Hawaii’s Sacred Rite self-released their eponymous debut LP in 1984. Sacred Rite was also released by the French label Axe Killer Records, with a different cover (see below). Sacred Rite, consisting of seven cuts, stands today as a razor-sharp shard of shimmering American steel. Sacred Rite sounded like hundreds of other bands and nobody all at once. Sure, they would have fit in nicely on the Metal Blade Records roster among the likes of Witchkiller or Omen, but I think there was just a little something extra special about Sacred Rite. To me, they weren’t just another mid-eighties metal band.
Wings Of Pegasus opens the album with a rapid drum beat and some agile bass guitar work. The verse comes along frantically, creating tension before giving way to the steady 4/4 beat of the inspired chorus. The trade-off between the nervous verses and the fist pumping chorus is a nice push/pull, giving the song plenty of dynamic power. The kinetic energy continues on The Blade and Angels Never Die, here Sacred Rite fused the shadowy vibe of the NWOBHM with the epic glory and technical proficiency of the still-burgeoning American power metal scene. The album reaches its high point on the great track R.I.P., which features somber arpeggiated guitar picking beneath a menacing verse, building up to a driving bridge/chorus combination that soars valiantly.
In 2002, the good folks at Sentinel Steel Records released a Sacred Rite CD compilation called Rites Of Passage Volume I which included six of the seven cuts from the Sacred Rite LP. The song White Boy was not included, which sucks, but in fairness White Boy was probably the least godly track on Sacred Rite anyway. Unfortunately, the Rites Of Passage Volume I CD is now woefully out-of-print.
Bottom line, if your gut aches for some armor-plated American metal, pour some of this piping hot metal gruel down your thirsty suck-hole. It’ll warm your belly just fine! My score: A-