– Thank you so much for answering our interview. How is the band currently doing?
Kenny Evans, drummer Sacred Oath – The band is doing great! After taking a short breather from the creation of ‘FALLEN’ the writing and demoing for new material has already begun.
– This year you have released the album ‘FALLEN’. Please tell us a bit about how it worked and what is your final assessment on the final outcome?
KE – ‘FALLEN’, being the 25th anniversary of the release of our first album, ‘A CRYSTAL VISION’, was an opportunity for Rob and I to work with original members, Pete Altieri and Glen Cruciani once again. With these four members comes a certain combination of melody and heavy, dark energy that is nearly unmatchable. On the previous three albums, ‘Darkness Visible’, ‘Sacred Oath’ and ‘World on fire’, Rob was very much in control of the creative direction and songwriting, with all members of those respective albums being ‘in house’ during recording, giving Rob the ability to mold their performances with laser-like precision to his ‘vision’. To the contrary with ‘FALLEN’, with Rob still very much at the helm, we wrote the songs, had a working foundation of the album, and then Pete would record his performances at his studio, and Glen would record his performances at his studio. Then Rob would collate all of this wonderful creative material, resulting in an album that has a ‘vibe’ and a dark, brooding sonic value that hasn’t been heard since the debut album. Personally, I love it!
– I would also like you to comment a little bit on the cover artwork’s concept and what does SACRED OATH sing about in it’s lyrics in 2013.
KE ‘FALLEN’s cover art was done by Jason Beam, who depicts a once beautiful and favored angel, now ‘FALLEN’, complete with burning wings and brimstone background, visually setting the tone nicely for the music to come… Lyrically, Rob often sings about the human condition and all it’s flaws, ranging from addiction to obsession. Sometimes using biblical and dark metaphor, other times just being stark and in your face.
– I haven’t had the chance to listen to the whole album, anyway the songs I’ve heard feel to me really heavy, with a good rough clean sound. Are you happy with the final result? Has it ended up as you expected?
KE – I didn’t necessarily know what to expect with Pete and Glen back in the fold. I, of course, was confident that the final product would kick ass, but our albums tend to vary a bit sonically. The ‘self titled’ album has a very stripped down, incredibly clean sound, ‘World on Fire’ has a more contemporary, cutting edge sound. SACRED OATH will always sound like SACRED OATH, but it’s always our intention to make sure that each album has it’s own identity. But when Pete and Glen are involved, even on Darkness Visible, their contributions always seem to invoke that certain ‘classic’ SACRED OATH vibe that Rob captured wonderfully on ‘FALLEN’.
– And about the band’s members; who are the current ones? Is everyone involved in the songwriting process?
KE – Currently we are Rob, Kenny, Pete and Glen, but we are fortunate in that SACRED OATH is like a large family. No one’s ever REALLY been FIRED or quit. This is handy with some of our members living in different regions, it may not be easy for a given member to participate. Rob is undoubtedly the primary songwriter, but everyone does contribute to songwriting in some capacity.
– For me this is an opportunity talking with you; you are unknown in Spain and, as I have the chance, I would like to dwell a little bit in your history to make people know a bit more about you. How was SACRED OATH born?
KE – SACRED OATH was born in 1985 in Bethel, Ct. while we were still in high school and we were all very into the current music scene that were the obvious choices; Priest, Maiden, Sabbath, Ozzy, Dio. But there was a new scene developing that magnified our interest; Mercyful Fate, Metallica, Testament and Slayer were BRAND NEW. Being from Connecticut we found ourselves befriended with a great band called Fates Warning. We played some shows with them and also were fortunate enough to have their live soundman, Dave Obrizzo, engineer our second demo and then when we got signed to Mercenary records he engineered our debut album ‘A Crystal Vision’.
– Along the same lines, you aren’t a really well known act, people know you from under ground circles and from your ’87 release ‘A Crystal Vision’, a cult opus from ‘80’s U.S. metal. Tell us a bit what does this album represent to you.
KE – This album (being mostly a concept album), to me, is about the classic battle between good and evil, clearly evident on the original cover and also the re-issue with the two dragons locked in eternal battle in a crystal ball. Influenced greatly by albums such as ‘Melissa’, ‘The Spectre Within’, ‘Piece of Mind’, ‘Kill em All’, etc. we were VERY young and that energy absolutely blisters the vinyl on our first album. To me this album represents four kids ENTIRELY on the same page, using their imagination and musical skills to express themselves artistically.
– Nowadays, thanks to the internet and easier access to music; have you noticed that, due to this, an album like your ‘A Crystal Vision’ has been more appreciated in these last years than back in the day? This tends to happen a lot with bands.
KE – there’s no denying that the internet has helped raise awareness for SACRED OATH and countless other projects. The internet has brought the ‘record store’ and ‘import’ section into the living room of anyone who cares to do their reseach.
– About this topic; was this one of the reasons that prompted reuniting the band a lot of years later?
KE- actually, no. We were approached by the owner of Sentinel Steel records to re- record the album. It seemed to be what some bands were doing, ie; Testaments ‘First Strike Still Deadly’, We thought it sounded like a fun idea and we really missed playing together, so, we just took that ball and ran with it. I always felt that this band deserved to survive, but the early and mid ‘90’s were a waste land for metal bands such as ourselves.
– From 2005 to the date you have released several records. Tell us about these records and how these years have been in terms of tours and shows.
KE – For ME, the REAL resurgence of the band began with ‘Darkness Visible’. When we were signed to Mercenary records, it was a TWO record deal. They went under rather quick. BUT… upon completion of ‘A Crystal Vision’ we had all but finished the writing of our second album. Then… our record company died, the ‘80’s died and we slipped into a coma (as SACRED OATH, not as individual artists, our time in the interim was consumed with other projects…). But interest renewed and ‘Darkness Visible’ is a UNIQUE record in that it was WRITTEN in the ‘80’s, yet recorded and released in 2005! Pete and Glen both made wonderful contributions to this effort giving it that special, dark ‘OATH’ vibe. Also making a significant contribution on bass was Lou Liotta, who took over for Pete halfway thru recording when Pete was experiencing some health issues. Then came time to tour and Glen couldn’t go. Enter Bill Smith on
guitar. After grueling, accelerated rehearsals, and a short U.S. tour, Lou couldn’t go. Enter Scott Waite on bass. More rehearsals, then off to Germany! We performed at the Keep It True IX Festival where we recorded our first live album! No sound check! Shared backline and drum kit! SHEER RAW ENERGY! This live album ‘…’Till Death Do Us Part!’ represents SACRED OATH’s ability to just get out there and DELIVER. After a tour of Europe, and more concerts back in the states, saw us taking only a short breather before getting back to it… writing, rehearsing, then recording our self titled ‘SACRED OATH’ album. This album received a significant push from our record company, gaining us our first MTV Headbangers Ball video and MTV interview! It was also well received by radio, playing our single ‘Counting Zeroes’ and ‘Bloodstorm’. A short but intense tour to follow saw Scott Waite having to bow out. Enter Brendan Kelleher (bass). After a short break we began writing and rehearsing for the recording of ‘World On Fire’, a concept album centered around the science fiction classic ‘Dune’. We did the video ‘Meet Your Maker’, then more shows. Then the 25th anniversary of the release of ‘A Crystal Vision’ was upon us and the creation of ‘FALLEN’ began.
– And on a view to the future; what’s in store for SACRED OATH for the next years?
KE- We’ve already started writing and demoing for the next album, creating the musical direction for a new project is always the highest hurdle in the beginning, once that’s achieved things really start to flow. Rob is already starting to crank out great new ideas, I have some too, so it’s a very exciting time.
– Now as 2013 has ended, could you please tell us what are your three favorite albums of the year as well as the least favorite one?
KE- I really enjoyed the newest ‘Mastodon’, great drum sounds! The new ‘Black Sabbath’ is awesome, though still would have rather heard Bill Ward playing drums. The new ‘Testament’ is probably my 2013 favorite, Gene Hoglan adds fantastic talent to the original front four of a time tested metal project. My least favorite release would probably be the new ‘KISS’, not so much because of the music, but because Gene makes Eric and Tommy wear Peter and Ace’s faces. Growing up a big Kiss fan, this is quite offensive to me!