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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Review: Sarasin - Sarasin

Sarasin is a band formed way back in the '80s. Their first release was a 5 song EP named “Lay down your guns” and was released in '87.

29 years later and with just a single original member left (original bassist Rob Grant passed away in 2012) Sarasin return with their 1st album that carries the band's name for its title.

As the promo sheet claims Sarasin play classic heavy metal the way it was done back in the '80s. Elements from bands like Ozzy, Judas Priest, Saxon & Iron Maiden (especially in the dual guitar harmonies) are identifiable but Sarasin are keeping their own identity throughout the whole album.

The band prefers to write mid tempo tunes something that might be a turn off for people that prefer faster stuff, however in their case this actually works for their favor. In combination with Mike Wilson's powerful voice and delivery the band creates an almost mystical atmosphere to their music. Musicianship is adequate without going over the top. There aren't any flashy guitar solos or extreme showmanship here, instead Sarasin focuses on creating music that has depth and requires the listener's attention and many spins in order to understand it better. This in total contrast to music written in '00s and after and goes against the trend of creating something “to attract the audience limited attention span”, man this phrase makes me cringe every time I hear it coming out from someone's mouth!

“Sinkhole” is one of the highlights of the album with its powerful and hypnotic atmosphere. In this tune the guys introduce some progressive elements to their sound that definitely to works to their favor. The closing “Wake me up” is another tune that I found very interesting.

I must mention again the unique voice of Mike Wilson which combines strictly clean singing (like it was done in Ozzy's first 3 albums) along with influences from Tim “Ripper” Owens especially in the low end of his voice. His singing and tone are strong and vibrant throughout the entire album. However the lack of catchy choruses is a minus here as the majority of the songs seem to be missing something in this department.

Production is clear but nothing special. It simply does the job, what I'd like to listen would be a heavier approach in both guitars and drums, also not to crazy about the way the vocals are mixed.

Sarasin have returned with a vengeance this isn't a simple album to grasp on first spin. Extra attention is required to understand what its creators had in mind so a big thumbs up for that. I'm up to the challenge, are you?

Written by Manos Xanthakis

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