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A high point of thrash, Christian or not. - 95%

hells_unicorn, January 26th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1990, CD, Intense Records

There has been and will likely continue to be a strong divergence between what constitutes thrash metal, with some arguing that much like its darker cousins on the extremest end of the spectrum that it is ideologically exclusive, while others might speak to a certain stylistic orthodoxy that ruled out some less evil sounding variations that developed during the last couple years of the sub-genre's first run. In opposition to what is arguably an overly specific definition belying the premise of this debate, I prefer to see thrash metal through the lens of aggression on the musical side, and through the general idea of conflict on the lyrical end. Consequently, should a band opt for either to delve into the subjects of the occult, war, politics, satire/comedic mockery, or even taking the road not so often traveled of thrashing for Christ, as long as a sense of struggle in the words is accompanying a raging barrage of superior riff work, the style is perfectly represented. Then again, it is more becoming of a listener to see thrash as a singular style with multiple facets, rather than a rag-tag movement with several sub-groups at odds with each other, thus making the seminal works of Tourniquet and Slayer capable of coexisting, despite being ideologically opposed.

This admittedly long wave of qualifications, while a bit much, are necessary to fully appreciate a band like Deliverance, which left their mark not so much by redefining or even necessarily expanding the thrash style, but distilling all the best elements into a highly effective and fairly distinctive sound that could go head to head with several seminal late 80s Bay Area acts, and actually did in terms of messaging. At their creative peak stands Weapons Of Our Warfare, a towering display of raw passion with a fair bit of stylistic nuance that was fairly common in the early 1990s, but also expressed in a way that still carries a strongly 80s mindset. It is often and unfairly pigeonholed as a Slayer knockoff, whereas the truth is closer to a brilliant amalgamation of mid-80s speed/thrash with some traces of the more melodic, almost power metal-like character of bands like Agent Steel and Sanctuary, alongside the more nuanced mixture of neck-destroying high octane thrash of mid-80s Dark Angel and the slower, grooving feel that came in with later 80s Metallica and Testament.

Occasionally things will lean into the blinding speed and fury typical to Slayer, particularly in the cases of "This Present Darkness" and "Greetings Of Death", the latter having been original written back in 1985 and couple pass for a shorter version of something on Hell Awaits, though the crisp and punchy guitar tone suggests something closer in sound to Darkness Descends. However, these songs only tell a small part of the story of an album that definitely takes a fair number of cues from the haunting, ballad-laced tendencies of Testament's The New Order and the punchy chugs of ...And Justice For All. A good example of this is the occasionally fast but mostly mid-paced stomp of the title song "Weapons Of Our Warfare", which starts of pounding the ground in a manner reminiscent of "The Frayed Ends Of Sanity" and then ups the speed factor a bit to a crushing stride that recalls much of Twisted Into Form, though with a vocal display that occasionally reminds of John Cyriis and the early days of Warrel Dane. Jimmy Brown's versatile vocals take on even more of an iconic USPM character on the ballad "23", which sounds like "Sanitarium" reinterpreted through the lens of Sanctuary or even early Queensryche at times.

While the conservatism of this album relative to its year of release is fairly clear, it is also largely a product of its day and exemplifies the longer and more nuanced character that thrash metal was beginning to assert. The clearest example of this is the epic length thrasher "Flesh And Blood", which has a lot of the Dark Angel hyper-driven tendencies of the shorter songs found on here, but also cycles through a number of varying influences and comes pretty close to predicting where Heathen would go on Victims Of Deception, mixing in a number of varying riff sets and even throwing in a ballad middle-section with a Skolnick-inspired guitar solo that comes seemingly out of nowhere. Naturally there are some other near equally impressive moments where this sense of elaborateness comes into play, namely the melodic cruiser "Solitude" and the chunky, slower paced bruiser "Slay The Wicked". All the while, the words that tend to intermingle with all of these impressive instrumental performances paint a compelling picture of a militant wing of Christian soldiers engaged in spiritual warfare that works quite effectively for its adopted style.

Had this album been produced and put out about 2 or 3 years earlier, which could have happened given where this band had already gone on a number of lesser releases in the mid 1980s, it would have likely been more widely hailed as an exemplary example of thrash metal's versatility and potency. But seeing this album in retrospect, it doesn't really matter when it came out or how many bands it drew fairly obvious influences from, it is a furious slab of thrash metal that rivals all of the classics that came roaring out of the Bay Area and New York scenes a few year prior. Regardless of one's position on the subject of religion, this is one the best thrash albums to come out of the early 1990s, edging out the solid yet less raging works of west coast mainstays Exodus and Testament, and also 2nd tier players like Defiance. If thrash is best understood as a form of sonic warfare, these west coast Christian thrashers definitely came packing their full arsenal.

I don't see how this is a Slayer rip-off - 85%

mot_the_barber, May 8th, 2009

Sure, Deliverance may have started making crappy pseudo-industrial metal after this album, but that doesn't stop Weapons of Our Warfare from being one of the better albums to come out of the late 80s/early 90s US thrash scene.

Firstly, I've heard many people call this album "basically a Christian Slayer knock-off." While Jimmy Brown's shouted vocals do sound a little similar to Tom Araya, in general Weapons of Our Warfare is a much more polished and musically accomplished effort than anything Slayer have ever done. The guitar riffs are clean and fairly technical, and the tempos vary considerably. The combination of yelled and sung vocals, as well as a mixture of faster and slower songs, owes more to Megadeth than it does to Slayer or Metallica. Also, Brown's occasionally falsetto singing sounds like it could be a little influenced by Artillery, though he is nowhere near as skilled.

Deliverance don't write incredibly memorable riffs, so they rely heavily on the vocals to provide musical interest. This works especially well on faster numbers like the title track, "This Present Darkness," and "Greetings of Death." However, most of the slower songs, such as "Slay the Wicked" and "23," also stick well in the listener's head. Deliverance use a more melodic, speed-metal oriented style at times and it helps the songs to be instantly memorable.

There are a few clunkers here, though, namely "Solitude" and the bonus track "Rescue." The latter suffers from trying a little bit to hard to sound like a thrashy version of Iron Maiden, and "Solitude" contains some nastily sharp notes from the throat of Jimmy Brown. Other than these two songs, the album is solid and an enjoyable listen for anyone looking for early 90s thrash that isn't related to death metal.

Greetings from metal - 87%

Kalelfromkrypton, December 18th, 2007

The Christian metal movement was always behind the greatest secular bands around the world with a few exceptions i.e. Believer, Tourniquet and some others. But Deliverance was pretty much the Christian cover for Metallica ‘…and justice…’ era. The similarities pop up immediately but first let’s focus on the concept.

Delivance was a band inspired by the very roots of Black Sabbath and the speed metal movement rising in the second half of the 80’s. The idea was basically to play speed metal with a strong Christian lyrical approach in a very ‘militia’ way as countrymen Megadeth, Metallica, Slayer, etc. That is why the dark atmosphere, themes and the speed from their 3 first releases. With Weapons of Our Warfare they focused entirely on spiritual struggle between demons and angels trying to take over your life, for good or bad and how God sends his warriors to gain your soul. The album is most likely a war march translated into music with strong biblical references and direct copy/paste from the Bible in some of them

The music is faster and heavier than its predecessor since in here they took a very similar approach to Metallica in many ways: specially the fast riffs and the distortion and the same as in AJFA, the fastest parts are very much like RTL and the solos are very similar to KTA. The voice is one the things I find interesting here, they’d fit in power metal very good since he high pitches a lot of times and is very powerful singing. I mean, if I’d have to compare Mustaine and Brown, Brown surpasses him by far. The album has a certain structure: 50% songs are thrashy and fast; whereas the other 50% are regular speed metal mid-tempo songs with a strong sense of melody.

The album opens with Supplication and it is a military march intro to set the mood and to give you an idea of what to expect. This Present Darkness is the first song and it kicks ass with the thrashy riffs ala Kreator or Slayer ‘RIB’ era. Weapons of Our Warfare follows and being the title track I’d say it is really cool, mid tempo with fast chorus, double bass interludes, lots of slashing solos and super cool vocals. The main riff is butt kicking. Solitude has even higher vocals and it is fast paced with lots of riffing ala AJFA again and the solo is very similar to those from RTL. Flesh and Blood comes up and again we get fast tempo song with walls of hooky riffs, this one is very thrashy in the vein of the german bands like Sodom is OS. Bought by Blood clocks at 3:17 is a in your face fast tempo song with a middle riffing part literally pulled up from AJFA. 23 is the psalm 23 with the same structure as Fade to Black with a calm intro, then it builds the verse and the chorus, the solo follows and it builds upon itself with the rhythm part beginning, the second guitar begins and finally it runs fast, again a verse and the chorus and to close it a fast part with a solo on it. If this is not Fade to Black I do not know what it is, very metallic and very good. Slay the Wicked and If We Faint Not are mid-tempo songs with good riffs, amazing solos, double bass here and there and tempo changes. Greetings of Death is a fast paced song and kicks ass ala Kreator’s Extreme Agression era. The bad thing about this one is the solo because it is very similar to Flesh and Blood’s. I would pick up If We Faint Not from AJFA too since the riffing and song structure is very similar. The solo comes up directly from RTL.

Last to say this is one of my favorite Christian speed metal albums and my comparisons with Metallica do not pretend to be annoying but this band was really underrated because of their thematic approach so to give anybody an idea of what they sound like the similarities fit very well. This was actually the last good effort, next coming was What a Joke and it was exactly that: A joke! After that they turned to alternative rock with industrial and gothic elements so they down fast. But by speed metal standards this was a solid effort put out. Oh, and I almost forget, there is another band which has the exact same sound but ala modern power metal: Hyperion with their release ‘Where Stone Is Unscarred’. Everything sounds the same except they incorporated symphonic elements. Other than that we got a pretty good album.

A nice treat for thrashers - 82%

dmpjackson, August 3rd, 2007

Deliverance, a godsend to any Christian who needs some proper thrashing material. Deliverance's second outing is just that, a true thrasher, although this album is the very antithesis of groundbreaking. What we have here is pretty generic, but still very well produced and executed.

The production is great; almost everything is clear in the mix. The guitars are heavy and have plenty of crunch. Jimmy Brown's powerful voice is heard loud and clear, and the all the drums are audible, from the snare, to the tom toms, to the cymbals. The only thing that I have trouble hearing is the bass, which is actually typical of most thrash bands.

The album contains some very good instrumentation. The guitar team lays down some pretty simple but effective riffs, such as on 'This Present Darkness,' but they can get somewhat complex, such as the odd time signature of 'Soulitude' and the thrashing intensity of 'Flesh and Blood.' The drummer can certainly hold his own against other drummers of the genre, and has no problem playing at fast tempo, using double bass pedals, or just throwing out crazy fills. Jimmy's voice is very diverse, as he can sing tunes with a gruff thrash voice, or a high-flying power metal style that fits the more melodic moments perfectly. Brian Khairullah's bass is very hard to hear, but sometimes you'll hear a couple of moments where he gets to show off his ability.

Now we move to the songwriting. This album can get very heavy, with fast tempos and tough vocals, and crazy guitar solos flying everywhere. Other times, this album can have a very appealing power metal sound, such as in parts of the title track, that add in melodic riffs and vocals, that sound fresh. And how could a thrash album not include gang vocals? This album has plenty, especially on 'Bought by Blood.' Then we come to the lyrics. This album obviously appeals to Christian metal-heads, but secular listeners can also find this an absolutely enjoyable release. Christian lyrics, not unlike satanic lyrics, can get very cheesy. 'Rise up with the sword of God and put your armor on' is one such example.

Deliverance's 'Weapons of Our Warfare' is a pretty good album with fast riffs and shredding solos, but this is no 'Eternal Nightmare' or 'Darkness Descends.' True thrashers however will find this a rewarding release.