In February of 2013 Machine Head announced the departure of Bassist and founder member, Adam Duce. To fill the huge gap that Duce left, Machine Head turned to the internet, inviting individuals to send in videos of them playing a collection of Machine Head songs whilst also filling in with backing vocals. Fast forward to June 2013 and it was announced that the vacant position had been given to Jared MacEachern, formerly the Vocalist and Rhythm Guitarist of metal band Sanctity.
When news of MacEachern's appointment reached me I became very excited and for those reading this blog who have heard of Sanctity that excitement may have been apparent. To those less familiar with the band I thought it would be cool to talk a little bit about them and their sole album "Road To Bloodshed", which, in my humble opinion, is one of the most under-rated metal albums of the last decade.
Formed in 1998, Sanctity got their first real break when noticed by Matt Heafy of Trivium who promptly got them signed to Roadrunner. From being signed the band were catapulted into the limelight. They were personally asked by Dave Mustaine to join Gigantour after he saw them live and they were also able to share the stage with the likes of Machine Head, Arch Enemy, Children of Bodom, Black Label Society, Trivium, Gojira and more.
As mentioned, in 2007 Sanctity were able to release one solitary album; "Road To Bloodshed". This album is quite simply amazing. "Road..." treats the listener to 12 tracks and 45 minutes of incredible riff after incredible riff, courtesy of MacEachern and other guitarist Zeff Childress, who manages to shred his way through the record without it ever getting boring or sounding stale. MacEachern handles vocal duties for the album and his voice is so well suited to the brand of metal that Sanctity play that it is easy to see how vocally he would fit perfectly with Rob Flynn in Machine Head. Every song on "Road..." could be a single, from crushing opener "Beneath The Machine" to anthemic track "Zeppo", it is that good. If I'm being super-pedantic the album is very atonal - near enough every track is a 3-4 minute, high tempo, straight up metal track. Despite this, when the songs sound as good as they do you really don't care, it's riff-laden, it's catchy, its brilliant and I don't care how you consume music, consume this, you won't regret it.
So I guess the next question is that if this Sanctity were touring with so many big bands and released an album that was so good then why have most people not heard of them? I guess there are really two answers to that question. Firstly, if you consider how many amazing metal albums were released in the second half of the Noughties it is very easy to miss a debut like "Road to Bloodshed". When it was released in April 2007 , Lamb of God had just released "Sacrament", Slipknot were about to release "All Hope is Gone" and merely a month before "Road..." dropped, in March 2007, an album by the name of "The Blackening" was released. I can't help but feel that everyone got too caught up in the hysteria caused by Machine Head's magnum opus to really give "Road..." the credit it deserved.
The other reason the band is almost unknown is that, unfortunately, Sanctity all but disbanded in 2008. MacEachern left to be with his newborn daughter and Bassist Derek Anderson also quit the band. At the time I had in fact heard that Sanctity as a band were completely finished. This was a real shame because it is arguable that if they were able to get a few more quality albums under their belt then by now, with the promise they were showing, Sanctity would be up there with the real heavyweights in their genre. As it is I have only ever spoke to one other person about the band who has known anything about them.
My closing remarks on Sanctity are that they seem to have just missed out on being a band that everyone was talking about. The departure of MacEachern and Anderson stopped Sanctity dead in their tracks, leaving them unable to capitalise on the platform they had made for themselves. As a result, with the other great albums around at the time from more established bands, Sanctity have become more or less forgotten in the 6 years or so since "Road..." was released. Researching for this article led me to discover that the band have reformed (albeit with different members) and are in the writing process but whether they can ever reach the same heights again is highly doubtful.
I wish Jared MacEachern every success with Machine Head.