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Review of the Album Total Steel by Japanese Thrash Metal Band Sacrifice

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

This photo represents part of the album's title and also shows that Japan was on its way up the heavy metal ladder.

This photo represents part of the album's title and also shows that Japan was on its way up the heavy metal ladder.

What Is the Main Problem With the Album Total Steel?

Sacrifice is one of those bands that may even be forgotten in the Japanese metal scene mostly because they were inactive from 1992 until about 2013 when they reformed and got back together. However, one big con as was the case with this band’s 1987 debut album is the vocals themselves. The album being reviewed here is Total Steel which came out in 1990.

Why the vocals in this album are as bad as they are

Even if they don’t sound as hoarse and muffled, the harsh shouts and general loud vocals are very hard to comprehend at most points. Rough vocals are a part of many bands but there is too much harsh shouting in this album and that’s counterproductive to the listening through of metal music of any type let alone thrash metal.

A Good Aspect of the Album Total Steel

The lead guitar work though is decent and you have to give these Japanese guys credit for that. The album begins in a rather interesting way.

How Does the Album Total Steel Begin?

There are sounds of what seems to be a race car racing on the race tracks and then the heavy guitar begins. The song Clumsy Life can be thought of as a humorous way to say that life begins and then you die. Although it seems like we can be lost in this world, we know ourselves better than anyone else and we know what we are doing. Or do we really know what we are doing? There is a lead guitar part in this song that is very much neoclassical in nature and it actually strengthens the quality of this opening track.

"Clumsy Life"

A Brief Comment About the Production In Total Steel

The production and riffing sound doesn’t really differ too much from the album Crest in Black though and that’s because at this time, the technology wasn’t as advanced compared to now.

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"Crucifixion and Dancing Death Valley"

Total Steel Is Another Good Song But

“Total Steel” the title track features a harsh shouts even more harsh than the first track and the focus is getting as brutal with the vocals as possible. What was the goal of this band at the time? If it was to sound like an Eastern Asian version of the band St. Hood they came up very short. One thing that can be said is that Japan is a nation that eventually was able to climb up the musical ladder and make themselves relevant as a heavy metal nation. They aren’t exactly a heavy metal powerhouse but they are very respectable even if the vocals of the band Sacrifice are not the best.

How Is the Album Total Steel by the Third Listen?

One Night King is a song that lyrically can be interpreted as a person wanting to be on top of the world as the king of his own domain. He wants to be king for just one night. However, this song is not as good as Metallica’s King Nothing which isn’t even close to being thrash metal but that’s a different story. The bass lines in the song Ins and Outs are kind of like Iron Maiden and very solid. As we take a look at this 1990 album, this is going to be the third straight time that this writer listens to this album and how does it feel? Now I see in the first song a sound that resembles kind of what happens in the song Steel Tormentor by German power metal and Helloween. .

The Finest Moment of the Album Total Steel

However, the finest moment musically on the Total Steel album may be the short, classically influenced instrumental song called Crucifixion. Andres Segovia would have been very proud of this song for sure!

© 2019 Ara Vahanian

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