Living Sacrifice
Conceived In Fire



by Steven McMahan USER (49 Reviews)
August 15th, 2008 | 14 replies | 8,275 views

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A spectacular album from what might be the best Christian metal band ever.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Christian metal has been going downhill for several years, although arguably not that much more than their secular counterparts. Part of this is just due to the fact there is an extremely small ratio of Christian bands versus secular ones, making it a bit harder to find artists that are either talented and/or unique. Then there's the recent metalcore trend, and the fact that the main label for Christian metal - Solid State Records - keeps signing boring band after boring band, whether they be metalcore or not. Even if it's an exaggeration to say so, at least part of the subgenre's demise can be blamed on Living Sacrifice calling it quits. While I personally believe original vocalist D.J. Johnson's awful moan ruined whatever the band had going on for them, their last three records were all terrific. Ever since they disbanded, both the Solid State label and genre as a whole have gone downhill, and the bands they heavily influenced (As I Lay Dying and Demon Hunter, among others) have yet to really come close to LS's last three albums.

This is not an essay on the current state of Christian metal, however, it's a review of Living Sacrifice's last album. If the band members happened to be on bad terms with each other during the recording, you'd never guess while listening to it. Conceived in Fire has no truly weak tracks, the only bad moments are one (or maybe two) bad riffs (plus a couple clean vocal parts), and the best songs are as good or perhaps better than the highlights on Reborn and The Hammering Process. The album also feels a little hard to classify: it comes closest to metalcore, but there's a lot metal than 'core' here, and it's probably better than 9/10 metalcore albums (which admittedly might not say much).

The performances on Conceived in Fire are pretty spectacular to say the least. Both guitarists fill the album to the brim with spectacular riffs, and there's only a couple parts (like the intro to "Separation") where the guitar parts sound awkward or bad. There's also at least four short solos, two of which (found in "Symbiotic" and "Separation") fully 'bring the shred', exhibiting the technical skill of lead guitarist Rocky Gray. Also, the duo help make instrumental "Into Again" a standout track, playing clean, melodic and intertwining parts that elevate the song above most instrumentals.

Bruce Fitzgugh used to be one of my favorite vocalists, and even though he'd no longer make onto a personal top 10 list, the man is still a force - or voice - to be reckoned with. His shrapnel-laced booming roar sounds almost unhuman at times, and coupled with better-than-average diction makes the vocals a definite positive of the album. Even when he's just doing a sort of whisper, it still sounds fairly cool.

The more unique aspect of the band, however, is the rhythm section. They boast two drummers: Lance Garvin, who plays normal drums, and Matt Putman, who plays tribal percussion. Unlike Slipknot, who can boast a drummer and percussionist, Living Sacrifice fully utilizes both members to give their music a driving, rhythmic aspect.

The problems are quite small in the long run, but they are surely there. Like so many other metal albums, the bass is quite hard to hear, and it's a shame since Arthur Green doesn't always just follow the guitarists. Also like many metal albums, Conceived in Fire can feel quite monotonous during the first few listens. However, this is helped by several factors, the first being the soft instrumental "Into Again" (which effectively splits the album in two). There's also the running time (42 minutes), which means the album isn't stretched towards boredom that would likely ensue from, say, a 60 minute album. Lastly, while the music is certainly heavy, it's also fairly melodic, and a couple of the songs have sections with said melody that makes the music more interesting.

Conceived in Fire has plenty of great things going for it, and it's truly commendable that the band can make an album this good 13 years into their career. The genre falls somewhere smack dab between metalcore and melodic death metal, with much more quality than an average album from the former. Each performance ranges from great to excellent, and there's no real filler tracks to be found here, just songs that are better than one another. The few problems are forgotten quickly as each song continues to pummel the listener into submission while simultaneously being melodic and enjoyable. Although it might not be the band's best album, it makes quite a strong case for Living Sacrifice being one of Christian metal's best bands (if not the best). Anyone who is put off with the current bands "rocking for God" needs to give it a chance, and Conceived in Fire will prove that yes, Satan, we can rock harder than you.*

Recommended Tracks:
Send Your Regrets
Into Again
Black Seeds

*Please forgive that cheesy line, which I pretty much stole from BallToTheWall's Mortal Treason review. I hope it's the only real weak part of this review.

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user ratings (93)

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 15th 2008


Balls theft auto.

August 15th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

Album needed a better review. Apparently I have quite a few edits to do for this still.

August 15th 2008


lol@Balls Theft Auto.

Never got into Christian metal bands.

August 15th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

^^ This one is awesome, and not preachy (at least on this album).

August 15th 2008


pretty good review, but there's a typo you may have already noticed if you're editing:

Each performance ranges from great to excellent, and there's real filler tracks to be found here, just songs that better than one another.
put a "no" in between there's and real.

the other thing is, i think christian metal has progressively gotten better. it's still nowhere near the level of secular metal, but christian music as a whole has always been a few steps behind the secular world. living sacrifice may be one of the better christian metal bands, but keep in mind that's partly because the christian metal bands that were around before them were all awful. most of them still are. ugh.This Message Edited On 08.15.08

August 15th 2008


I have the hammering process and really like it

is this the next one i should get? I'm thinking yes after the review.

August 15th 2008


Album Rating: 4.5

Well it's certainly worth getting. As for being better than Reborn, I don't know.

August 15th 2008


I'll probably get this since its after THP and seems like a logical conclusion

idk, its also easier to find.

August 15th 2008


I can't take these bands seriously. When I see Christian and Metal used in the same phrase it just makes me laugh. I'll check this out though, sounds swell enough.

August 15th 2008


Album Rating: 4.0

Subject matter aside, this band is pretty good. And besides, Satanic bands can be just as cheesy as Christian ones. Judge the music and don't bother figuring out the lyrics if that's what it takes. This is my favorite CD by these guys. Not too many complaints about it.

December 13th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

Album is great.

January 4th 2010


Album Rating: 2.5

A bit of a disappointment when compared to their older stuff, when they were more Death Metal.

January 5th 2010


if this was my reveiw i would have recommended "Ignite". Great song as well as a great album.

January 6th 2010


Album Rating: 4.5

A bit of a disappointment when compared to their older stuff, when they were more Death Metal.

Haha their old stuff sucks. DJ sounds like a demon possessed wolf.

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