Experimenting and expanding your horizons musically can often be a fun adventure. Such is the case with George Tsalikis and his debut solo album, The Sacrifice. Totally unfamiliar with Tsalikis or his band Zandelle, I was attracted to this solo venture by the horror image cover art created by artist extraordinaire Timo Wuerz.
The promo sheet describes the album: “A world of blood and love is a kind of a concept album from George Tsalikis, main songwriter from ZANDELLE. So proudly he presents his first solo project. Bloodsucking monsters in your head will occur by listening to the fat sound of this massive rocking piece of Heavy Metal. The storyline, of course, is keeping all songs lyrically together, but the musical variability stands for its one! So the everlasting fight between good and evil has so many different elements like the musical ability of George Tsalikis. The great guest musicians Richie Blackwood and Mike Paradine support the whole conceptual firework of epic fantasy in the best way!”
Personally, the term concept album usually scares me off, although it’s not actually used here, that’s the impression I got. The listening samples I tried were brimming with powerful guitar riffs. Enough to entice me into playing the album on my far superior sound system. Listening by way of laptop speakers or cell phones just doesn’t cut it.
Soft piano keys lead off the opening track “Chapter 1 World of Darkness” before the riff bonanza kicks in. The backing vocals present in “Chapter 2 Of My Dreams” adds to the catchiness of this one. The riffs continue throughout The Sacrifice, intermixed with some engaging guitar work. But I did find that George‘s vocals do take a little getting used to. The backing gang vocals present in the choruses of some tracks exhibit a recognisable catchiness for subsequent listens. Each song title begins with its chapter number except track #9 which is the 34-second long conclusion of Chapter 8. The production qualities seem to me to have afforded a very earthy, organic feeling to the recording, make it a warm listening experience.
From the soft piano note beginnings of “Chapter 1 World of Darkness” that return for the length of the final composition “Chapter 10 The Hero’s Lament” sandwiching in all the beefy riffs, George Tsalikis‘ The Sacrifice certainly won’t change your life, but is a decent listen that’s seen a few spins for me, growing on me with each rotation.