Review Summary: The Return of the Kings.
To say I was ecstatic about Living Sacrifice reuniting would be an understatement. Since they broke up, there haven’t been any truly great Christian metal bands to take the throne, and so getting back together in February of ’08 was one of the best things to happen that year. After waiting more than a year, The Infinite Order
was slated was set for a November release…and then it got delayed another two months. You can imagine my frustration.
But the waiting is over, and The Infinite Order
is here. Lucky for us, it’s almost worth the wait and
a delay (there will be no attempts to hide fanboyism here). The album does practically nothing to change the band’s sound, but it doesn’t matter. While we don’t have an album of the year contender here, it does deserve a spot in the upper to mid-portion of any large 2010 list.
To get a basic idea of Living Sacrifice’s sound, take a small dash of Slayer (they did
start out as a death/thrash hybrid), add a little Meshuggah, an equal helping of Sepultura-esque groove metal and finish with hardcore vocals that could be described as a more raw Ryan Clark (with bigger balls and no desire to spit out words so quickly). Songs are based around thick, meaty riffs; backed by an extremely solid rhythm section (despite the loss of second drummer/percussionist Matt Putman); one could
brand it metalcore, but it’s definitely metal with hardcore influences, not the other way around.
There are little in the way of negatives here, and several standouts. “Overkill Exposure” is possibly their best opener, and features a breakdown that sounds neither cliché nor boring. Lead single “Rules of Engagement” completes the 1-2 punch firmly, managing to be catchy without any clean vocals, and the band still sounds quite rhythmic despite the aforementioned absence of a percussionist. “Apocstasy” closes the album almost as well as it started, building from a “Battery”-esque intro to some of the album’s best riffs and a chorus that’s as melodic as it is anthemic.
Despite this, the album definitely isn’t perfect. “The Training” features clean vocals that sound even more gay than the ones that brought down a couple songs on The Hammering Process
. The aforementioned absence of Putman is a somewhat small but obvious problem, and The Infinite Order
isn’t quite up to par with their three previous releases, although this isn’t bad considering how good they were. There’s also the fact that Infinite Order
can’t help sounding at least a little
generic, but this is obviously due to their influence on numerous similar bands - many of which were just starting or didn’t exist when they released their last album eight years ago.
When it comes down to it, that’s both one of The Infinite Order
’s greatest strengths and its biggest weakness. Coming after the flood of metalcore bands they helped inspire, the album sounds initially generic and perhaps even dated. On the other hand, Living Sacrifice have lost little over the years; they’re still better than just about all of their Christian brethren, and many of their secular counterparts as well. Forget your troubles for a second and celebrate – the kings have returned. Here’s hoping they’re here to stay.