Without a song: Sanctorum – Semper Fidelis

Semper Fidelis Album CoverWithout a song throws a spotlight on albums and tracks beloved of Skin Back Alley. Old, new, classic or cutting edge, our aim is to share good music that has touched us through the years.

Artist: Sanctorum
Album: Semper Fidelis
Originally Released: 2011
Label: Auburn Fox Records

The first thought that occurs to me when listening to Sanctorum’s third album, Semper Fidelis, is usually: “Bugger me! Why the f**k are this band not global metal superstars by now?!”

I then take a moment to briefly consider the swathes of shit that have crossed over into the realms of worldwide adulation, my synapses working overtime in order to try and and understand why this blazing display of dynamism, technical proficiency and yes, hook-laden melody, has not somehow delivered the same level of fanaticism for this Colchester cohort.

Tours supporting LA metal stalwarts My Ruin; sets at Bloodstock; appearances alongside the likes of Napalm Death, Evile and God Forbid; production from David Chang of earthone9 and Orange Goblin fame and, most importantly, as engaging and hair-raising a slab of molten metal as you’re ever going to launch down your lugholes. Amongst all these high points, there has been an unfathomable lack of cross-over and traction.

I just don’t get it.

From the opening title track onward, Semper Fidelis beats you violently around the head in a sonic attack sure to leave you breathless and yet begging for more. The band bring together elements of death, thrash, groove and good old fashioned British heavy metal in a heady blend. Across its 13 tracks and 59 minutes, the album is never less than thrilling.

“Dying Breed” is an excellent example of Sanctorum’s songcraft; A combination of Aaron Sly’s serrated screams combined with melodic, clean-cut metalcore vocals, thundering percussion from Matt Alston that is crisp, precise and consummate without being inaccessible, and Alex Commons’ and Sly’s walls of gnarled and biting guitar, over which Commons lets rip with prudently placed solos that soar and stalk with the minacious power of a bird of prey. The whole thing builds throughout it’s running time to a devastating climax, executed with skill and spine-tingling potency.

Sanctorum 2014 Lineup Promo Shot - Cropped

Elsewhere “Rise Of The Underdog” thrashes along at breakneck speed, demonstrating the band’s astounding skill, and delivering a heads-down, horns-up, explosion of a song. “Empty Glass” brings the doom-laden, foreboding atmosphere, all picked guitar and melodic vocal lines that gather momentum and erupt with volcanic intensity, laying waste to all in its path.

“Crown Of Scars” is an epic ending to proceedings, just shy of 7 minutes in length and weaving a fibrous tapestry along the way. It takes in NWOBHM-esque guitar, searing speed, breakdowns that Rage Against The Machine would give their eye teeth for, and groove the likes of which hasn’t been heard since Pantera’s early 90s golden age.

My extremely basic understanding of Latin suggests that Sanctorum roughly translates as “Saints”, and Semper Fidelis “Always Faithful.” The fact that Sanctorum are still here and making peerless heavy metal (the likes of which many other bands can’t come close to matching) and yet have still to make a more significant impact upon the world of music, makes them saintly and faithful in the best possible way.

On the eve of playing a summer tour this August in support of My Ruin, and about to unleash their new album on the world, it’s about bloody time that the heavy metal community – in the UK in particular, but the world over too – sits up and takes notice of one of the very best bands that these isles have to offer. For their music not to be heard is, to my mind, unthinkable.

Rise Of The Underdog? Quite. Together, let’s make it happen.

~ oOo ~

Watch the video for “Rise Of The Underdog” – shot on tour with My Ruin in 2012 – below:

Sanctorum will play:

Friday 15th Aug: Alt-Fest, Kettering
Saturday 16th Aug: Underworld, Camden
Sunday 17th Aug: The Haunt, Brighton
Tuesday 19th Aug: Sound Control, Manchester
Wednesday 20th Aug: O2 Academy, Birmingham
Thursday 21st Aug: The Fleece, Bristol
Friday 22nd Aug: The Duchess, York
Saturday 23rd Aug: The Waterfront, Norwich

Semper Fidelis is out now on Auburn Fox Records and can be ordered from the band’s official merch store

For news on the imminent release of the band’s new album, keep your eyes on Skin Back Alley, and check out Sanctorum’s official Facebook page and Twitter feed

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Sanctorum reveal new bassist ahead of UK tour

Sanctorum 2014 Lineup Promo Shot - Cropped

UK metal band Sanctorum have revealed that they have a new bass player.

Ahead of their UK tour with LA metal vets My Ruin this August, the band have recruited Matt Adamson to bring the low-end rhythm and rumble.

Writing via their Facebook page, Sanctorum said: “The Sacred Mood Tour with My Ruin is now just 5 weeks away, so we would like to introduce you to our new bass player Matt Adamson – come give him a warm welcome at one of the shows!”

The band have also teased their new album, stating: “Check back here next week, as we will be revealing the artwork for our new album coming VERY soon!”

You can watch the video for Sanctorum’s track “Paradigm”, taken from their last studio album, Semper Fidelis, below:

Meanwhile, the band have also announced that they are to play a set at Attitude Metal Fest in November. The event is a charity festival, with proceeds going to the Team Baby Tasker Children’s Charity. The festival takes place on the 29th November at Claremont Pier, Lowestoft.

Sanctorum will play in support of My Ruin during The Sacred Mood tour as follows:

Friday 15th Aug: Alt-Fest, Kettering
Saturday 16th Aug: Underworld, Camden
Sunday 17th Aug: The Haunt, Brighton
Tuesday 19th Aug: Sound Control, Manchester
Wednesday 20th Aug: O2 Academy, Birmingham
Thursday 21st Aug: The Fleece, Bristol
Friday 22nd Aug: Fibbers, York
Saturday 23rd Aug: The Waterfront, Norwich

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Listen as Yorkshire grungers Allusondrugs stream debut EP in full!

allusondrugs_2014

Yorkshire grunge rockers Allusondrugs are streaming their eponymous – and awesome! – debut EP in full.

You can listen here at Skin Back Alley by clicking below.

The EP will be released via Clue Records on the 21st of July. If you like what you hear, you can pre-order your copy of the six track monster, here.


The band will be playing an extensive string of live shows throughout the summer and early autumn, so there’s really no excuse not to check them out! Tour dates are as follows:

July:

11 Keighley Exchange Arts Centre
12 Leeds Works Skatepark
17 Camden Proud Galleries
19 Huddersfield Bar 1:22
20 Sheffield Rocking Chair
25 Sheffield Tramlines Festival
26 Barnsley Coalfields Festival
26 Workington Lounge 41
27 Wakefield Clarence Festival

August:

1 Sowerby Bridge Puzzle Hall
2 Leeds Temple of Boom
7 Glasgow Bar Bloc
14 Leeds Wharf Chambers
23 Maidstone Rafters

September:

5 Halifax Dog House
8 Wakefield Warehouse 23
11 Glasgow Hairdressers
12 Aberdeen Downstairs
13 Long Division Festival Wakefield
13 Liverpool Pickett / Division
14 Newcastle Think Tank
15 Swansea Static Bar
16 Nottingham Red Rooms
17 London Upstairs The Garage
18 Brighton Sticky Mikes
19 Milton Keynes Crawford Arms
20 Huddlefest Huddersfield
21 Guilford Boiler Rooms
22 Southampton Joiners
27 Carpe Diem Leeds

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Italian rockers Armonight to embark on UK tour

Armonight Band Shot 001

Italian hard rockers Armonight have announced a series of live dates in the UK in support of their third full length album, Recover.

The album, released in December of last year, sees Armonight take a more guitar oriented approach to their sound. The LP was recorded at Malo Sound Therapy Recording Studios in Vicenza and is distributed via Klasse1 Edizioni.

The band were recently subject to the censorship of their new album cover, as it’s painted depiction of a naked female looking out at the sun setting over the sea, back to the viewer, was deemed to have the potential to cause offence. Armonight were therefore forced to place a “censored” label across the figures buttocks.

Said the band via a statement on their website: ” The band was forced to apply a “CENSORED” label on the “buttocks” because their graphical representation is considered “immoral” by the authorities. The original physical copies of the CD represent the image without censure. You will judge if the Nude can be offensive for someone’s sensibility.”

You can watch the official video to new song “Night Of Illusions” below:

Armonight will play:

28th of Aug: Merry Monk, Bishop Auckland
30th of Aug: Raffs Bar, Wellingborough
31st Aug: South Sea Live, Sheffield
2nd of Sep: Lady Luck Bar, Canterbury
4th of Sep: The Roadhouse, Birmingham
5th of Sep: The Patriot, Crumlin

Armonight Recover Album ArtCheck out Armonight’s official webpage at armonight.com, or head on over to their Facebook page here and their official Twitter feed here

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