Heavy Metal band, Corners of Sanctuary, first hit the music scene in 2011. In 2012, COS quickly began to gain momentum after releasing their first full‐length album titled Breakout. Soon after, COS signed with La Mazakuata Records in Mexico, which produced 2 follow up albums; Harlequin and Axe to Grind. Additional EPs, including Epilogue, Carry the Cross, December Wind and Merry Metal Xmas, Live at the Trocadero Theater and 2015’s Prelude to War, were also released. In late 2013, COS began working with Pure Steel Records in Germany, who re‐released both Harlequin, in 2013, and Axe to Grind, in 2014. In 2015 COS signed with Metalizer Records in Germany for the release of their fourth album titled Metal Machine on October 31, 2015.
Corners of Sanctuary’s blend of hard rock and metal roots, coupled with their apparent mastery of modern production values, is a winning combination. The crunchy guitar riffs grind; the bass is robust without being muddy; the drums have pop and punch while the cymbals shimmer; the vocal harmonies abound, and the guitar leads are ever-present. Sonically Frankie Cross (vocals), Sean Nelligan (drums), James Pera (bass) and Mick Michaels (guitars) deliver a very rounded offering.
COS has risen to such a high caliber of ability and have harnessed their massive capabilities in such a manner on “Metal Machine” to create a sound that could quite possibly top the best classic metal music being produced by some of their peers now. These guys came to ROCK and it shows! They absolutely nail it with precision right from the title track, which follows the brief intro opener, “Turn It On”.
The guitar riffs are phenomenally orchestrated and brilliantly choreographed and are delivered with such gusto and testosterone that you know, in between all the hard work, the hurdle-hopping and obstacle conquering, these guys had a lot of fun in the studio recording tracks like the back-to-back “Like It Matters”, “Left Scarred” and “In Blood We Shall Return” – and they loved what they were doing too. The probably knew it would be this good.
The guitars on “The Return” are simply old-school metal at its best, upgraded and tweaked, sprinkled with experience and played to perfection while the vocal changes throughout the song are to die for, and I mean repeatedly. But the best is yet to come with “Tomorrow Never Comes” and “Wrecking Ball”. Mick Michaels shows a lot of muscle in the riff department on this one, favoring us with an engaging blend of crunchy riffs, classy melody and a rich guitar tone.
James Pera is thumping out the bottom end, with no distracting rattle hampering the smoothness of his delivery. Sean Nelligan sounds inspired behind the kit, as each member of the band seems to be pushing one another to capture more magic. And Frankie Cross, if he hadn’t already, earns his spot with some commanding vocal performances. This band clearly respects their foundation and is building something great upon it.
Sometimes my first impression on listening to a release of this magnitude turns out to be spot-on and then sometimes repeated play exposes weaknesses I was quick to overlook in my zeal to embrace new music. For that reason, many times I have to listen to an album for a few weeks (or even months sometimes) in order to really appreciate the greatness. I confess that my initial impression was, “Wow, this is the metal we’ve been missing.” But then a bit of skepticism began to creep in with repeated listens. After putting it away for a week and then coming back with a fresh perspective I’m ready to nail down my impressions – all of which are thankfully circling back to that all important initial impression.
“Metal Machine” turns out to be an extremely gratifying collection of songs which have enough of an older vibe to make this definitely identifiable as classic metal while simultaneously bringing in some new elements that keep the album from becoming predictable. This is a substantial and savory effort and a testament to how four musicians can bring together a holistically strong metal release that anyone who loves the genre should be able to appreciate.