For many, the Greek metal scene should need no introduction, particularly when thinking of black metal. (Six Degrees of Rotting Christ is a fun game to play over at Metal Archives.) But the country offers more than just the cold and corpse-painted, as a young wave of traditionally-minded acts have been emerging. Huge among these is Sacral Rage, a foursome of speed-thrashing, prod-tinged maniacs that sound transplanted from the late 80s/early 90s period of experimentation. Illusions in Infinite Void, the band’s full length debut, is an impressive and wickedly fun slab that calls to mind everyone from Sanctuary and Watchtower to Mercyful Fate and Megadeth. But more impressive is the band’s ability to carry a unique personality, crafting a freshness that is too often missing from throwback metal.
To delve a bit deeper into what makes Sacral Rage tick, we asked them a quick five questions. As you will see below, their enthusiasm for heavy metal extends far beyond what happens on their records. This reflects greatly on not only the band’s future, but on the health and hunger of the Greek scene as a whole. Read on…
First of all, what would you like people to know about Sacral Rage? Your past, mission, plans, etc. Mostly, what does “Sacral Rage” mean to you guys?
Salute, people! We are Sacral Rage, raised to bring pure metal madness to the masses! We didn’t use our time machine to travel back in time to experience the old school feeling. Instead, we used it to bring the old school here to our days. Our first weapon was Deadly Bits of Iron Fragments, a seven track EP, and we are ready to strike with our full length Illusions in Infinite Void. The plan is to play as many gigs as possible around the world and create an army of ragers. The madness must be spread…
As a whole band, a lot of your influences are pretty easy to hear. But with all of the soloing and bass fills and crazy vocal lines, a huge amount of individual personality shines through on Illusions in Infinite Void. As individuals, who are some of your personal heroes and biggest influences?
Dimitris K. (vocals): Midnight, Jonathon Stewart, Tyrant, Carl Albert, John Bush, John Miller, Ski, Alan Tecchio, Jason McMaster, Warrel Dane, James Rivera, Joseph Comeau, Rob Halford, King Diamond.
Marios P. (guitar): Paul Gilbert, Brian May, Al Di Meola (the early days), Jeff Waters, Marty Friedman.
Vagelis F. (drums): Chris Reifert, Away, Reed St. Mark, Igor Cavalera, Les Binks, Rick Colaluca, Neil Peart, Nicke Anderson, Jurgen “Ventor” Reil.
Spyros (bass): Billy Sheehan, Marcel Jacob, Stu Hamm, Steve DiGiorgio, Doug Keyser, Brian Bonini, Roger Patterson.
Despite only being separated by two years, Sacral Rage made a pretty huge jump from the Deadly Bits of Iron Fragments EP to Illusions in Infinite Void. The full length added a lot more thrash to the speed metal, as well as some breaks into prog, and overall it sounds much more confident. To what would you attribute such rapid growth and maturation as a band?
You have to know that Deadly was finished in the fifth month after the band had been formed. So if you move aside at least the first two [months] when we needed to play covers in order to bind as players, we had only three months for composing, recording, mixing and mastering the EP. The rush came from the fact that Marios had to serve his mandatory military service to the Greek army. So for the time we had, we did things more than well. On Illusions in Infinite Void, on the other hand, we had time on our side. We stayed with the same paths and influences as they were on Deadly, but we were able to express them in a smoother way. We also had the time to change and evolve our songs.
With the longstanding greatness of Greek black metal and the more recent success of traditionally-minded bands like Battleroar, it seems to be a really exciting time for heavy metal in the Hellenic Republic. How much does this fruitful scene help bands when getting their start? More simply, how much crazy fun is it all?
The Greek metal scene is definitely burning. You can find many great albums coming out from various subgenres of metal, and not only from older [bands] but also from newer bands. As you might have heard, Greek metalheads are among the craziest bastards in the world and they can transform any venue into a battlefield. So imagine that picture: On one hand you have great bands at the peak of their musicianship and on the other hand you have one of the most energetic audiences. Result? Our local scene is epic! And all the things surronding it evolved, such as live shows, festivals, quality of sound in venues; more people drag into the metal world, more bands, more musicianship. . . . We hope that we will gain worldwide recognition soon enough. . . . Some extremely interesting Greek bands are: Convixion, Wrathbalde, Demolition Train, Steamroller Assault, War Dance, Doomogracy, Wardrum, Chainsaw, Exarsis, Nightbreed, Released Anger, Endless Recovery, Necrovorous, and Dead Congregation.
Finally, what’s next for Sacral Rage? Touring or hitting the festival circuit? Already getting back into songwriting mode and thinking about the next album?
You know, just a little [bit] of everything. We are supporting the “soldiers of steel,” Sanctuary, at their Athenian appearance. We are playing in Germany at the Keep it True festival and in Belgium at the Heavy Sound festival. We are also making some plans for touring, but nothing is official yet. As far as the songwriting, we are already working on the first ideas for our next strike. Of course, we have a [lot of ground] to cover since we compete with ourselves and we want to surpass Illusions.