The Court Of The Insane – Sacrilege‘s 7th studio album since they were first formed back in 1982 – finds Sacrilege singer/songwriter/guitarist Bill Beadle back with another batch of shadowy NWOBHM-inspired tracks designed to please hardened fans of no-nonsense UK metal.
Typically British, Sacrilege are sticking to their well-trodden formula; namely mid-paced, dark and occasionally doomy, hard-rocking tunes built around solid riffs and Bill Beadle’s rich baritone. This structure is rarely toyed with resulting in both a satisfying cohesion and yet a nagging sense of familiarity throughout….which isn’t a problem per se because on album highlights such as “Depression” and “Unhinged Mind”, Sacrilege’s pitch-black mantra and chugging riffs hit home; resulting in hard and heavy traditional doom sounding epics which deliver the goods on every level.
Elsewhere, a little more variety in pace would be welcome, in order to break the chains of The Court Of Insane‘s seemingly self-inflicted confinement. “Lies” does go for the jugular and recalls the satisfying simplicity found on Judas Priest’s British Steel but just as “Bring Out Your Dead” really gets going it abruptly stops – teasing us with a headbanging-fest which never truly arrives – and when Sacrilege really let rip, as on the ‘I love riding my motorbike’ ditty “Ride Free”, it’s a little too cliched and a little too late.
However, this commentary shouldn’t do disservice to a body of work which may not be as maniacal or as unhinged as its album artwork and title suggests, but certainly does offer up a mix of more than worthy songs for fans of classic Sabbath, 80’s Judas Priest and the early work of Pagan Altar and Trouble.
With the recent arrival of fellow NWOBHM-survivor Paul Macnamara (Salem) on guitar solidifying their line-up, you get the impression that Sacrilege have plenty of years left in them and The Court Of The Insane will certainly not stall their momentum! 7/10
The Court Of The Insane was recorded at Ascape studios in Bromley, Kent, U.K. and engineered, mixed and mastered by David Lear and is due for release on August 2nd via Pure Steel Records.