The Sanity Days is the latest project to feature legendary NWOBHM vocalist Steve Grimmett of Grim Reaper, Lionsheart and Grimmstine fame. Jaded metal fans might be tempted to think that this is just another attempt by an iconic artist to attain former glory. Are they right?
“Evil Beyond Belief” is the band’s debut album and features four former members of British thrash stalwarts Onslaught. Grimmet handled vocal duties on that band’s 1989 album “In Search of Sanity”, its most commercially successful.
Grimmett has hardly been idle in the ensuing decades since Grim Reaper’s 80’s success, leading several projects including Lionsheart, Grimmstine and The Steve Grimmet Band as well as continuing to tour the Grim Reaper name. While I have enjoyed all of Grimmet’s vocal incarnations The Sanity Days stands out dramatically from his post-Grim Reaper releases.
“Evil Beyond Belief” is a dense and atmospheric album whose track lengths range into prog-metal territory with nary a keyboard in sight and guitarist Al Jordan carries the show musically with some of the finest riffing and shredding to be heard in a recent release. The rhythm section of Steve Grice, (drums) and Jase Stallard (bass) provide a solid backbone with excellent bottom end that had my studio sub working overtime with ballsy bass that hits you directly in the chest. Sonically speaking this album is outstanding.
Grimmet’s voice has never sounded better, delivering melodies in the lower ranges with his signature grit and soaring highs that belie the fact that he is over 50. Stylistically “Evil Beyond Belief” would not have been out-of-place during Grim Reapers’ heyday and Jordan’s guitar work is appropriately malevolent given the subject matter.
After a brief atmospheric introduction the album kicks into high gear with “Charlie” whose initial frenetic riff is instantly memorable. Other highlights on the album include the 9+ minute title track “Evil Beyond Belief”, the ominous “Ruler of Eternity”, the heavy ballad “Broken Wings” and the mid-tempo “My Last Words” (video below) that features some of Jordan’s finest fretwork on the release. Truthfully though, there are few if any filler tracks on the album and without a track under 5 minutes The Sanity Days deliver an immensely fulfilling, lengthy and memorable ride through the dark recesses of the human mind.
Having followed Grimmet throughout his career, I can state emphatically that this is the singer’s best release since the glory days of Grim Reaper. If you are not familiar with his work then “Evil Beyond Belief” will serve as an outstanding introduction to his catalogue that will have you heading down the rabbit hole to discover what made Grimmet the legendary vocalist he is.
Reverend Rock’s Rating: 9/10