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Sacred Heart


"Darkness Falls" review Fireworks Magazine


"Darkness Falls" is the second full album from UK rockers Sacred Heart. Whilst their debut "Shake" was heavily influenced by US melodic rock bands such as classic era Dokken, this latest release has, dare I say it, a slightly more modern and straight ahead feel in places. Now I know that some people may be immediately turned off by that description, but I would ask you to bear in mind that the softer approach found in places here is extremely effective.

Opening track "Down" is actually one of the heaviest offerings on the album and its glam/punk attitude is a great way to kickstart the disc. That said it really isn't too indicative of what follows. "Best In Me" resurrects the Dokken sound with a hint of Ozzy thrown in, and even two tracks in Paul Stead's guitar playing and vocals impress, second guitarist Mark Stephenson adds to the attack and together they make a tight and effective unit. "No One Knows (War)" has a theme that tugs at that heart musically. However when combined with a lyric inspired by a documentary on Afghanistan, the impact is quite powerful and moving. Not wishing to stay downbeat for long, "TV Movie" is an inspired move with its meaty rhythm provided by Alex Burke on drums and bassist Nathan J Lark allowing the guitars to really soar, and the melody line that runs through the track is quite wonderful. Although the slightly tinny drum sound of "Top Of The Class" does let it down, the gentle mid paced rocker is well constructed and with the right backing this is the sort of song that could make a dent on the singles chart. The more sedate approach now begins to take hold of the album with "Everybody" being reminiscent of a heavier Cutting Crew, with its sharp guitars and atmospheric keyboards blurring the lines between rock and pop very tastefully indeed. This new found sense of maturity is also evident on "Music Man", "On My Way" and "Little Miss Sunshine" as they use gentle strings and a restrained guitar attack to create an emotional punch that really hits it mark.

Interestingly Sacred Heart has also reworked four songs from their early demos and for those buying the physical CD version of the album the original demos are also included so you can compare and contrast between the two. The new versions of "What It Takes" and "Forever" fit seamlessly with Sacred Heart"s current outlook and could really be from the same writing sessions, however "Lay It On The Line" and "Rock "N" Roll Away" are more guitar oriented and a have a far edgier vocal performance than the rest of the album. Listening to the original recordings of these four tracks illustrates how much Sacred Heart have changed their emphasis, as these versions sound like they come straight from a session by Dokken or Coney Hatch and as bonus tracks go they are welcome here, not just for their novelty, but also for their class.

UK bands aren"t really renowned for executing the type of mature melody driven rock presented on "Darkness Falls", and Sacred Heart should be applauded for doing so with such style.

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