Sancta Sanctorum – The Shining Darkness   Leave a comment

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You have ever seen the promo pics of Sancta Sanctorum, you will get a instant vibe of what this band is all about. The photos display a band all looking like Tony Iommi’s and Geezer Butler’s from the Paranoid era of Black Sabbath, not that there is anything wrong with that. The band features three members of the classic Death SS line-up from 1977-1984, i speak of course of Steve Sylvester, Thomas H. Chaste and Danny Hughes. After 26 years, these three gentlemen decided to join forces once again to carry on the tradition started by the Italian masters all those years ago. If you have never heard Death SS, you better do so soon, they are still one of the most underrated bands of all time.

Sancta Sanctorum seems to be the next logical step for the guys from Death SS, the band have a similar approach to making music. The 70’s Doom, occult vibe, the psyche rock elements mixed with early proto progressive heavy metal. All these sounds are interwoven throughout the disc and the end result is something other 70’s wanna-be bands should check out because not many bands can nail the sounds and the vibes of the style like Sancta Sanctorum can. Along with the Death SS threesome, John Di Lallo and Frederick Dope completes the line-up on keyboards and guitar. The album also includes input from Mario Di Donato the leader of the Italian progressive Doom band The Black as well as the pioneers of Italian sound “Requiem” plus the guest appearance of B.J from Doomraiser.

The album gets on its journey with “The End Is Near” and the Sabbath influences shine through very quickly indeed, the only difference being the wonderfully authentic keyboard sound. “Black Sun”, “Nothing Left At All” and “Master Of Destruction” are a trio of classic occult-driven proto-doom masterpieces complete with vintage sounding production values. “Desperate Ways” is perhaps the highlight of the disc for me, a perfectly balanced track with a emphasis on a infectious blend of 70’s riffage and prog-rock ambient touches. The voice of Steve Sylvester is as good as ever and he proves he is a master of the cinematic type themes. “The Soul Of Truth” is another shining moment on the disc, while the sound and writing style is very recycled, its done with using real colorful musical flourishes that keep you hooked.

Basically “The Shining Darkness” sounds about as dusty and old as the records buried in your mom’s basement but its great throughout. Younger fans of Doom Metal and Rock in general may be left scratching their heads at the old,vintage sounds and approach but the older generation of Doomsters will love this album so there is not much to dislike about it. It sounds like a old forgotten relic from the past and the artwork enhances that feeling but they have captured the feel of gloomy 70’s rock but still manage to give it a kind of freshness and vitality. Fans of Death SS will also dig this for its a natural continuation of the Death SS sound in many ways. This is perhaps the retro-rock album of the year but every-time i say that, something else comes along. Its been one hell of a year for hard and heavy music thus far and The Shining Darkness just made it even better. 9/10

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Sancta Sanctorum @ MySpace
Black Widow Records

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Posted July 15, 2010 by doommantia in Sancta Sanctorum

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