Wino Wednesday: Covering Pentagram’s “Sign of the Wolf” with Sanctus Bellum, 05.31.12

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 13th, 2012 by JJ Koczan

“Met these guys across the street,” begins Wino as he prepares to front Sanctus Bellum for a cover of the classic Pentagram track, “Sign of the Wolf.” The clip was filmed May 31 at Fitzgerald’s in Houston, TX, as Sanctus Bellum was one of several killer Texan acts rounding out the bill — Dixie Witch, Venomous Maximus, From Beyond, Pillcrusher, etc. — and with what was basically a festival lineup, the show was bound to be something special.

Not to be like, “I called it,” or anything, but a few weeks back, the poster for the Fitzgerald’s gig went up with an older Vitus clip, so I guess there’s some continuity there for anyone who enjoys such symmetry as I do. This also isn’t the first time we’ve seen Wino covering Pentagram as someone’s live guest. You may recall he did “Forever My Queen” with Greek outfit Violet Vortex as part of a medley with The Obsessed‘s “Hiding Mask” in 2010. That was a Wino Wednesday feature this past January, if you want to check it out.

But either way, good for Sanctus Bellum, whose set I’m very much looking forward to seeing this weekend at Days of the Doomed in Wisconsin, and who are also joined by Alexis Marie of Houston’s Project Armageddon for “Sign of the Wolf.” Enjoy the video below, followed by some PR wire-type info they sent along with it, and have a happy Wino Wednesday:

Doom/classic metal band Sanctus Bellum were joined onstage May 31 by Scott “Wino” Weinrich of Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, Shrinebuilder, etc., and Alexis Marie of Project Armageddon for a rendition of the Pentagram classic “Sign of the Wolf.” The band was opening for Saint Vitus at the doom legends’ show at Fitzgerald’s.

Sanctus Bellum’s sophomore album, The Shining Path, was released on June 12, 2012, just in time for the band’s appearance at the Days of the Doomed Festival in Cudahy, WI on June 15. More information on the festival can be found at The band will follow-up their festival appearance with a CD release show in at Concert Pub North in Houston, TX, on July 21 with Malice (feat. James Rivera), Owl Witch, and Six Minute Century. The album may be ordered online at

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audiObelisk: Sanctus Bellum Premiere Closing Track from Sophomore Album, The Shining Path

Posted in audiObelisk on May 22nd, 2012 by JJ Koczan

The debut album from Houston, Texas’ Sanctus Bellum, Return to Dust (review here) was rife with references, mostly to the work of H.P. Lovecraft. It was also a tour-de-force of classic metal influences, from the given Sabbath leanings to NWOBHM as represented by Iron Maiden to the dirtier death rock of Danzig, taking darkened atmospherics and setting them against a backdrop of crusty riffing. I haven’t yet heard the whole of the follow-up, The Shining Path, but from what I can tell listening to eight-minute closer “Ephaniah” — which I’m fortunate enough to be able to host for streaming on the player below — the key elements are still there, if a bit more refined.

As one might expect, Sanctus Bellum seem to have more of an idea of their own style the second time out, blending the classic metal guitar of Jan Kimmel and Maurice Eggenschwiler (the latter previously only involved in the live incarnation of the band) with the doomly groove seemingly inherent in Cory Cousins‘ drumming and the wildly diverse bass work of Ben Yaker — one minute, he’s in the pocket with Cousins, but by the middle of the song, he’s leading the charge Steve Harris-style through a faster stretch. Add in some Slayer-type riffing and lead work and the post-grunge vocals of Justin Waggoner (ex-Mr. Plow), who on “Ephaniah” shifts smoothly from shouts to deceptively complex melody lines, and Sanctus Bellum come off as more assured and confident without sacrificing their edge.

I dug the first Sanctus Bellum and I’m looking forward to hearing the second — particularly if the interplay on the rest of the tracks between Kimmel and Eggenschwiler stands up to what I’ve so far heard — and I thought that if you like metal with a flair for the doomed that doesn’t necessarily feel the need to commit to one genre or another, you might also be into it. Check it out and feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts:

[mp3player width=460 height=120 config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml playlist=sanctus-bellum.xml]

The Shining Path is set for release on June 12 — just in time for Sanctus Bellum to head to Wisconsin to play at Days of the Doomed II. You can preorder it here. If you dig “Ephaniah,” the band has also made the tracks “Spiral Jacobs” and “The Shining Path” available for listening. You can hear them and check out more release info here, and tell the band you dig their stuff at their Thee Facebooks page.

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Sanctus Bellum Love Their ‘Craft

Posted in Reviews on May 13th, 2010 by JJ Koczan

Without delving full-on into the sundry mythologies involved in the works, I’ll say that every song on Houston, Texas, metallers Sanctus Bellum’s self-released debut full-length, Return to Dust, relates in some way to the writing of H.P. Lovecraft. Using a well-honed combination of Google and Wikipedia, I’ve confirmed it for all six of the songs; the doomy “God’s Own Warrior” proving the most challenging and referencing The Nyarlathotep Cycle in its chorus. “Shoggoth’s Ascent,” “Dagon’s Bride,” “Curwen,” “The Reddening West” and “White Cat” were much easier to figure out. So hey, it’s a metal band with songs about Lovecraft stories. Not that it’s never happened before, but bands these days are few and far between willing to take it to the level Sanctus Bellum does.

Some – not nearly enough – will remember Sanctus Bellum vocalist Justin Waggoner from his work in prior, more directly stoner, outfit Mr. Plow, whose lighthearted lyrics about Carlo Rossi and The Dude seem miles away from Return to Dust, although, Mr. Plow’s third and final album, Asteroid 25399, was based entirely on the work of Kurt Vonnegut, so the literary theme isn’t completely unprecedented, and with Houston being such a hotbed for the doom underground, Waggoner’s joining forces with guitarist Jan Kimmel, bassist Ben Yaker and drummer Cory Cousins (Maurice Eggenschwiler also plays guitar in the live incarnation) in the decidedly metallic Sanctus Bellum makes sense, the songs having echoes of early Danzig, Iron Maiden, those moments when Slayer come up for air, and by default, Black Sabbath. But for “God’s Own Warrior,” they keep mostly a quick pace, all things relative, with Kimmel leading the charge by way of fleet riffage and the occasional blistering solo.

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