Uncle NecRo’s TOP 100 CHRISTIAN ALBUMS FROM THE 1990s, Part 4: 40-21

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Hey hey, it’s Part 4 of this list! Hope I’m not giving anyone any antacid flasbacks with this. Anyway, here’s the next 20 in the list:

stavesacre-friction40 – Friction (Stavesacre)
…I remember someone from the church I was attending at the time giving me this CD, stating that it wasn’t Christian enough for him. So, it was good enough for me, is what you’re saying?

mortal-lusis39 – Lusis (Mortal)
…I remember having a friend in college play me this album, and then telling me to close my mouth as I was attracting flies. Behold my first taste of industrial music.

zao-all-else-failed38 – All Else Failed [1996 Steadfast version] (Zao)
…yes, I happen to be one of those people who prefer the pre-Solid State Zao release to their later output. This just seems more raw, more ferocious.

deliverance-learn37 – Learn (Deliverance)
…dark, introspective, and given to fits of artistic brilliance. That album cover, though. Needs to be re-released with artwork befitting the music.

mortal-fathom36 – Fathom (Mortal)
…while Lusis was groundbreaking, this second release of theirs was darker, heavier and much more diverse. The video to “Rift” still haunts me.

living-sacrifice-living-sacrifice35 – Living Sacrifice (Living Sacrifice)
…Deliverance may have been the Metallica rip-off, but the first release by Living Sacrifice was definitely the Slayer rip-off we all needed.

vengeance-rising-released-upon-the-earth34 – Released Upon The Earth (Vengeance Rising)
…it may have been made under very tumultuous circumstances, but this one is still a pretty good thrash/death release. Upon the Earth. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

klank-1999-numb33 – Numb (Klank)
…I know what you’re thinking. “Hey, this was released in 2000! This doesn’t count!” And you’d be right…for the re-release on some label that stiffed him and thus shall not be named. My copy was the 1999 version on Klank’s own SmokeDogg Productions, purchased at the band’s merch table at Cornerstone 1999. Hah.

mortification-post-momentary-affliction32 – Post Momentary Affliction (Mortification)
…my third-favorite Mortification album, a bit more progressive death metal style. And the last death metal album Mortification would release.

tourniquet-stop-the-bleeding31 – Stop The Bleeding (Tourniquet)
…blistering speed metal with a vocalist that could give King Diamond a run for his money. Mmmmm.

crimson-thorn-dissection30 – Dissection (Crimson Thorn)
…thick, heavy, innards-congealing DEATH METAL. That’s all you need to know. That, and their cover of Stryper’s “Loud N’ Clear”. It’s awesome.

living-sacrifice-inhabit29 – Inhabit (Living Sacrifice)
…third release from Living Sacrifice, and it’s a nice blend of thrash and death metal. The only complaint I have is that it’s too short, really. Also, the last to feature DJ on the vocals, and a switch to a Sepultura-inspired metalcore sound.

deliverance-stay-of-execution28 – Stay Of Execution (Deliverance)
…I remember getting this when it was first released in the late summer of 1992; I listened to the cassette so many times, it wore out within the year. Sure, it wasn’t speed metal; it was fantastic dark heavy metal.

argyle-park-misguided27 – Misguided (Argyle Park)
…another one I got from that guy who gave me the aforementioned Stavesacre CD, for the same reason. His loss. Sometimes knowing that one holier-than-thou person pays off.

tourniquet-psycho-surgery26 – Psycho Surgery (Tourniquet)
…many consider this release to be the bestest Tourniquet release, like, evah. They are wrong. But, it’s still a really good collection of technical thrash metal. Second best, easily.

bride-snakes-in-the-playground25 – Snakes In The Playground (Bride)
…my first introduction to the band that is Bride, and it was this particular one that took the gritty heaviness of Gn’R’s Appetite For Destruction and gave it a nice Southern glaze.

the-pillars-of-humanity24 – The Pillars Of Humanity (The Crucified)
…crossover thrash classic. Recently remastered and re-released with much better album artwork.

believer-sanity-obscure23 – Sanity Obscure (Believer)
…complex technical thrash metal that still rips it up after all this time.

vengeance-rising-once-dead22 – Once Dead (Vengeance Rising)
…quite a bit more honed than the debut, but still some tasty raw thrash metal here. Great cover of Deep Purple’s “Space Truckin'”, too.

deliverance-weapons-of-our-warfare21 – Weapons Of Our Warfare (Deliverance)
…this is the one everybody says is the ultimate classic Deliverance release. I disagree with it being the best of their releases, but it is a fantastic speed metal album.

::END TRANSMISSION::

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Music Review: DELIVERANCE – Deliverance (Reissue)

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Deliverance 2008
DELIVERANCE
Deliverance (Reissue)
Retroactive Records
2008

At this point, I shouldn’t have to explain who Deliverance is, or why they feature so prominently in my daily playlist, the soundtrack to my daily life. But, in the off-chance that this would be the first Deliverance review you’re reading that was written by your Uncle NecRo, let me give you the Reader’s Digest condensed version: Deliverance is a legendary METAL band whose first three albums all but shaped the state of Christian METAL back when all we had was Stryper representing. I may be engaging in a bit of hyperbole, but when it came to providing METAL that didn’t suck, Deliverance helped forge that route back in the day.

The self-titled debut album was originally released in 1989, on the Intense Records label, and like everything else on that legendary label, went out-of-print and hard to find when it went belly up in the mid-1990s. Then, in the mid-to-later Aughts, the rights to the album were picked up by a label specializing in re-releasing classic out-of-print albums called Retroactive Records, and was given the proper spit-n-polish re-release it needed. Forget about that lousy KMG low-budget re-release that tried to cram the first two releases together on one disc, omitting a couple of tracks to do so. This is the re-release to get.

First off, the cover art manages to retain the spirit of the original cover while enhancing things with its minimal-yet-effective look. I rather like it. Inside of this here booklet exist band photos, lyrics, and additional liner notes, as well as a bit of a write-up within the tray art by Ultimatum vocalist and fellow METAL fan-boy Scott Waters. He keeps popping up in the oddest of places. Anyway, as far as the music goes…they did the remastering right this time. Wow, does the METAL pop here. The highs are crisp, the lows have depth, and the songs are given new life because of it. Great job with that. As a bonus, the songs “A Space Called You” and “Attack”, both from the 1987 California Metal compilation are included, both of which are a good glimpse into their past as up-and-comers. Although, I do think “Attack” fits better with the rest of the album over more melodic “A Space Called You” any day.

Bottom line: If you happened to have missed out on the original release of Deliverance the album, and due to the Thrash Revival have been wanting to check it out, I would say try and locate a copy of this re-release. The remastering really brings new life into an old favorite, as I’ve mentioned. The original 1989 mastering is available for download on Amazon and Google Play, but if you’re an audiophile, you’re not going to be completely happy with that. And if you already have the original release, and have been on the fence about obtaining this re-release, I would say it would be well worth the investment, for the same reasons I mentioned above.

Music Review: POSSESSION – The Unnameable Suffering

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possession - the unnameable suffering
POSSESSION
The Unnameable Suffering
Metal Merchant
1995

Back when I bought this CD, I had to decide between this and their full-length. I bought ‘The Unnameable Suffering’ to sample, with the option to buy the full-length later. I listened, I wet myself, I rushed back to the store to pick up the full-length, only to find that SOMEONE BOUGHT IT BEFORE ME! YAAAAAARRRRGGHHHH!! NECRO SMASH!!!!!!!

Okay, okay, after a few cleansing breaths and “putting it in the Happy Box”, ‘The Unnameable Suffering’ is a nice one-two-three punch of blackened thrash metal in the raw, in the vein of Venom and King Diamond. “Seer’s Vision” is easily my favorite cut here, a great Revelation tune buffeted by thrash hooks and the most gnarly schizo vocals I’ve ever heard. “Sounds Of Sorrow” is the rough cut of the song that appeared on ‘Eternally Haunt’. “Have No Fear” gives something of a disturbing slant on the whole spiritual warfare thing. Way cool.

Music Review: POSSESSION – Scourge And Fire

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possession - scourge and fire
POSSESSION
Scourge And Fire
Independent
1997

From what I understand, this is the last actual recording of the band before calling it quits. Pity. Pretty good thrash metal. I should note that ‘Scourge And Fire’ isn’t the official name of the recording; it’s the first song on the disc, and I’ve heard others refer to the mini-CD as such, so I do so now. I say “mini-CD” because that’s what it is- a CD that’s roughly half the size of a regular CD.
‘Scourge And Fire’ is a three-song recording that the band sent out to those who ordered the ‘Eternally Haunt’ CD directly from the band. It has a picture of a lion grasping an upside-down cross in its jaws, in case anyone’s trying to find this (good luck). Two original songs, “Scourge And Fire” and “Dance Macabre” are of the typical Possession caliber- fast, intense thrash with blackened vocals. The one entitled “Bonus Track” is in actuality a cover of a King Diamond song. Don’t ask me which one; they didn’t write down the name on the cardboard sleeve it came in, and since I never really got into King Diamond, I wouldn’t know off hand. Anyway, for those seeking to make their Possession collection complete, this is the missing one. Now you know it’s out there. Good hunting.

Music Review: POSSESSION – Eternally Haunt

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possession - eternally haunt
POSSESSION
Eternally Haunt
Metal Merchant
1996

This is one of my favorite metal CDs. Released in 1996, ‘Eternally Haunt’ is an interesting amalgam of metal styles: traditional thrash, death metal, elements of black metal, and a touch of hair metal round out the sound. The vocals are equally interesting, going from death metal growls to hair metal shrieks in about 0.4 seconds (I got the same effect when a couch was dropped on my foot). . .

Admittedly, I had a few questions, as well as doubts, about Possession at first, especially with the use of an upside-down cross in the second “O” in the logo. After reading several interviews with the band, though, any doubt about them or their intentions were put to rest. (not to go into detail here, but do get a chance to read the “Satanism- Pure Lies” article elsewhere on this site)

‘Eternally Haunt’ starts off with a sound clip from the Toronto Blessing, titled “Opening A Doorway Into The Occult”, then rips systematically into “Beyond The Grave”. Personal faves from here include “Beyond The Grave”, “Sounds Of Sorrow”, “Legion”, “Shades Of Death”, “Possessed” and “Rebirth”. This is definitely for fans of Venom, Slayer and Vengeance Rising. . .

Music Review: LIVING SACRIFICE – Living Sacrifice

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Living Sacrifice - Living Sacrifice
LIVING SACRIFICE
Living Sacrifice
R. E. X. / Solid State
1991 / 1999

Straight-up thrash. Another CD that receives massive amounts of playtime in my player. Most who know Living Sacrifice only through ‘Reborn’ may not get into their debut release much, but for those longing for more speed and thrash-oriented metal in the vein of classic Slayer and ‘Kill ‘Em All’-era Metallica, ‘Living Sacrifice’ is something you don’t want to pass up. And, thanks to Solid State Records, it’s possible to check this (what many feel to be a) classic out again. Don’t pass this up.

The vocals are growly, yet discernible. The lyrics are, for the most, technical yet easy to figure out. This is one of the CDs that I play around my black metal satanist friends, and it always gets the “horned fist salute of approval” from them. If they are into reading the lyrics, it’s a great discussion starter as well. Very good evangelical tool. That, and the album always leaves me with a warm, fuzzy feeling not too many Christian metal bands do.

Music Review: JESUS FREAKS – Socially Unacceptable

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JESUS FREAKS - Socially Unacceptable
JESUS FREAKS
Socially Unacceptable
Narrowpath
1993

For a while there, it was a complete obsession of mine (and countless others, I’m certain)- find a Christian thrash band that sounds as close to Metallica as possible. While not exactly of the mindset that Christians shouldn’t listen to secular music whatsoever (been there, done that, got over my self-righteousness), I did find a couple that came darn close to emulating the mainstream metal band I loved so much…before they released Load and started suing their own fan base, that is.

Jesus Freaks, I should point out, had that name long before DC Talks-Too-Much decided to co-opt it as a title of one of their own albums. Thanks to them, I couldn’t even mention the band without having some CCM freak proclaim giddily “Ooooooh, I looooooove DC Talk!” You could imagine how dangerously close they came to physical pain. Anyway, for a while there, Jesus Freaks did sound uncannily close to Ride The Lightning-era Metallica. Their 1993 EP, Socially Unacceptable, is a six-song helping of blistering thrash metal, lightning fast and heavy. As with a name like Jesus Freaks, there comes a level of expectation for the lyrics. They are for the most part very strongly and blatantly Christian, with the exception of “D. U. I.”, which recounts the tale of a drunk driving accident. The lyrics on all are a bit cheesy, but it’s metal. What did you expect, really?

Pity they only released one CD (and an EP, for that matter) before they reverted to more of a down-tuned “alterna-metal” sound on their follow-up full length. I would have gone for more thrash, but oh well…

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