Saturday, April 14, 2012
Bill Menchen has returned with a third release under the moniker of The Seventh Power, this latest album is entitled Eternal Power. Robert Sweet pounds out the drums and Bill provides the vocals, guitar and bass playing, plus the occasional keyboard element.
If you’re already a fan of Menchen’s previous Seventh Power releases, Eternal Power delivers the same straight ahead traditional heavy metal power. Opening with the crushing Bow Down and finishing with the powerful We Sail this album delivers exactly what Menchen fans should expect.
Straight ahead songs lyrically and strong heavy metal musically. Robert Sweet smashes the tar outta his drums on this release. If you want to hear what Sweet doesn’t do on a Stryper album, you just have to check out his playing here.
Menchen writes some pretty catchy tunes through out this release. New Creation, Godbleed, In the Beginning is just a few songs that are worthy. Bow Down is my personal favorite and just blasts away. The only tune that really drops the ball is Set Free, however that song aside Eternal Power is a solid album.
The criticism about the somewhat monotone vocal that Menchen employs is the same as you’ll find on the previous two Seventh Power albums. With a tonality that is somewhat closer to Ozzy with a ‘metallic’ sounding effect, it fits the music.
Fans of traditional metal will enjoy this record, I know I do.
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Steve Rowe and Mortification have released another slab of molten metallic mayhem that glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. This current offering is a six song affair entitled Scribe of the Pentateuch; the Pentateuch is the first five books of the Old Testament.
Scribe is the first completely fan funded release for Mortification, an indication of where the industry is moving in relation to Compact Disc releases. It costs money and the current label system is just not able to fund this process as it has in days gone by.
The tracks on Scribe of the Pentateuch by and large are a mix of death and thrash metal, with a few twinges of grind thrown if for good measure. Album opener Extradiefor is pure death/grind and really packs the punch. Lincoln Bowens guitar plows along with mounds of attack but it’s the thunderous bass of Steve Rowe that bowls you over and locks tightly with drummer Andrew Esnouf.
The title track switches between thrash and death metal which oozes powerful up and down chugging. Bowen adds an abundance of guitar accents that shine through the bombast which highlight the melody, yes there is melody albeit buried inside the musical carnage. This track as well as In Garland Hall feature some clean vocals by Steve Rowe, understand that there is only certain parts of these songs that have clean vocals the rest is pure growling goodness.
The Jaws of Life was a track that received quite a bit of hoopla in prerelease of a rather negative variety, well to these ears that is track is probably the weakest one! The structure left me a little flat, but by no means is it a throw away. Weapons of Mass Salvation slows things down quite a bit, with its slightly doomy feel, but never fear things don’t stay there for very long. Tempo changes very which definitely keep things engaged some more clean vocal elements here as well.
Something I must address is the complaint I’ve read about the drum sound. I’ve read the statement that claims “it sounds like a drum machine.” I suppose if you’re listening this on crummy computer speakers in a crushed MP3 it would sound a bit thin. Listening to the CD on my car stereo or using my AKG headphones the drum sound is solid and strong. Comments based on a YouTube clip are premature and should be ignored.
The production on the whole is well done as I’ve come to expect from Mortification. Perhaps the only thing I might’ve done different is to push the guitar louder in the overall mix, balls out rhythm guitar is so face melting.
The CD also includes four extra tracks entitled “The Best of the 00’s” the tracks include Priests of the Underground, Too Much Pain, Erasing the Goblin and Elasticized Outrage. Each of these is tracks from Relentless, Brain Cleaner, Erasing the Goblin and The Evil Addiction Killing Machine. Undoubtedly to give more exposure to those albums, these tracks were lifted from those albums directly without anything else done to them.
Nay sayers beware this disc is the real deal and if it’s not your cup of tea, then simply ignore it as many of us are tired of reading the anti Mort diatribes.
One will be reminded of past glories on this release and rightfully so. Scribe of the Pentateuch is a full on metal assault that should more than rally the faithful, but break down more barriers and remind the world of the juggernaut that is Mortification. I don't give this endorsement lightly.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Retroactive Records does it again with two sensational reissue/remasters, this time from one of the Godfathers of Christian Hard Rock/Metal; Daniel Band. Albums four and five i.e. Rise Up and Running Out of Time are the recipients of a much needed audio makeover.
J Powell at Steinhaus again has provided some much needed audio eq expertise. Rise Up sounds fuller and punchier, truly benefitting from a great production to begin with. The energy of this album shines through with a more defined lower end and fine tuning in the mid and higher end of the audio department. Rise Up was originally released in 1986 and in my eyes and ears, it has held up extremely well.
The songs you ask? Well Rise Up delivers a nice slab of high energy hard rock with strong metallic overtones. Bethel (when did Dan McCabe ever belt it out like that!?!?!) or the strength of Call His Name (the smoke rises from the amps!!). Perhaps the more melodic title track or the haunting slower tune Paradise will catch your ear. This disc has plenty of hooks but plenty of sheer put the pedal down!! This reissue features a bonus in track where Daniel Band covers an old Darrell Mansfield tune, That’s All Right and my friends this song is right at home here.
The second reissue is Daniel Band’s Running Out of Time. Originally released in 1988 this would be Daniel Band’s last album and features all of their trademarks. The soaring vocals and Dan McCabe, the fiery lead playing of Tony Rossi (and occasional lead vocal, see Things Are Changing), Matt Delduca’s straight ahead drumming and the guitar/synth work of Bill Findley.
Running Out of Time when it was released originally suffered from a horrible eq of shrill high end and nearly muddy sounding bottom. The work of J Powel at Steinhaus has solved both of those issues which have made this a much more enjoyable album to listen to. Listening to Black or White (a solid rocker if there ever was one), the almost melancholic Long Time with its haunting chord progression and the powerful title track is a pure joy now. Having been so put off due to the audio portion of this album originally, it’s almost like getting a brand new album to enjoy. Not to forget that this album does include a bonus track entitled One, this offering shows Daniel Band in fine form. Not a song to be overlooked!!
Of the two albums Rise Up is the stronger to these ears, but Running Out of Time definitely has its moments. Make no mistake this is pure Jesus Rock, straight ahead lyrically with plenty of fire and dogged determination musically that is just fabulous. Get ready to bang yer head one more time!
Check out CD Baby or Amazon pick up these Retroactive Reissues now!!
Rise Up 10 axes
Running Out of Time 8 axes