To survive amid the wild and ever-changing environs of the modern metal scene, staying power is an absolutely essential characteristic. While many of today’s biggest (and most shamelessly hyped) bands are already treading water and sounding like yesterday’s news, Sacred Mother Tongue are standing on the brink of a major breakthrough as they prepare to unleash their glorious second studio album Out Of The Darkness.
A versatile and technically gifted group of devoted musicians, the current Sacred Mother Tongue line-up have been together since 2008 and have already established themselves as one of the most powerful and convincing bands that the UK metal scene has to offer. With charismatic vocalist Darrin South leading the charge and revered king of the shredders Andy James on guitar, they could hardly fail to grab the attention of rock and metal fans across the country. This they have achieved with ease, touring relentlessly and making memorable appearances at several major festivals along the way, not to mention support slots with the legendary likes of Anthrax and Fear Factory. The band released their debut full-length The Ruin Of Man back in 2009, garnering widespread praise for its thrilling blend of brutish, state-of-the-art riffing, soaring vocal hooks and James’ fret-melting solos.
“I’m still pretty proud of that album,” states Andy James. “I hadn’t been in the band for very long and it was like a puzzle, pieced together from different demos and ideas. The difference between The Ruin of Man and what we’re doing now is maturity. We’ve definitely evolved a lot over the years.”
Four years on from their debut, Sacred Mother Tongue are now back and ready to blow everyone away all over again. An exhilarating demonstration of the band’s musical prowess that provides a grandiose showcase for Darrin South’s distinctive and irresistible voice, Out Of The Darkness is also one of the most lyrically profound and conceptually potent metal albums to be released in recent times. Due to a prolonged period of depression, during which he frequently contemplated abandoning his musical career altogether, South has been through some major changes in his life over the last few years and it is from those upheavals and personal revelations that he has drawn inspiration for these new songs. United with Andy James’ ruthlessly consistent riffing and soloing and the rock solid but thrillingly fluid oomph of rhythm section Josh Gurner (bass) and Lee Newell (drums), Darrin’s performance throughout is both heartfelt and intense, with a deep sense of positivity and personal triumph blazing at its core.
“Once I admitted that I was depressed, I had this realisation that advice and friendship and support can only go so far,” Darrin explains. “No matter what the problem is, you’ve got be proactive and fix it yourself. That’s when I wrote Demons, which is about accepting the problem and exorcising your own demons before you can move on. I’d found a more enlightened state and started feeling more positive about everything and that is the main focus of this album. We’re dealing with darkness /and/ light, but most importantly it’s about a new start for me and for the band.”
Produced in collaboration with globally renowned studio guru Scott Atkins, Out Of The Darknessmarks a great leap forward for British metal’s brightest hopes. Having refined and redefined their sound, Sacred Mother Tongue have struck upon the perfect combination of muscular potency and melodic bite, resulting in an album of skyscraper-levelling anthems that brim with fire and emotion. From the blistering, instantly memorable attack of opener Demons to the life-affirming bombast and stadium-sized refrains of recent singles A Light Will Shine and Evolve Become, Out Of The Darkness delivers on every conceivable level: a tour-de-force of gleaming 21st century British metal with heart, intelligence and lashings of aggression. On the multi-tempo frenzy of the rageful Pawn and the ominous The City Is Crying, Sacred Mother Tongue give classic thrash metal a precise and invigorating update, showing off the fizzing chemistry that exists between them while never abandoning the cherished principle that the song is always king. On the anguished philosophising of Just A Ride, Darrin South implores the listener to be strong and reject fear as his band mates revel in pulverising, swaggering precision around him, before Andy James peels off yet another jaw-dropping and nimble-fingered party piece. The album closes with the grand melodrama, juddering rhythms and impassioned melodies of Believe, an intensely personal entreaty from Darrin South, custom-built to inspire and comfort those who are enduring dark nights of the soul. It is a breathtaking finale to a truly unique, emotionally visceral and musically substantial collection of songs that sparkle with sonic vitality and power.
“The reason it’s come out so well is because we discarded all the pressure to write a certain way,” explains Darrin. “It was a very natural writing process. We just went with what we thought was good and nothing good got thrown out. I think that natural process of doing what we believed sounded good created an almost visionary approach to the album and shaped the way the songs ended up. That’s why it’s more mature, because that was a more mature way to write. We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved.”
Recent years have seen a steady stream of British rock and metal bands making a major impact on the other side of the Atlantic and across Europe. With their popularity at home very much in the ascendant and a phenomenal new album under their collective belt, Sacred Mother Tongue must surely be destined to be the next great British metal export and, if there is any justice, the biggest and best of the lot. With immense talent, passion and staying power, you would be a fool to bet against them.
“We’ve been a band for a long time and it’s been hard work, but hopefully it’s time for people to realise that we’re not fucking going away!” laughs Andy. “I know people will take us more seriously now. We don’t need to fit into any trend. Maybe we’re starting one!”
”I don’t know if we’re ever gonna be that cool band because that’s not what we’re about,” concludes Darrin. “Maybe it’s because we’re a bit older or not pretty enough or because we don’t wear skinny jeans. Who knows? Personally, I think it keeps us as real musicians and not just some pop band. If we stick at it, I think it’ll all come to fruition. I’d rather be respected like Pantera or Machine Head than some band that blows up for two minutes and does fuck all afterwards. As far as fame, wealth and world domination goes, I just want us to be recognised as a great band making great music.”