It’s not the first time we have been caught out by press hyperbole and definitely won’t be the last. French trio The Sacrifice apparently were originally called Panzer Flower and with a name like that and a number 2 hit in their home country called ‘We Are Beautiful’ no doubt had some sorta hippie ideals. Now they are known as The Sacrifice and we are told they are a metal and synth wave band, the group themselves citing influences including Mayhem and Venom. Ok well as far as the second part of that is concerned there is definitely no hint of metal here in the slightest and as far as black and extreme metal is concerned I can only scratch my nuts in confusion. So to me synth wave is music that is on the whole electronic retro worship to the cold days of the 80’s and essentially referential to the soundtracks of the great horror and cheesy action films of the era. I personally think that it is a dish best served instrumentally to invoke the atmosphere of the films and when I am confronted with vocals it doesn’t often work. There are exceptions to the rule of course and just one listen to Carpenter Brut covering Michael Sembello’s 83 classic Maniac with Joe Spinell sleazing it up on a screen in front of you and you will see exactly what I mean.
Unfortunately The Sacrifice apart from some familiar keyboard motifs are not really synth-wave, miss-sold again as this is much nearer to synth-pop with vocals in most tracks and a euro pop pomp sensibility. It’s not a style I am adverse to although the futurist scene that it grew out of in steel town Sheffield with the likes of the 1st couple of Human League albums is where I am most comfortable. This is not cold and futuristic but quite the opposite and bordering on bad club EBM. Biggest influence (forget all about Mayhem and Venom) is definitely Depeche Mode and also Giorgio Moroder. Now I love a bit of Basildon’s finest and listened to them pretty religiously through my teens and beyond, from ‘Speak and Spell’ right through to ‘Songs Of Love And Devotion’ basically. At times The Sacrifice do a good job at citing Dave Gahan and co and I can enjoy this as a blast from the past. However at other times the vocals do veer a bit too close to The Pet Shop Boys for my liking, not what you are expecting at all when we have imaginatively been proffered “intergalactic puppies chewing on razorblades, and fuming vicars hanging upside down!”
Still it’s all quite catchy and earworms get in your head as the trio behind it including the delightfully named Reverend Prick lay out these 11 numbers. There’s some ideas here, Order Of Disorder’ nabbing Rammstein light melody and ‘Under The Moon’ an 80’s video game motif beat. Then there’s ‘Moving To The City’ the biggest slice of baked camembert I have heard in ages, seriously if you want a life affirming upbeat tune this one would give High Spirits a run for their money. Basically though after listening to this a few times it’s the sort of style us Brits were doing much better over 30 years ago and thank god for those of us who lived through it, we have long since moved on. Perhaps it would have been more acceptable if it were not for the way it was presented and ultimately it’s just too tempting to blame Ulver for all this stylistic renaissance
(4/10 Pete Woods)