For the first time in their discography so far, Sacred Son make a significant stylistic change of heart when deciding for an album cover ar...

Sacred Son - The Foul Deth of Engelond (2022)

For the first time in their discography so far, Sacred Son make a significant stylistic change of heart when deciding for an album cover art, a topic that was on its own a topic of discussion up to now. We were used to seeing rather earthly, social media-like personal pictures so far, which not only didn't remind of a black metal band at all, they wouldn't fit (unlike the music) any category of the "extreme" scene or anything even remote to that. At the same time, that was the most eye-catching point of the band for me, as the music itself was, at the times when it wasn't just clear reproduction of already known atmospheric / black metal, just uninspiring.

To be fair, the cover of The Foul Deth of Engelond is now amazing. The story behind this conceptual album is also really intriguing, covering the Peasants' Revolt of 1381, an important event in the history of England, and with a clear social predilection that is still relevant today, and more and more vocal within extreme metal. In that sense, I am totally for the turn Sacred Son have taken with their latest album. However, the band's material is still carrying the same problematic ends I have found in their previous works, and while having a handful of potent moments, it is in general a rather mediocre effort.

All tracks (apart from an one minute introduction) are long in duration and have multiple segments stapled together. There is a sense of flow which isn't perfect, but not completely out of balance either, as there are dots connecting the different parts together. Sacred Son's formula is easy to follow, and one can listen to it in the album's first two tracks, which are basically identical: middle paced build up moments, intense fast tempos with pale keyboards in the back, and back to slow or too slow sections that sometimes overstay their welcome.

For example, the ending of the self-titled track is clearly too long and without any kind of change, filling up a couple of extra minutes for no apparent reason. At the same time, the earlier, faster part is decent, and the same goes for "La Blakheth", which has a really dull introduction but a bit more intriguing guitar activity towards the middle (yet, something you have definitely heard before), before going back to slow-tempos of too many repetitions. The vocals are generally weak, and these two tracks specifically, have a kind of whispering / breathing into the microphone technique that I thought was horrible.

The Foul Deth of Engelond continues with an equally turbulent track that is unsure in itself what atmosphere to evoke (a general problem of the album, it's clear and without a substantial atmosphere at any point despite the attempts). By "Vengeance I & II", the album's last track, Sacred Son have completely given up, that track is basically nine minutes of waiting for a main part that never comes. Apart from the rhythmic introduction with male / female clean vocals, which makes you want to listen to late Wolves in the Throne Room or Wardruna, this track is by far the weakest here.

From the record, I enjoyed the more violent moments. However, they are scrambled together with a lot of slow-paced monotony, too many smaller elements that don't add up (piano, samples, unfortunately don't work) and a clear weakness of understanding of how to take a certain approach. The Foul Deth of Engelond remains as another boring Sacred Son album that I'm not going to listen to again, yet I was satisfied that I saw such a nice design and tracks with interesting lyrics for once. That they know well.

DAMAGE: 2.5/5 [Average]