It doesn't get much more "indie" within the 50 United States than Hawaii's Sacred Rite, whose members spurned both surf and sun to don leather and bang their heads in the name of metal. Now that's hardcore. Recorded in the most precarious of circumstances, this eponymous debut nevertheless reveals a technically gifted young band just coming to grips with its inspirations to create a sound all its own. It doesn't happen here, since songs like "Wings of Pegasus" and "Angels Never Die" owe pretty much all of their gimmicks to the teachings of Priest, Sabbath, and especially Iron Maiden. Moreover, the group's underdeveloped songwriting simply can't measure up to its musicianship or enthusiasm, and it's only on the surprisingly mature "R.I.P." that Sacred Rite shows any serious potential. Too bad even this highlight sounds derivative, seeming almost like a carbon copy of Queensrÿche's "Take Hold of the Flame" -- though the fact that it was recorded in the same year does conjure questions as to who inspired who.
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