Cain's Alibi - Sanctified

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Nightmare Records
Catalog Number: NMR99162
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:39:00

I have been listening to Minnesota-based Cain's Alibi's Sanctified off and on for the past few weeks now, not quite sure what I wanted to say about it other than it is crunchy, Metallica-like metal. Unlike Metallica though, vocalist Paul Miller has a more melodious voice. I wouldn't call Cain's Alibi a Metallica clone because the similarities aren't that prevalent. I quite like this release, by the way, as it slowly worked its charms on me. Somewhat incongruous, but very interesting, is the opening bass line to "The One," courtesy of Mark Christenson, a bass line that made me think of Tony Levin, at least sonically. This track then moves into a very Queenryche like neighborhood for a bit, but moves out again as the bass is much more room to carry the rhythm. While Miller has some Tate like styling to his vocals here, I wouldn't say he is exactly Tate like. With two guitarists playing lead in the band (Miller and Krister Pihl), I can't tell you who takes the lead on which track, but whoever it is here is treating us to some tasty guitar phrases that don't overpower the rest of the song. They don't blaze new territory, but treads the ground very solidly. It's a tight, engaging track. Derrick Dotterweich's drums are just as solid, throbbing in just the right way.

The album opens right away in your face with a crunchy up front attack - booming bass, brutal drums, laser precise guitars in "Guilty Of Humanity." "Santified" starts very angular; I thought of King Crimson, but very fleetingly. Eastern motifs accent "War Gods," no doubt a musical reference to the Middle East. Saddam mostly likely, as his visage is rendered on the album's cover along with Castro, Hitler, Mussolini, Clinton, someone who could be the Marlboro Man (or maybe they just hate country music), images of the KKK, and others that I can't quite identify. Interestingly, there is a partially masked face that resembles that on the cover of IQ's The Wake... All of this is rendered on to a figure sitting in a squared chair like Lincoln, only this figures wearing a Nordic-like helmet with demonic styling. The booklet itself is illustrated with dark images both contextually and beause deep blacks and blues are mostly used.

"Live By The Sword" opens with an acoustic guitar intro from Pihl, leading into heavy percussion, bass, and an electric solo. For all the speed of the backing track, the vocals are delivered in a slow but even pace. "Don't Tread On Me," Metallica's pro-US track from the 1991's self-titled disk came to mind, but again only briefly. "Powermad" isn't about the festival...though I suppose if one were to put the right spin on the lyrics, it could be. It's another track with a catchy chorus, not in the way pop does, but the way Miller's voice slides along the word "powermad" makes it stick in your mind.

One of the most interesting tracks on the album is "His Lullaby," which strongly has an Eastern motif in its dark, harmonized chorus. For me this is the highlight as I truly dig this song. It is dark and light at the same time, by which I mean that there are some dark tones, but because the arrangement is open, because the vocals are smooth, it is also light. In a way, it really is a lullaby as the way the vocals are handled are deceptively soothing. Evil seduces to his realm.

Cain's Alibi are a band to watch; this is only their second release. It is very strong and varied enough in sound to keep you interested. Recommended.

Guilty Of Humanity (3:54) / Sanctified (4:40) / War Gods (4:52) / Rise Up (4:32) / Live By The Sword (5:10) / His Lullaby (4:06) / Powermad (4:17) / The One (5:01) / Millennium Drum (6:07)

Paul Miller - lead vocals, rhythm and lead guitars
Krister Pihl - lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, backing vocals
Mark Christenson - bass, backing vocals
Derrick Dotterweich - drums, percussion, and backing vocals

Cain's Alibi (1998)
Sanctified (2000)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: August 2nd 2001
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow

Artist website:
Hits: 1155
Language: english


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