Albert Bell’s Sancro Sanctus: Ad Aeternum and Deus Volt

Metal-On-Metal is the perfect label for Albert Bell’s excellent Sacro Sanctus, both sharing a love and commitment for properly crafted heavy metal. Metal needs to a physical reality whether that be cassette, CD or vinyl. A download is like a so-called ‘Facebook Friend’: quite unreal!

There is also a shared commitment to the importance of the artwork as part of an album’s overall impact. Thus, the cover artwork for Ad Aeternum, which reminded me of the chilling Blind Dead films, is superb. While that of Deus Volt perfectly encapsulates the era of the Crusades, events just as resonant today as they were then. The lyrics, layout, and interior artwork is compelling, but best of all is the commentary on each track from Albert Bell himself, wherein he explains his unique Templar Metal, its influences and historic background. Wearing a Venom t-shirt I haven’t seen before, Bell comes across as a musician of great taste and skill, for anyone who likes Venom is clearly a man of taste and distinction, a man very much with a distinct voice.

Take for instance ‘The Key of Splendour’ on Ad Aeternum which comes across like Dio-era Sabbath meets Bathory meets The Meads of Asphodel, splendid stuff. While on Deus Volt the spirit of classic Venom and Celtic Frost is invoked. In fact, a look at Albert’s thanks list on Deus Volt is a master-class in what metal should be: Venom, Celtic Frost, the mighty Angel Witch – this is as it should be but so seldom is.

Being based in a place of such historical and cultural significance as Malta also adds to the sincerity and uniqueness of the music. At more than one point in history the bravery of Malta has kept the barbarians from the gates of Europe, preserving its freedom and culture and for that we should all be grateful.

At a time when two many negative pointless so-called ‘extreme’ metal releases were killing my enthusiasm for metal, ‘Sacro Sanctus’ have revived my love of the music, and for that, I salute them!

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Steve Earles

Steve Earles is author and co-author of numerous projects, including To End All Wars: The WWI Graphic Anthology, available summer 2014 (http://toendallwarscomic.wordpress.com/writers/).