As a genre, it is hard to say you are a “fan” of metal. You might say you are a fan of Glee, the Red Sox or Fridays, but the word “fan” does not really seem to fit well when you are talking about a genre featuring bands such as Scar Symmetry, Blind Guardian and Symphony X. Sanctum, a local band featuring Rollins’ own Vernon Meigs ‘12 on the keys, proudly lists these among the bands they consider sources of creative inspiration for their album The Great Migration, a symphonic death metal creation that also features Josh Delgado on vocals, Trey Hawkins on guitar and vocals, James Harper on drums, Charlie Hampton on lead guitar and Casey Kelso on bass.
If you are not a fan of metal as a genre, then some explaining needs to be done here. Symphonic death metal is a real thing. Metal is a diverse genre which includes sub-genres including not only symphonic death metal but heavy, power, black, thrash, progressive, glam, gothic, folk and stoner — that’s right, stoner — metal as sub-genres. Each of them have distinct sounds, tempos, rhythms and even vocal qualities that set them apart. But they are all united under the general theme that is metal.
Even with all those sub-genres listed, the very name “symphonic death metal” may seem intimidating because of how niche it sounds. After all, there are only so many people who like symphonies, and only so many people who like death metal, so as a genre it appears limiting. Not so, says Meigs. “It’s very tight, and very dramatic. That opens up many possibilities. You can come up with a lot of ideas and you can have a lot of fun on stage,” he said.
Fun on stage is not what immediately comes to mind when one thinks of metal, but listening to the four tracks on The Great Migration, I was very clearly able to hear the hard work and passion of a group of people that has come together to work on something its members truly love and have fun doing. I was honestly quite impressed with the quality and sound of the band. There were times where I could feel a song needing a little more symphony and a little less death metal, wishing that Sanctum would pull more on the musical tension inherent to the genre and to the band. “Sanctum has always been described as [a band] of duality,” said Meigs. “We tried to express a style both heartfelt and angry, and overall, passionate.”
That passion definitely shows through, and I would recommend The Great Migration to anyone looking to broaden his or her musical horizons while also looking for an authentic local band to support. If you are already a part of the metal scene or consider yourself a fan of the genre, check out the upcoming Florida Metal Showcase Sept. 3 at Firestone Live in downtown Orlando. There, you can see Sanctum and a host of other metal bands from across the state. For more information about the showcase or to get a copy of The Great Migration for only $5, contact Meigs at VMeigs@rollins.edu and start your own great migration into a rich, diverse and unique genre of music.