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'time' to 'learn' that Xtian bands can make doom - 82%

Kalelfromkrypton, January 8th, 2010

The reason that I give this album 82 is quite simple: although it is a very good DOOM album, in some aspects it pales beside to Candlemass, Trouble or Solitude Aeternus. It does not mean that I am comparing it to those giants, but if you are going to be playing doom, without any doubt you will be compared to the magnificent doom played by those bands, whether you like the idea or not.

Ok, if you noticed I said a Doom album and I confirm: YES, a doom metal album. Deliverance, through their first 3 albums played US speed metal ala Metallica, Megadeth, etc. However, Jimmy Brown began to accept the fact that he would be considered the back stage for Metallica or the Christian response to the bay area thrash, and he was not pleased with this idea. Thus, he ventured into some other realms and one of them was Doom Metal. Are you interested? If you are into old speed metal and hate slow music then leave this review right now. This album is slow and there are a few songs which could be considered ‘fast’ and those are ‘Who Am I?’, ‘Renew’ & ‘The Rain’ which are in the end mid tempo. While some of the riffs are still very speed metal alike (‘1990-Deliverance’, ‘The Rain’, ‘Renew’ and specially ‘Desperate Cries’) they are slowed down so they can seem doom. The rest of the songs are very slow tempo and you have to definitely like doom to swallow this album if you knew them before. ‘Learn’ has another very solid riff and a very cool melody except when it comes to the pre-chorus which completely sucks and the high hat during the verses sucks too. The solos are not yet that doomy but more 80s heavy metal influenced. Nevertheless, the guitar melodies at the end perfectly fit the music and this despair sound they were trying to achieve.

The vocal approach on this is very Geoff Tate but doomy. In other words, think of Queensryche but a down tuned and slower version and you get what this album is about (without the boring-ness of Queensryche of course) It is a good recording, but it does not have the elegance of the aforementioned doom bands. The vocals are performed very passionate and I would dare to say Jimmy Brown is a very versatile singer since he fits perfectly varied styles and he does it flawlessly. Nevertheless, the ‘’crying’’ approach can be annoying some times (just some times). I know it is in attempt to show a desperate cry (pun intended!) but sometimes it can become overwhelming. At least, I have never heard this by Messiah Marcolin or Rob Lowe. Nevertheless the vocals in ‘Sanctuary’ fit the music like a glove. There are some effects made (I do not know what for) like on ‘1990-Deliverance’ which reminds me of those annoying horns performed on Chamaleon by Helloween, only not that superb annoying. He sings in different scales and using different techniques which make him sound such varied through the album that it does not get boring.

The guitar crunch is quite solid and thick, such is the very good production. All the instruments can be heard properly and the bass is strong and thick. The drums are very powerful as well, very reminiscent of Candlemass but less textured and no such variety. There are some orchestral arrangements included as well and they actually sound quite good, since they do not overshadow the flow of the songs or the other instruments. They are there to enhance the grim sound and depressive atmosphere. ‘Time’ is a good example of this being the opener and ‘Desperate Cries’ and ‘Sanctuary’. These songs encompass all the songs from the album because of the exquisite sadness it transpires, along the powerful riffs and song structure.

Another aspect to mention is the lyrical approach, whereas they abandoned completely the spiritual warfare topics and much of the Christian-ized topics. They are still focusing on present the word of God, but the despair and desperate vibe of doom has been incorporated so there is sadness in the lyrics to make meditate on those issues.

‘Sanctuary’ ends and it tries to be an epic song. Since its length its 7 minutes it is (for doom purposes) not yet an epic song but it certainly closes the album perfectly. I would dare to say it is the saddest song in the album and it is actually a popular song in Christian circles.

I guess what bothers me most of the album is the amount of sound effects altering the vocals, the guitars that run throughout the entire album and that takes away some points. Still, it is a very solid doom album and very interesting if you do not think of Candlemass, Solitude Aeternus, Reverend Bizarre or Trouble. Give it a chance and even if you do not like Christian lyrical content this will not bother you and perhaps it can make you reflect about some aspects of life. By the way, I have to point the cover which completely sucks and especially for this kind of music. Nobody would pick it up looking for doom music. I mean, the guys in a sepia colored cover are not good at all. Please refer to Solitude Aeternus, Trouble or Candlemass in order to learn (pun intended) what doom covers are like. My favorite tracks are definitely ‘desperate Cries’, ‘Learn’, ‘1990-Deliverance’ and ‘Sanctuary’. It is definitely a different album by the former speed metal band and a nice addition to your doom album collection.