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Articles Home » 2004 Articles » Sacred Heart - 2004 Lay It On The Line
Sacred Heart - 2004 Lay It On The Line

Paul Stead - vocals, guitars, keyboards
Mark Stephenson - guitars
Claudio Cafolla - drums
Leigh Westbrook - bass

English band Sacred Heart are a new contender to the ranks of melodic hard rock. A four piece with their hearts (excuse the pun) and soul firmly ensconced in the 1980s era of hard rock. It's not hard to see where their influences come from; a slab of Whitesnake, toss in a dose of Dokken, chuck a little bit of your euro-metal too perhaps, and your sort of almost there. To to be fair to Sacred Heart, their new album 'Lay It On The Line' is more of a demo album, and should be seen in that light, rather than be compared to some pristine releases of late out of the UK, including the likes of Pride and Threshold. The guys in the band have been around awhile, Sacred Heart in fact, go back ten years, and despite the band-name and album title, little Ronnie James Dio doesn't even get a look-in on the album credits! The mainstay of the band is Paul Stead, singer and guitarist with a love of eighties hard rock despite the fact that he's a professional DJ. The feel of the album is peppered with ample amounts of good crunching guitar work (yes there is a benefit to having two guitarists), and the vocals of Stead is superb. His voice is at the harder edge of the hard rock formula, and you'd think judging by his performance that fronting a power-metal outfit would not be too far out of the question. The only small query I have is the drum-mix, which doesn't quite have the 'balls' to push the dynamics of their sound further out into the audio spectrum. If it did, you'd be looking at a seriously good album indeed!

The Songs
Let's take a listen to some of the songs then: 'The Last Goodbye' is a tremendous track that is unequivocally British. Think of Statetrooper or Midnight Blue without keyboards. The heaviest the band get is on the third track 'Rock N Roll Away', where the guitars are unashamedly all over the place. Not far behind is 'Hand In Hand', despite the mid-section tempo change, offset by a fast and furious guitar solo. The album contains many mid-paced rockers which probably need to be given a bit of air. Tunes like 'N.Y.C' (which is track 2 on the album, not 3) and 'In My Heart' are potentially good, but with a great production, would literally come to life. I'm sure this is something the guys are aware of in any case, but at least you get an idea as to their potential. This lot are particularly good at ballads, Stead's heartfelt voice surprisingly tender and subtle when it counts on the immense 'Always', sounding a lot like a working-mans Pride, which is a bit of compliment admittedly! To finish off the album is another excellent 5 minute ballad 'Forever'. Every good hard rock band knows how to pull a rabbit out of the hat in terms of a ballad.. Sacred Heart are no exception to that rule.

In Summary
A band with good ideas, good songs, true ideals, and of course those twin guitars.. powerful enough to do some serious ear-damage. A courageous label with a bit of money to throw at Sacred Heart in the production stakes could well have a future star in the making. Definitely a band to keep an eye on for the future! In the meantime, check them out supporting Mitch Malloy over in the UK.

Track Listing:
01 Lay It On The Line
02 N.Y.C
03 Rock 'N Roll Away
04 The Last Goodbye
05 Always
06 What It Takes
07 In My Heart
08 It's Alright
09 Hand In Hand
10 Forever

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