Saturday, July 20, 2013


Mission of One is the brain child of Tennessee native Chris Dickens (vocals, guitar and bass); Hostile to the Gospel is the fourth release from him. Currently this 12 song album is pending release and distribution through the Tate Music group. That being said this is an independently recorded project.

This being my first exposure to Mission of One and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  As I’ve listened to Hostile to the Gospel my initial impression is meat n potatoes hard rock with heavy metal overtones. No it’s not a Night at the Opera but it’s also not Crux of the Mosh either. Some have compared this release to late 80s Rez Band and that comparison is pretty valid on a musical level (I’d even include Stevie & The Saints).

While not strictly a blues based album there are plenty of non blues influences throughout. Hostile to the Gospel is not breaking new ground musically here, but there are plenty of enjoyable songs that should please any fan of 80’s based hard rock.

Dickens has assembled a nice little cadre of guest musicians who have participated in on this release. This listing is per track.

Crashing Down On You - David Franey (lead guitar), David England (drums)
Does Anybody Care - Jacob Veal (formerly of EDEN’S WAY/EOWYN on lead guitar), David England (drums)
Feed My Sheep - David Franey (lead guitar), Darren Dickens (drums)
Give In To Him - David Franey (lead guitar), Darren Dickens (drums)
Gloryland - David Franey (lead guitar), Darren Dickens (drums)
Hostile To The Gospel - David Franey (lead guitar), Darren Dickens (drums)
I Know - JD Evans (of LETTER 7 on lead guitar), Darren Dickens (drums)
No Other- David Franey (lead guitar), Darren Dickens (drums)
Prodigal - Kevin Hasselquist (of SARDIS on lead guitar), Darren Dickens (drums)
Someone Save Me - JD Evans (lead guitar), Darren Dickens (drums)
The Third Door - Kevin Hasselquist (lead guitar), Darren Dickens (drums)
Walk On Water - Brad Windlan (Pastor Brad on lead guitar), David England (drums)

The production element will probably be a stumbling block for those used to a super glossy hard rock sound. The guitar is plenty strong but at times the drums will disappear amidst the bass and rhythm guitars. If you realize this is more of a demo in sound quality, with an underground feel that should help you gauge your expectations.

Lyrically make no mistake this is an evangelistic album, with bold proclamations about the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is something Dickens has emphasized in many of his online postings about this release. If you have a hard time with Christian bands not sounding ‘Christian’ enough that shouldn’t be a problem here.

One thing that held me back on this review was that I received the songs out of sequence and thanks to Andrew Rockwell posting the correct sequence, the album is a thousand times better in the right sequence. (it should be noted that this had no relation to the Axe quota I gave it!)

Mission of One’s Hostile to the Gospel is straight ahead hard rock with metal overtones. I was a little disappointed with the production elements but musically there should be plenty here for most fans of Rez and other 80s hard rock/metal bands to enjoy. 

6 axes. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013


My Silent Wake returns with a brand new album entitled Silver Under Midnight. Following a re-issue of their classic opus The Anatomy of Melancholy, available through Bombworks, MSW delivers a release of brand new skull crushing material.

It should also be mentioned that a vinyl only release of their acoustic material was also produced, it’s a limited run so if you don’t already have a copy chances are slim that you’d find one. However it’s entitled, Acoustic Collection; good luck!

Back to the release at hand, Silver Under Midnight finds MSW in fine form. In the studio this time MSW consists of Ian Arkley providing brutal and clean vocals, guitar chaos, occasional keyboards, plus assorted percussion and bass guitar. Kate Hamilton provides bass and the traditional dulcimer. Mark Henry delivers the powerful back beats of the drums and the carnage of powerful percussion.

Silver Under Midnight is an album that defines atmosphere and mood. Starting with a brief intro that lasts under two minutes full of those folkish overtones that sets a startling medieval period, Midnight. It gives way to the full force of the imposing Destroyer, a track that imposes its will upon you with several mood changes while it crushes you with its Sabbath inspired riff.

Oblivion comes at you with it’s over whelming groove and sledgehammer timing. Ian’s brutal vocal delivery is in top form as it cuts through the musical carnage.  The tempo is almost reminiscent of early Seventh Angel. A pile driver has as much subtlety but that is one of the brilliant things about MSW, they can come at you with a locomotive and suddenly shift gears into silent dark foreboding encampment such as you’d find in a desolate forest.

Wars and The Last Man share this same ultra heaviness. Pounding doom and gothic metal that offers some heavy riffage while turning your brain into mush. Album closer Third Season moves through many atmospheric changes without losing any of its heaviness or sense of danger. Clocking in at over 14 minutes, this epic shines and demands an instant replay. No really.

The production is top flight and really from MSW I expect no less. The instruments have great clarity and definition without a huge loss in dynamics. These purveyors of gothic doom have seemingly mastered their art in the studio.

My Silent Wake again has delivered an exceptional piece of musical art. Making observations of the human condition without offering the simple trite response that so many do.  2013 has been the year of My Silent Wake and Silver Under Midnight should solidify that statement. Grab a copy.

9 axes
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Friday, July 5, 2013


For those of you who do not know who Bill Menchen is (shame on you), he has been the brainchild of MANY different Christian Metal/Hard Rock bands throughout the last 25 years. Titanic, Menchen, Redeemer and Final Axe were some of his other musical outlets; however I’m focused on another group under the moniker of The Seventh Power.

Power and Glory is the current album, actually it came out in 2012 and I received it earlier in 2013. So after spinning this disc to death for months (I must apologize for the delay in this review… seriously….) Power and Glory is a much better disc than its predecessor Eternal Power. One thing with The Seventh Power, musically you know what you’re gonna get straight ahead old school heavy metal with a hook.

The hooks on Power and Glory struck me as stronger and a bit more pronounced than on Eternal Power. The songs felt more complete, finished. Menchen doesn’t break new ground musically, but honestly that in itself is a breath of fresh air because as I fan I know what to expect as I already mentioned.

Robert Sweet of Stryper handles all the drumming duties and does he beat the snot outta his kit. Tight and punchy with a flair for the subtle, Sweet has never been slouch behind the kit.  Bill provides his top flight riffs and solid lead playing throughout this release.

Some of my favorite tracks include the video tune God Is Love, but just as catchy is the very strong Look Into My Eyes.  The title track includes a deep voiced sounding announcer that always strikes me as a distant cousin to the announcing voice at the end of Rush’s 2112. Similar but not the same.

 The production is top flight once again as on the previous Seventh Power albums. I often find the drums to be that bedrock that breaks through the musical din; however the guitar sounds are crisp and strong.

Straight ahead 80’s metal is what you’ll find here with little in the way of surprise. If that floats your boat pick this one up and enjoy some traditional sounding melodic metal with exceptional hooks.

8 axes
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