Review Summary: Debut - Living Sacrifice are passionate, skilled, and innovative.
Living Sacrifice have repeatedly proven their musical and lyrical prowess during their extensive career. Coming before their transition to a death metal style, however, the band released their first full-length as a fantastic thrash metal record. The band displays their abilities and potential greatly in their first attempt. Many now regard this album as a definitive record in the history of the development of Christian metal. Released in 1989, Living Sacrifice's self-titled never ceases to impress. While it has already begun to show its age, the riffs and slayer-esque solos remain an outstanding example of pure thrash.
The musicianship throughout the band's self-titled is absolutely fantastic. The guitarists' creativity and ability to craft unique, catchy, fast riffs is displayed ceaselessly as the record progresses. Each track contains a variety of riffs and dynamic changes, which helps to captivate, rather than bore, the listener. Thrash can often be filled with speedy riffs, but lack memorability. Every song truly stands out in this album, reaching a definitive high point and again showing the finesse of the musicians. "Anorexia Spiritual", "Obstruction", and "Dealing with Ignorance" are but a few of the band's climactic and most interesting songs. The drummer's dexterity and ability to lead the band is fantastic, as well. Each member seems to work in great unity with the others, ensuring that the entire album feels focused and clean.
While DJ's vocals are definitely acquired taste, they rarely detract from the experience of the record. His seemingly compulsive shouting vocals are not the most cohesive or fitting, but after becoming accustomed to his "chanting", it is easy for the listener to engross himself in the beautiful orchestration of Living Sacrifice.
An extremely important aspect to note about this record is that is completely driven by the band's desire to glorify God. The lyrics are filled with encouragement, Biblical truth and dedication to their Christian beliefs. In a darkening world, the lyrics stand out greatly as the listener embarks on this musically and theologically solid listening experience.
I would definitely recommend this record to any who enjoy thrash metal. This is a quality piece of metal. While it is difficult to acquire this ever-aging album, it is a fantastic display of Living Sacrifice's dedication to Christ and musical skill.