Monday, November 29, 2010
Crafting a smooth neo classical metal sound Golden Resurrection is upon us. With both Tommy Johansson (ReinXeed) and Christian Liljegren (Audiovision), Golden Resurrection has crafted a very good album of hook filled melodic metal. Glory to My King is a rockin' offering of headbanging musical whimsy.
Glory to My King offers plenty of neo classical metal elements. The solid melodies and hooks are nonstop, starting with See My Commands, Glory to My King, Proud to Wear the Cross are just a few. Liljegren delivers well executed vocals that any fan of Dio, Jeff Scott Soto or Rob Rock should just eat up.
It must be pointed out that Johansson’s guitar work is truly the stitching that wraps this all together. Melodic and soulful with the technical precision that enhances each song and doesn’t overpower it. His playing is tasteful and senses the proper place to cut loose which is unusual for a neo classical player as they often try to fill every open spot with a 5 second solo fill.
The other players on this album are not to be looked over as each plays at a top level, bass player Stefan Käck, drummer Rickard Gustafsson (Pantokrator) & keyboardist Olov Andersson (Audiovision & Grand Stand) respectively.
The production breathes and allows the instruments to have proper definition. There will be cries for more bass response which depending on one’s ear could be a reasonable request. A world class sound Glory to My King has.
The lyrics are obvious in their intent and meaning. Any project with Liljegren involved I would expect no less, and he again writes top drawer material that is uplifting and edifying without coming across preachy or corny.
It must be pointed out that this is NOT another Audiovision album. Where Audiovision has more of a Stryper, Dio flavor per se, Golden Resurrection is more Yngwie Malmsteen, Europe in musical flavor. The musical differences between the projects Christian provides vocals for is evident.
Glory to My King is a good album, perhaps even better than the Audiovision (Focus) album which preceded it earlier this year. Melodic Heavy Metal with a neo classical flair is what you’ll find here and you won’t be disappointed.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Saints latest release is a live DVD entitled Alive Forever. Recorded and performed earlier this year at The Grand Ballroom in Portland, Oregon. A solid set of heavy metal is performed by Richard Lynch and company.
A three camera shoot (at least that’s what I can detect) was used to capture this performance. Scorching through tracks such as The Blade (from 2010’s Hell Blade) and the title track of 2004’s In the Battle quite a bit of diversity is presented here in regards to Saint’s back catalog.
The complete set list is a follows;
To Live Forever
In The Battle
Alpha and Omega
It is curious though that nothing was performed from 2008’s Crime Scene Earth and to revive a rather obscure track from their 1999 EP, A Perfect Life. The song in question To Live Forever appears here and it doesn’t quite fit musically. Even a third track from Hell Blade like Too The Cross or New World Order would've been a nice inclusion.
Quite a collection of bonus material appears here as well, a mix of fan footage and professionally shot performances. It should be noted that the very early material is for the hardcore fan only, the original tape sources being over twenty years old with some obvious degradation. The fans who shot the footage were obviously trying for a souvenir, specifically the Cornerstone 1986 footage. Both of Saint’s professionally shot music videos for Hell Blade appear here, the tracks The Blade and The New World Order respectively.
It can be observed that Saint spent a lot of money on this production between the video shoot and the lighting used for the concert. Yet for me it seems that the show itself is too dark most of the time. Guitarist Jerry Johnson on first glance is nearly absent; perhaps due to the lack of light on his side of the stage. When the show was edited back together it seems that the editors kept going back to drummer Larry London, perhaps because he had the most consistent light source?
As best as I can determine this was a three camera shoot and capture Saint they did. Fans of Saint (as I have been since 1984) will want this in their collections. The technical items aside this DVD shows Saint doing what they do best, rockin’ hard.
This is an Interview I did with a good friend of mine, Paul Doty. He actually did the interview of ME.... Enjoy....
I'm the good looking one on the right! HA.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
As part of the Intense Millennium remasters Chicago Metal Act Sacred Warrior is on the list. Their debut album entitled Rebellion is a full on metal tour de force. With stellar guitars solos, exceptional drumming and the powerful voice of Rey Parra, this is a combo that is pretty hard to get around.
Sacred Warrior plays a brand of heavy metal with melody not unlike Queensryche, Helloween or even Stratovarius; heavy guitars with soaring vocals that are extremely distinctive. Bruce Swift plays his heart out on his six string instrument. Picking notes out of the air and playing a myriad of riffs that are more memorable than noteworthy.
Opening with the track Black Metal screaming through Stay Away from Evil flying hard on Children of the Light pummeling their way through Day of the Lord, Sacred Warriors debut album was a tough one to surpass. Even the all out driving The Heavens are Calling with its buzz saw riff has enough melody to grab even the most ardent AOR fan.
Rebellion is clean and powerful, full of anthems that anyone who claims Christ as Savior will be singing along with. Messages of hope, redemption and more importantly understanding are found through out this piece of metal history.
This album was originally released in 1988 with the recording limitations of the time. However, let it be known that the remastering done by J Powell at Steinhaus allows the recording to not only breathe but SHINE. The new mastering brings the guitars out and adds clarity to everything. There are several subtle keyboard parts that I frankly didn’t even know they were there. The drumming of Tony Velasquez was superb but now is truly stellar due to the clarity and spacing given. I hear a ride cymbal (he was hitting the bell) in the title track that I simply couldn’t hear before.
This reissue includes two bonus tracks Day By Day and Prince of Peace, the former a straight up rock tune while the later is definitely along the lines of a praise tune. Pastor Bob Beeman provides some extended liner notes and commentary. New album artwork is provided as well, however if you old schoolers insist on the original simply turn the booklet around and post the old artwork on the front.
Intense Millennium has done it again with an outstanding reissue that is worth every penny of your hard earned cash. Not every reissue is a classic album, but Sacred Warriors Rebellion is. This release has stood the test of time and has earned the title of classic due to its passion and desire to offer a superior product to the world so that the gospel of Jesus Christ can be heard by all in their own language. In this case that language is Heavy Metal music.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Bloodgood’s 2nd album entitled Detonation is one of the most important albums in the history of Christian Metal. This disc has stood the test of time and now with a fine remastering job done by J Powell at Steinhaus this album is available in a more ‘refined’ form as it were. A big thank you must go out as well to Intense Millennium for making this reissue a reality.
Some may ask, ‘Remastering? What is that?’ Mastering is the final process before production, where flaws in audio, for example, certain frequencies being too loud (or under as the case may be) can be corrected. Sound volume of the finished product can be enhanced or again diminished. There are other elements as well but it goes without saying that the technology has improved exponentially since this discs release. In the case of Detonation and many other releases on the Intense Millennium roster, a ‘re’mastering is a must.
A lot of time has passed since Detonations first release in 1987, however if you speak with anyone who was around at the time just mention Bloodgood and this release always gathers the most nods up and down. Every artist has their own Vulgar Display of Power, Black Album, Powerslave or Human Clay and for Michael Bloodgood and company this was it. Their definitive moment artistically, that all other works would be judged by, not always fair but the fans know what they like.
Trying to describe the Bloodgood sound has always been a tough question as they hide their influences very well. On this release you’ll find straight out heavy metal with little if any commercial trappings, resting right next to Hammerfall, Saxon, Armored Saint, and Dio on the scale of ‘heaviness’. To make it clear this isn’t a Stryper album with commercial trappings.
Opening with the speedy Battle of the Flesh, David Zaffiro reminds us what a guitar virtuoso he is (the solos for Eat the Flesh deliver as well). The opening trifecta of Battle of the Flesh, Vagrant People and Self Destruction are as superb a trio you’ll find anywhere in metal music. Fast powerful and precise, Les Carlsen belts out words of hope and conviction which is rarely heard these days in Christian Music.
It’s the near ending chapters of this classic work that is heard again and again. The duo of the extremely heavy and driving Crucify that couples with the slow and triumphant Messiah; this is the albums centerpiece. Nearly a movie set to song, the passion and emotion is intense. If you’ve ever seen Bloodgood perform this piece live you’d never forget it.
Lyrically the gospel message is very explicit and yet presented in a way that is very personal. How often do you hear songs about communion? (Eat the Flesh) or temptation (Battle of the Flesh) or even the Holy Spirit (Holy Fire) that makes you just want to move and scream in unison. All the lyrics are presented within the packaging, as well liner notes by Pastor Bob Beeman.
There are also two bonus tracks, a different mix of Awake and an extended version of Black Snake. Awake has several additional atmospheric components while the extended version of Black Snake has a much longer guitar solo. Nice additions to any collectors library.
A solid and extremely metal record with a complete foundation of Biblical principles that you don’t need a cipher to understand, with performances that are legend amongst many in the metal underground. Make no mistake this album is the real deal and so are Bloodgood.
Human Sacrifice by Vengeance Rising is in my opinion the epitome of heavy metal from a Christian point of view circa the late 80’s. From their bombastic and crushing sound to the completely biblical lyrical content, the final piece was the live performance and having seen Vengeance Rising no less than five times from 1987 through 1990 they easily were on pair with their secular counterparts, if they didn’t exceed them.
Musical influences like Slayer, Possessed, early Anthrax and Metallica leave you completely in awe the first time you hear it. The intensity of the music which doesn’t let up one bit is only surpassed by the lyrical content which is exemplarily.
Songs such as I Love Hating Evil, White Throne, and Fill This Place with Blood all speak to the redemptive power of the King, Jesus Christ, and the resulting changes that occurs within a believer. Not to mention their classic track Burn, which discusses the final resting place of Lucifer, the lake of fire; with a chorus that repeats ‘Burn Satan Burn…’ make no mistake Vengeance Rising understand who the victor is. Sit down with your Bible and take the lyric sheet you’ll be amazed.
Human Sacrifice is full tilt thrash metal which is just as heavy today as it was in 1988 when it was released. I would wager that if I put this album against any other thrash album today Human Sacrifice would hold its own. Strong guitar riffs, brutal vocals, a world class rhythm section from the opening notes to the closing screams Vengeance Rising have written an album that clearly is a definitive piece of the Christian metal puzzle.
From the full on thrash of White Throne or Beheaded to the slow powerful tunes such as Mulligan’s Stew and Burn the listener is treated to a musical cacophony that still sets standards today. One of the best things about this release was that Vengeance could deliver live as well. Make no mistake, when they hit the scene in 1987 their live shows were legendary snippets of sonic greatness.
Production wise this is a 1980’s recording, but the remastering done by J Powell at Steinhaus is masterful. The kick drum is more pronounced and not completely buried in the mix. Troublesome frequencies have been corrected. The sound is big and fat, with plenty of atmosphere.
Intense Millennium has provided new artwork for all of their remasters and this album is no exception. However for the purist you can easily flip the booklet around and view the original artwork. Speaking of the booklet Pastor Bob Beeman provides some insightful liner notes and there are some cool photos. One of those photos was the cover of White Throne #3 with Larry Farkas on the cover.
Perhaps you’ve only heard about Vengeance Rising and never had the chance to check it out for yourself. Well here’s your chance. This album is heavy and powerful and makes no apologies for itself. Apologies aren’t necessary because this disc is the one to get. Human Sacrifice is a classic in every sense of the word...