Sanctum - Let's Eat

Cold Meat Industry

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Sometimes change is necessary.  We don’t always like it at first.  And we may never fully get used to it.  But over time, change can mature us and open our minds to new and fulfilling things.

 

Take Sanctum for instance.  Most listeners only know this band by their 1996 debut Lupus in Fabula, or from their remix songs on Extol’s Mesmerized EP.  Great stuff for sure, but to miss the rest of the band’s work would be criminal.  The limited edition vinyl, The Answer to His Riddle and the live recording New York City Bluster were both fabulous recordings that are a must in any industrial lovers collection.  Then, to absolutely torture even their most beloved fans, the band released a limited edition full length (I mean 50 copies limited) called Clarify.  That disc blew my mind and instantly became one of my favorite albums.

 

But this was about change correct?  Well, the change here is that Lena; one of the most captivating and breathtaking female vocalists of all time, the one who graced the previous Sanctum albums has left the band.  This was crushing to me when I first found out.  The result is an album that while bearing obvious Sanctum signatures, is a very different listen compared to their past work.

 

After my first bite into Let’s Eat, I wasn’t sure what to think.  After numerous listens, the ups and downs and mood swings of this album have begun to suck me into their world and my only choice is to relinquish complete control and go with the flow.  Where Sanctum’s past material was beautiful and moving, mixed with the harsh and haunting, this new material is more raw and powerful.  The haunting aspect is still there, but this music seems to be more twisted and inaccessible.  Where the old Sanctum garnered music lovers that didn’t even care for industrial, this album will most likely scare those people away.  Let’s Eat is comparable to having your head plunged under water, and just when panic begins to set in you’re yanked above the surface for only a few brief seconds of oxygen before being forced beneath the surface again.  While the new Sanctum is in no way a clone, some of the material here makes me think of similarities to Jan and Hkan’s side project Parca Pace.  The yelled vocals accompanied by tribal beats create an atmosphere that could almost be cause for industrial headbanging.  In fact, a lot of the music here can even be considered danceable compared to the more gothic sounds of the older Sanctum.

 

Despite all the differences, this album is pure genius in my opinion.  Sanctum has carefully crafted an incredible masterpiece that should have industrial fans in a frenzy.  Whether it’s the intensity of “Lie Low” or “Nar?”, or the moving intro to the title track, Sanctum takes you by the hand and leads you into a world all their own.  One that resembles the world of no other band out there.  A world of industrial noise and rough beats, soft and delicate piano, soothing violin, and an array of other creative and attention grabbing sounds put together in a way that is nothing short of brilliant. 

 

For those that couldn’t get enough of the female vocals on past releases, guest vocalist Sara-Lo av Ekstam lends her voice on the song “A Pose”.  She has an interesting, yet captivating voice.  Unfortunately, I can’t help but wish that Lena were singing instead of Ekstam.  Other than that, you are going to hear nothing but the male vocalists in the band, going from harsh screams, to passionate yelling, to calm spoken or whispered vocals.

 

The rest of the “package” is just as impressive as the music.  The production is fantastic and the first 2000 copies come in a very nice digipak.  The lyrics are sung in English, but the song notes on the inside are all in Swedish, so I can’t read any of the inside.  Since the lyrics are not printed in the booklet, I’ve not spent a great deal digging into that aspect of this release.  Once I do, I’ll try to update this review to incorporate my opinions on what the band sings about this time around.

 

So, is this album the band’s best yet?  That is very difficult to say because of the big difference in sound this time around.  It’s almost like a totally different band at times.  But let's be clear that Let’s Eat is a feast for the ears and is easily the best new industrial styled album I’ve heard this year.  With all the projects that some of the band members are involved in…Sanctum, Parca Pace, Mago, Azure Skies, etc…it’s amazing that they can continue to come up with such innovative music with each different band.  All I know is that this is a band that releases nothing if it does not contain 100% quality from start to finish.  (Review by Matt)

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