Symphonic Extremities, though the name and artwork suggest Death Metal, is really a good Power/Thrash album. Listening to it conjures up memories of things like Accept and Megadeth and especially the first Deliverance album. Vocalist Scott Waters has been rightfully compared to Bon Scott (original singer for AC/DC), but in Ultimatum's musical context I think a better comparison would be Udo Dirkschneider of Accept. This is most notable on songs like "The Killing Fields". Musically the band plays some thrashy tunes like "Symphonic Extremities" and "Blink", some power metal tunes like "The Killing Fields" and "Darkest Void". They have a humorously titled noise instrumental "Ode To Noise" and a semi-melodic tune, "The Grip". Overall the music is tight and worthy of a recording contract. Since I received this demo from the band it has been re-issued on CD with a bonus track. Finally, it is obvious that Ultimatum is a ministry band. Like many Christian Heavy Metal bands they list a specific Church as their place of worship and ministry. This indicates that this band, whether successful in the mainstream or not, have a calling and purpose about their music. This is obvious in their lyrics. The lyrics here are straight ahead and based on various spiritual topics and on a street level. --TE
Imagine what it would be like for Tourniquet to play Six Feet Deep tunes. That's the sound Unorthodox has derived from their Hardcore/Metal background. Unorthodox claims to be influenced by such bands as Strongarm, Focused, Vengeance Rising, Unashamed and Mortification. Sounds pretty unusual, doesn't it? For four guys to merge into a technical Hardcore band could be considered unorthodox as well. These guys have put together some great sounding tunes that will put you into a one man mosh. Above all else, Unorthodox members are very serious with the salvation and gospel of Jesus Christ, which is evident in their lyrics. It's not uncommon for vocalist Courtney Simmons to full-on evangelize during their live shows. I give Unorthodox a '10' for their superior dedication and performance, combined with tight groves and hooks. --ES
Vengeance Rising "Once Dead" ( Tracks. . Intense)
Vengeance Rising "Destruction Comes" (10 Tracks. . Instense)
Vengeance Rising "Released Upon The Earth" (10 Tracks. . Intense)
Veni Domine "Fall Babylon, Fall" (7 Tracks. 67:26. R.E.X.)
Rapturous metallic rhapsodies. Just look up the word "rhapsody" in your dictionary and you'll find a definition that comes as close as anything to describing this incredibly polished band from Sweden. Here are a few descriptive words that occur to me as I listen: Melodic, beautiful, intelligent, well-executed, extremely Biblical, and awe-inspiring. Veni Domine has been compared to bands like Sanctuary and old Queensryche. While I wouldn't disagree, I'd hate to label a band that far exceeds those comparisons. Really, Veni Domine bridges many gaps in the metal world. For one thing, they are a cross between Classical and Doom Metal with noticeable similarities to Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass. They also bridge the gap between commercial and non-commercial. On the one hand they sound very commercial. In fact, they sound a lot like Bloodgood. On the other hand, instead of writing 3 to 5 minute songs, they write songs that range from 8 to 21 minutes long with many classically influenced asides that will dazzle and amaze. And check out the additional instrumentation: keyboards played like an organ, tubular bells, and a harp. Needless to say, they've constructed two of the most intriguing albums out there (not surprising when you learn that they're from Sweden, as is Candlemass, Edge of Sanity, and Memento Mori). This band also delivers lyrically because practically every song contains direct quotations from Scripture. Of particular interest are "Wisdom Calls" and "The Chronicle of the Seven Seals", the latter being over 21 minutes long. Think of this as a heavy Bible opera.. -TE
Veni Domine "Material Sanctuary" (9 Tracks. 65:46. Massacre)
The second release from this incredible band is as wonderful as the first. Once again, rapturous gothic music, epic proportion, and the additional instrumentation which make this band a cut above most others. One noticeable improvement, or addition, on this album is the use of a choir on such songs as "The Meeting" which borrows from Carmina Burana by Carl Orff . Also of interest is the instrumental, "Baroque Moderne" which ends out this monumental album. --TE
This original from Whitecross was a crucial advancement in Christian Metal. It came out relatively around the same time the original bride arrived and as Saint was beginning to wane (if memory serves). Here was another legitimate Metal band with decent lyrics on a Christian label. The floodgates began to open. Most notable, though, was the Ratt-like sound right down to the vocals. Listen to it today and it still sounds good. --TE.
Whitecross "Love On The Line" (3 Tracks. Pure Metal)
This little cassette was produced to hype up the up and coming album Hammer And Nail and featured the track "Love On The Line" which I don't think appears anywhere else. --TE.
Whitecross "Hammer And Nail" ( Tracks. . Pure Metal)
Whitecross "Triumphant Return" (10 Tracks. . Pure Metal)
Whitecross "In The Kingdom" (10 Tracks. . Starsong)
Whitecross "High Gear" (10 Tracks. . Starsong)
Whitecross "Unveiled" ( Tracks. . R.E.X.)
Whitecross "Equilibrium" ( Tracks. . )
Whitecross "Fly Trap"
White Metal Warriors "Last Ship Home" (Tracks. . White Metal)
This is an import disc featuring Christian Metal bands from England. The only notable ones were Detritus and my favorites, Seventh Angel. The two tracks from Seventh Angel are not available anywhere else to my knowledge and are worth the price of the disc alone. --TE
The biggest appeal of this band was the fact that they sounded just like AC/DC. The good part is that they were a good imitation, right down to the Brian Johnson vocals. --TE.
X-Sinner "[I forgot the title]" (10 Tracks. Packaderm)
This second and final album featured a new vocalist who sounded more like AC/DC's original vocalist Bonn Scott. That's about it. --TE.
Here's another release that proves that the music business is getting tired of grunge and nerd bands and other less technical forms of alterna-metal. Zaxas is a four man metal group from California with a sound like numerous hard rock/heavy metal bands of the 80's. I'm reminded of several power metal bands like Warrior (Fighting For The Earth), Loudness (Japanese group), and Accept (Germany). But don't let the retro aspect of this disc scare you. There's a good chance that if you like Deliverance's Camelot In Smithereens and the two releases from Precious Death, you'll like Zaxas too. Here's a few interesting details you should know about this disc. 1). It is produced by Jim Faraci. Jim produced several Tourniquet releases, Trouble's classic Run To The Light, as well as many well known secular bands (Cinderella, I think). 2). It is on Noise records, once the home of bands like Celtic Frost, Kreator, Mordred, etc. Unfortunately, Noise was a very troubled label and folded. 3). Despite #2 they've maintained a directly Christian front with their lyrics, titles, and notes. This is one of those "in your face, evangelistic" albums. --TE
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