Sacral Rage – Divergent Convergence

Wednesday, 18th March 2015

Contrary to popular belief, heavy metal as a genre can be just as intelligent on a lyrical level as it is musically intoxicating. Many bands are willing to tackle politics, social injustice, and environmental issues in a deeper context- disproving that all musicians are brain dead zombies who only care about alcohol, death, destruction, and zombies. Greece’s Sacral Rage are a speedy heavy metal act to add to the list if you desire an act that isn’t cut from the normal cloth – as they aren’t scared to praise Agent Steel, Armored Saint, early Dream Theater and Watchtower among others.

Song titles such as “Panic in Urals (Burning Skies)” and “Into Mental East” should clue you in that this quartet is about making you think on a multi-sensory dimensional landscape. Their debut album Illusions in Infinite Void will be a gem for many, especially those who loved a lot of the technically sound metal bands of the late 80’s and early 90’s scene. Willing to find out more about Sacral Rage, guitarist Marios P. took on my questions from the same thoughtful perspective as he places on their songwriting. Prepare for some divergent convergence…

Dead Rhetoric: The band started in 2011 – how did the lineup come together, and did you know right away what type of heavy metal style you wanted Sacral Rage to play?

Marios P: If my memory serves me right, the very first suggestion of the band was put forward on the 3rd of December of 2011, at Nick’s (Convixion, Strikelight, Entasis Studios) birthday. That night, during drunken debauchery, Dimitris and Vaggelis, after a long discussion concerning both underground and mainstream heavy metal bands, decided to create a heavy-speed metal act, based on their musical preferences. When the time came to think of a guitar and a bass player, they didn’t give it a second thought, as Dimitris, Spyros and I had already been members in another group named Outcry, having already mutual musical respect. So, everything happened in a very natural way. As to the style, each and every musical detail of the band came out spontaneously without pushing ourselves moving towards a particular direction. All aspects of our music have surfaced instinctively!

Dead Rhetoric: Starting in 2012 you’ve made at least one recording per year in demo, EP, or promo form. What do you think of these recordings in retrospect – can you give us some highlights and aspects you could tell you needed to improve upon?

Marios P.: All these releases mark every period of the band from the very beginning with first tentative steps to the last months which were characterized by more sophisticated and conscious movements where the band has already started created its identity and to realize its dynamics. With respect to all the reviews and critiques we have received so far, we will never deny our past and what we have done. We will always be proud of these releases. Even if we might think of some possible differentiations we could have done, as now we are more technically and spiritually experienced, we will always be sure we have done the best for the band! Besides, during all these years, the band has progressed technically and lyrically. Also it has mellowed a lot and never stopped learning and broadening its horizons, which is very significant in my opinion!

Dead Rhetoric: You ended up signing with Italian label Cruz Del Sur Music – were there other offers on the table and what do you enjoy the most regarding label owner Enrico’s approach to his label and roster?

Marios P: We had many offers both from Greece and from abroad but Cruz Del Sur had the perfect blend in terms of the actual offer and promotion/distribution. Although I haven’t met him in the flesh, I would say that the thing I dig about Enrico is that he is fully cooperative, likes what he’s doing and seems like a really nice guy. He let us free of any boundaries to create what we think would be the best for the band, a fact that shows his respect for the roster and artists he represents.

Dead Rhetoric: Illusions in Infinite Void is your debut album, bringing to mind a lot of the fine technical power/speed bands from the North American scene during the 1980’s. How did the songwriting and recording sessions go for this effort- were there any particular surprises, concerns, or standout moments in your eyes?

Marios P: The recording sessions went nearly perfect! At this time we really enjoyed every second because we had given 100% of ourselves and energy during the songwriting days (although it was really stressful at times) and so we wanted so badly to see our dreams come into being. The only drawback we met was when we realized that during the guitar recordings the guitar amp was damaged- or so we believed. As it turned out that was the simplest thing to solve but somehow it took us a couple of days to figure out what happened. As a consequence, when we look back at these days we are extremely pleased with the result and with the way things turned out. In particular, besides the amp thing there weren’t any terrible surprises let’s say or hitches because we were very prepared and aware of what we wanted to do and how things have to be done. Thus, we are totally beholden to the anti-gravitational metal fate that everything was under control.

Dead Rhetoric: Are the lyrics as important as the musical foundation for Sacral Rage? Where do some of the ideas come from in the topics you cover?

Marios P: All the aspects that describe Sacral Rage’s musical identity coexist in a universal harmony. On no occasion do we lay more emphasis on the lyrical parts or underline mostly the instrumental parts. In Sacral Rage everything exists in admirable balance. Even though we have so many different characteristics which lay the foundations of our music, each and every one of them as I said earlier, is not adverse to each other. Such a harmony not only derives from dissimilar aspects but is also conditioned by them. Therefore, I would definitely say that Sacral Rage’s music is an agreement of the incoherent and a convergence of the divergent. As far as the sources of the lyrical topics we deal with concerned, we get our ideas from any paranormal or mystical thing that might draw our attention or example the fall of a meteorite. Moreover, we like creating our stories having to do with ancient rituals, invocations to ancient gods and curses etc… In the meantime, we also like to have the audience read between the lines and reflect, not just read the lyrics and listen to the music. We want you to acquire your own judgments on our music!

Dead Rhetoric: Mattias Frisk designed the cover – is this a collaborative effort between artist and band, and what are your thoughts on imagery/cover design for heavy metal records? Can you tell us some of your favorite covers in the genre of all time?

Marios P: We told Mattias the concept we had on our minds and the visualization was entirely his thing. Of course there were some adjustments here and there but what you see is Mattias’ representation and we have to admit he did a hell of a job!! Some of our favorite artworks are: Crimson Glory – Transcendence, Sanctuary – Refuge Denied, Psychotic Waltz – A Social Grace, Death – Spiritual Healing, Scream Bloody Gore, Hexx – Under the Spell, Judas Priest – Sad Wings of Destiny, Celtic Frost – To Mega Therion.

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