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Messiah Force > The Last Day > Reviews
Messiah Force - The Last Day

What a pity there's no follow up... - 95%

malibuman, August 8th, 2008

It’s always exciting to pick up an unheard release from the golden age of metal and to be honest, on the strength of this album’s rather dodgy artwork I wasn’t expecting a great deal. But how wrong can you be, because this has quickly become one of my most listened to albums of recent times.

On first listen I was rather surprised by the intro to this mid to late 80’s speed metal album, as it features some lilting piano before morphing into an early Warlock-esque workout. Re-enforcing the Warlock comparisons are the vocals of Lynn Resnaud, who sounds German even though she is apparently Canadian. I actually really like her voice, and if you like Doro Pesch’s voice then you probably will too. Guitarists Jean and Bastian shine on this album too, with plenty of nifty guitar work on display, though neither apparently feeling the need to showboat to ostentatiously.

Personally I always thought ‘Burning the Witches’ and ‘Hellbound’ were Warlock’s finest hours, and this album really captures the spirit of those two releases, possibly leaning more to the ‘BTW’ style, but displaying a more evolved sense of musicianship and ability.

It’s hard to believe that this came out in 1987, as it sounds more like 1985 to me. But that said, in the context of hearing it now, what difference does that make? I think it’s the drums that make it sound slightly older than it really is (and again strangely German!). But at least it’s not overproduced like a lot of late 80’s metal. I just wish there was another album to get my teeth into ‘cos this one’s a killer.

Miss. Skeptics Apocalypse - 90%

Xeogred, August 16th, 2007

Messiah Force could be thrown in the simpler pile of speed metal, comparable to Agent Steel's Skeptics Apocalypse (not that its a bad thing). Speed is always over the top but the structures remain to be fairly straightforward and aren't always the most dynamic. Regardless the tracks here are distinct among another and there's tons of energy from the lineup, especially from our lady Lynn Renaud on vocals.

Vocalist Lynn Renaud is easily one of the best aspects here, she's by far one of the best female leads I've heard in the genre. Very comparable to Chastain's original vocalist Leather Leone, Renaud gives off a very vibrant and energetic melodic performance carrying out a lot of higher notes effortlessly and unleashing great choruses. Unlike the majority of bigger Canadian bands however, Renaud sticks to her native French so the vocals are not in English. Regardless, just like ADX and several other bands out there its still easy to enjoy the vocals here because of the pace. Team Bastien Deschenes and Jean Tremblay on guitars are another one of the biggest highlights here. Both are extremely virtuous and the guitars here could arguably be better than most of your speed metal out there, Agent Steel, Savage Grace, Abbatoir, you name it. These guys know how to shred and the leads completely rip things in half. The style is more on the power metal side of things than speed/thrash, more upbeat and sharper in sound with leads being a much bigger focus than anything else. Bassist Eric Parise seems pretty comfortable with his playing and does an excellent job, however he gets sandwiched between these two phenomenal shredders most of the time and doesn't get a lot of time under the spotlight.

Sadly, the drums are devastatingly painful at times. I'm not sure exactly what it is, perhaps the production or something but the drums are utterly repetitive and not that impressive at all. Only until Silver Tyrant does there seem to be hints of technique and dynamics (that's track 6), before that it sounds almost as if they had a drum machine doing all the work. The double bass drumming is severely standardized/static and this guy doesn't seem to give them a break throughout entire tracks. I've heard an overload of speed metal out there and repetition isn't always a huge factor for me, but there's just something about these drums here that bores me out of my mind. Its a shame, luckily it doesn't literally ruin the album and the rest of it makes up for it.

Imagine Agent Steel's Skeptics Apocalypse with a weird atmosphere and power metal uplift that Liege Lord's first two albums had and you should have a good idea on the sound here. The production is fairly good, not the best nor the worst for its time. Just a little clearer than Agent Steel's first two albums. While its pretty consistent it seems like they tinkered with the mixing a little more than usual on The Last Day. The guitars sound a little more drowned out and heavier than before. Besides that most of the songs are consistent in the sound department.

Overall the album starts off pretty strong and seems to get better track after track, though the epic level goes through the roof at Silver Tyrant and to the end making the last four tracks hands down the best. Its probably because these songs are far more dynamic than the rest. Silver Tyrant even has an atmospheric intro while the rest of the song has tons of build ups to the shredding. Hero's Saga is very similar in style. The Last Day is undeniably their darkest and perhaps slowest track (well at times), probably because of the production on this one as I mentioned earlier. Final track The Third One opens up as if its presenting the Terminator, essentially their most dynamic track overall.

Thanks to the drums its pretty straight forward stuff. To the untrained speed metal ear most of the songs might sound a little too similar at first, but given some time that shouldn't be much of an issue. I've noticed after a few dozen doses of this album that the first few tracks almost become skippable. While The Sequel, Call From the Night, and The Watch are all wonderful tracks at first, the drums really do ruin them over time. Thankfully starting with track four and on it seems to improve quite a bit and you won't notice it as much. Overall those looking for something along the lines of early Agent Steel, Savage Grace, Abbatoir, ADX, with hints of power metal like Liege Lord and so forth, Messiah Force should be right up your alley! An easy headbanger and definitely underrated.