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Busting chains and necks for The Lord. - 91%

hells_unicorn, January 20th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1989, CD, Intense Records

Wherein thrash metal is concerned, there is only one question that need be asked, and that is does it thrash well? Anything beyond this is secondary, though obviously not wholly irrelevant, as questions of originality and messaging will naturally come into play for those who tend to be either overly particular or of too short an attention span to make room for more than the obligatory Big 4 offerings. In other words, genre saturation and lyrical diversity doesn't necessarily equal an inferior product, nor is arriving late in the game, all of which are charges that could be thrown at a number of bands that came out of the woodwork in the late 1980s. To their credit, Christian thrashers Deliverance have been at it since the earlier speed/thrash days of a few years earlier, and their 1989 debut and eponymous offering Deliverance tends to walk a fairly fine line between the primordial, traditional heavy metal tinged character of 1985 speed metal and the more dangerous character of latter day thrash metal.

This sense of having one foot in the early speed metal craze and the other in the later thrash metal one is perhaps best exemplified in the lack of inhibition in exploring mid-paced, melodic anthems to complement the neck-wrecking. The generally laid back and catchy yet heavy as an anvil character of anthems such as "No Time" and "Deliverance" have all the crushing guitar goodness of Metallica's "Escape" and Anthrax's "Medusa", but listen ever so slightly closer to the iconic character of early Metal Church. A big part of the equation that makes this lighter side of the band work so well is vocalist Jimmy Brown, who proves to be equally as adept at impersonating the crisp and clear high wails of Joey Belladonna and John Cyriis as he is the more jagged, still high pitched ravings of John Connelly and Mark Osegueda. Nevertheless, the generally melodic character of the songwriting, in spite of the percussive riffing style, and the generally lyrical and Skolnick-tinged take on the Hammett mode of shredding courtesy of Glenn Rogers (who departed soon after this album dropped) play a significant role in this as well.

It is important to keep in mind, though this album contains a fair number of speed metal trappings that give it an affinity for the likes of Agent Steel, Heathen and Toxik, that it is still equally as informed by the heavier ended Bay Area thrash sound that rose to prominence at the time of its release. The pummeling grooves of "The Call" definitely bring on the Metallica-inspired payload with a vengeance like a nod to ...And Justice For All, but with an audible bass line. But it's when gallop-happy speeders like "If You Will" and "Blood Covenant" hit the ears that this band's frenetic thrashing credentials are truly shown, and it's a thrill ride fit to rival the likes of The Ultra-Violence and Forbidden Evil. Likewise, although the speed thrashers "Victory" and "Awake" were written back in the earliest days of the band, they display a fair bit of forward-looking innovation somewhat reminiscent of the earliest works of Testament under the Legacy moniker that would come to find themselves on their seminal debut LP The Legacy, namely by having a melodic character still heavily trenched in NWOBHM trappings, but definitely anticipating that heavier and nastier guitar sound that would soon take over.

In contrast to a number of Deliverance's later works, this is one of those albums that has a strongly universal appeal to anyone who is either discovering the old glory days of speed and thrash metal first hand, or becoming interested in it through the slew of revivalist bands that rose to prominence not too long ago. The lyrics are a bit less abrasive, though still quite uncompromising, but overall this is one of those albums where the music is so enthralling that it can take all of the listener's attention. It's extremely well produced, well executed, and apart from the fact that it's a little bit mixed up in terms of what era/direction it seeks to emulate, it is a perfect illustration of how well this 80s sound still holds up today in spite of the continual advances in production gimmicks. Some bands sang about demons crushing angels, a smaller number preached that the opposite is occurring, but as long as something is getting crushed, the requirements of thrash stand fulfilled.

'Holy Thrash' Batman, this CRUSHES, Hehe.... - 89%

darkfiend, December 26th, 2010

It seems most reviews I've read on the web of this Deliverance debut album are from Christian fans, so here is a review from the perspective of a 'secular' metal fan. Although it can be argued if such a lyrical direction is suited for such aggressive music, that argument can be set aside for another time & place. I knew of this band's name & seen it many times in the past, but never bothered to listen to them then. More recently, while seeking more good speed / thrash metal with quality vocals such as Agent Steel, Hirax, & early Death Angel, this band's name was mentioned, so I I got the original cassette of this album.

Having gotten the album & listened to it, I can say that this is overlooked 80s thrash metal, at least in general / secular metal circles, probably because its Christian. Lyrics aside though, musically, this crushes. It sounds somewhat like Christian metal's answer to Death Angel. It is similar high quality, crunching, heavy thrash metal with melodic yet powerful, aggressive vocals. The production sounds ahead of it's time, it's not just the common crunching, 'in your face' thrash metal guitars, but also has audible bass, & a great drum sound rarely heard on thrash metal albums. The musicianship & songwriting are both of a high caliber. The vocals deserve special mention, the guitarist / vocalist can definitely sing. His vocals are of similar high caliber as the vocals from Agent Steel, Hirax, Death Angel, & other similar bands.

This ranks with Believer's 'Extraction from Mortality' album as one of the strongest Christian thrash metal albums ever, the songs, musical performances, & production are all that good. High class, heavy 80s thrash, that, eh, 'crushes for Christ', Hehe.