Review Summary: Despite the utterly ridiculous "tough guy" Christian lyrics, this was an album that was musically ahead of it's time and genuinely good. While it won't offer much to seasoned metalheads, it has a good youthful energy and does what it does well.
I never thought my first review on this site would be for a Christian metal album, but here we go...
I felt compelled to comment on this album because, despite the utterly ridiculous "tough guy" Christian lyrics, I feel like this was an album that was musically ahead of it's time and genuinely good. This is ultimately a Death Metal record, but it introduced elements of Deathcore before that genre was a thing, basically predating albums from bands like The Red Chord by several years. This album is a riff fest, very heavy and groove oriented without falling into the cliches of the Nu-metal scene, which were still very popular at the time. There are plenty of killer riffs here and a good variety of tempos, performed well and with a good sense for musicality and structure. The pacing is also good; it comes in, rocks hard for about 45 minutes without alot of filler or fluff and finishes before it becomes tiring.
One feature of modern Metalcore/Deathcore is an ADHD approach to song structure and an abundance of guitar wankery which is probably cool to kids who are hearing that kind of thing for the first time, but I absolutely despise. Thankfully, this album came out before those trends were prevalent and as such avoids those pitfalls. The album also has a very unique production quality which, combined with the catchy riffs and higher pitched vocals, does create a genuinely original record which didn't quite sound like anything else out at the time and remains instantly recognizable.
The album definitely deserves a 3, the only reason I won't rank it higher is because of the really terrible Christian lyrics. While I could care less what religion a band adheres to, this album makes the mistake of trying to simultaneously seem super-bad-ass-and-cool while evangelizing it's Christian message, which really just comes accross as lame. Also, the use of high pitched, hardcore-meets-black metal styled vocals will come accross as annoying to some. This may not have been such an issue if it weren't for the fact that the vocalist does not mix up the style at all. There is literally no variation in the vocal performance and this makes it feel more like a chore to listen to as it brings no interest to the music whatsoever. This is a flaw that is made worse given the fact that the vocals are far too loud in the mix, it would have been easier to overlook if they were more subdued.
If you're a high school kid with a staunchly Catholic mother who gives you a hard time about your preference for "devil music", like I was when I came accross this album, feel free to give it a try. It'll make mom happy, and will still appeal to that sense of youthful energy and aggression this kind of music is ultimately driven by. The fact that it's actually pretty good won't hurt, either. On the other hand, I can't really see this album offering much to the more seasoned metalhead, especially dinosaurs like myself who have long since moved onto more complex and sophisticated material.
I actually really like this album. Never read the lyrics to it, so I can't agree or disagree to that point, but at the end of the review, you seem to kind of declare you have a superior taste for not enjoying it all too much. Even though it's a tad self-depreciating, as someone who has been into various types of metal since he was a kid, that kinda comes off as pretentious. But I digress, fairly good for a first review, mate.
Thanks, that wasn't my intention, of course. This is an album that invokes a feeling of nostalgia for me since I was in high school when it came out, so I was trying to pass some of that along in my wrap up. I also wanted to get the point across that it's not a "complicated" album, it does one thing but does it well. I guess I can see how that might have been interpreted as snarky, I certainly didn't mean it that way. After all, I am a fan of the record! Thanks for the input, man. I'm looking forward to submitting more reviews soon
good review. i remember these guys, my mom used to push the christian music on me back in the day too (around the time this came out actually, so i remember it well). pretty lame album overall, but there was definitely worse heavy christian music at the time.
I figured you didn't intend it to come off that way, I was only trying to say that more as a word-of warning type thing. I probably like this album more than I should, but I'm fairly lenient toward everything I listen to.
Demigod, that kind of depends on what you're looking for. Are you specifically looking for Christian bands? I can't really comment in that case because I'm honestly not too familiar with the Christian metal scene, I only really listened to a few bands when I was in high school because my mom gave me a hard time about my music. That being said, there was a Christian metalcore band from around the same time called Spitfire that was very similar to this. Another similar Christian band was Glass Casket. As far as non-Christian bands I'd say they sound similar to Found Dead Hangning and the first Red Chord album. Keep in mind, this is really more of a death metal album, so if it's specifically hardcore that you're interested in, this may not be what you're looking for.
Demi, check early Eighteen Visions, Harvest, Jane, Strongarm, Unbroken, Prayer for Cleansing, Premonitions of War, Knut, The Blinding Light, Earth Crisis, Integrity, Ringworm, Scarlet, early This Day Forward, Nights Like These, Coalesce, and The Orangeburg Massacre. If you like any of these, give me a shout, and I'll give you more rec's. This kind of metalcore is my specialty.
damn that's a lot of recs... actually heard a few of those, but i'm always looking for more. in fact, Integrity is what got me into the genre as a whole. Those Who Fear Tomorrow is an incredible album.
will definitely check some of those tomorrow, thanks a bunch dude!
I remember when I first heard of Glass Casket it was one of those things where it was like "They have christian members in the band but they're not a christian band", so technically I guess you're right. Spitfire's first album was released on Solid State records in 1999, which back then was a pretty solid indicator a band was christian. Admittedly, I'm just going on what I remember from back then, so they may be very different now. I may not be the best person to ask for recommendations, honestly.
Animosity and Despised Icon are probably the best deathcore/metalcore bands I can think of. Also, the the first record by Nights Like These (their second album was much more doom/sludge oriented). I used to play in a band with their original guitarist, so I definitely recommend them any chance I get.
I rec Nights Like These because they were from my home state. And yeah, The Faithless is definitely my preferred album by them, but both were great. Also, Solid State did sign some secular bands, like The Agony Scene. Though yeah, most were, and are, Christian. Animosity and Despised Icon are definitely two of my top-tier deathcore groups, though, with Glass Casket and The Red Chord forever holding the top two.
Small world, man. I'm from Memphis. I used to play in a metalcore band with Buddy Forbess, the guitarist who wrote a large portion of the material on the Faithless. Theres actually a riff on that album that I co-wrote with Buddy at his mom's house years ago, haha. My brother graduated high school with Derren Saucier and co-produced their demo, which was called "The Only Clown I'm Down With is Gacy" with my old roomate. If you can find that demo, definitely check it out. I consider it to be the definitive version of those songs, much more grim and brutal sounding in my opinion. Haha, I'll stop name dropping now, how random is that though? You just made my night.