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SACRED HEART Darkness Falls (2009)

Now I've been a fan of this band since reviewing their 'Lay It On The Line' album released back in 2003 and have seen them live a fair few times. They have got better with age that's for sure as live they really do come into their own. Now we reach their new album where vocalist/guitarist Paul Stead and guitarist Paul Stephenson remain from the 'Lay It On The Line' album and are now joined by bassist Nathan J Lark, drummer Alex Burke and guitarist Sinclair Muir.

This new album has seventeen songs, including four re-recordings and four demos of songs that featured on the 'Lay It On The Line' album. Gone are the 80's melodic rock hints and instead we get a more modern melodic hard rock sound, Nickelback now more than FM although the band's ear for a riff driven melody is still showing strongly. Listen to modern rocker 'Down' or 'Best In Me' and you can hear the step-up in production and overall sound. Good news are the use of keyboards - hurrah! 'Everybody' and 'On My Way' benefit from them adding more depth and some contrast to the guitar riffs. Mind you never mind keys they only go and add strings on the ballad 'Little Miss Sunshine', a strong ballad that is their best to date.

Of the re-recorded songs 'Rock 'N' Roll Away' is awesome and it was a decent enough song to start with. The additon of Hammond, heavier guitar and gang chorus backing vocals justifies having another go at the song.

If I has one gripe it would be opening with 'Music Man', a great song about the muisician's lot in life but for me an album with so many rockers would maybe have been better having say 'Down' or the ultra catchy 'TV Movie' opening the album.

Sacred Heart have produced their best album to date and this album is bound to win them some new fans. They have always been great live and with this new album they have proved they have it in them to take it up a level song and production wise. Crank it up!


Review by Jason Ritchie

Sacred Heart play Cambridge Rock Festival on August 8

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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