The Swedish melodic death metal scene produced several classic albums; Slaughter Of The Soul, The Jester Race, The Gallery, Purgatory Afterglow, and several other albums that have influenced bands beyond the death metal genre. Sacrilege were a member of this scene in the late 90s, featuring In Flames drummer Daniel Svensson. They released two albums, Lost In The Beauty You Slay and The Fifth Season. Both are highly regarded as good quality albums, but neither really made a mark in the melodic death metal movement. The former of the pair however is certainly a very good album, providing a solid mixture of heaviness and melody that works effectively to make it a very strong album.
Musically the band is solid in most respects. The guitars on this album aren’t especially technical but work through melodic lines and guitar harmonies, occasionally relying on black metal – ish chords and fast tremolo picked figures. The bass is practically inaudible, but provides a solid backing. Daniel Svensson’s drum work is a highlight however, featuring a good mixture of fast double bass and slower lines. Vocally the album varies a fair bit; the mid range growls featured are solid and suit the overall tone of the music, but the lower growled vocals on the album sound much worse, though aren’t about as much so don’t compromise the album too greatly. There are no clean vocals on the album, unlike quite a few melodic death metal albums, which can be viewed as an advantage from a cohesion standpoint.
The opening track, Frozen Thoughts gives you a simple overview of the album as a whole; melodic riffage and high velocity aggression all contained in a tight package. This simple approach is one of the albums strengths, as nothing ever feels too jarring or especially unnecessary, and while the acoustic sections, such as the one at the beginning of Beyond The Gates Of Pain, aren’t adding too much to the overall package, they take nothing away, and the whole package grooves well and fits together well. Tracks such as Fettered In Shackles Of light demonstrate the lower vocals of the album, which, as mentioned earlier, aren’t especially good, but the rest of the band’s performance is powerful enough to an extent where it hardly matters. In addition, the songs never feel too drawn out, the longest track being the aforementioned Fettered In Shackles Of Light, which doesn’t drag near the end of its 5:00 duration. In addition, none of the tracks really feel as though they should be longer than they are, even the 2:45 Beyond The Gates Of Pain. The riffs of the album are constantly stellar as well, as not a single riff feels weak throughout, keeping the songs with a driving power without becoming monotonous.
The album isn’t without weaknesses. The songs are all similar in terms of structure and mood, which can get somewhat dull, but probably the most strange issue is the lack of guitar solos, which feels like a pointless thing to miss out and several of the songs don’t quite feel as though they are reaching their full potential. Also, the closing acoustic track, Initio Silentium Noctis feels pointless and isn’t executed in a way that makes it an effective instrumental track. In addition, there is double bass drumming in the song which feels extremely out of place for a calm instrumental track. In many ways it feels like an incomplete song rather than an appropriate instrumental.
Overall this is a very simple album to get to grips with overall if you are an experienced death metal listener, but it possesses great riffs and power to keep it ahead of several of the rivals of its time in terms of quality.