negative connotations of ‘watering down’ their sound. Sadly the stumbling block is lastability; despite being only 30 mins long, already in this short space of time many of the tracks begin to feel similar, and there isn’t enough variety in the manner the tracks unfold. The same style of high tempo chords alternate with slower tempo sections, the solo’s are always ‘shredded’ at high pace, the vocals don’t change enough and so on. Despite these issues, it isn’t actually a bad album. They have simply revived an older style that worked, and whilst it shouldn’t be remembered in place of the original article, would make a worthy addition to any death metal fan’s collection.