From The Midst Of The Battle
posted on 9/2008 By:
My relationship with Christian metal has been tenuous at best. The most enjoyable experience I ever had with the scene was with Ukrainian folk black metal band Holy Blood’s superb album Waves are Dancing, and that was pretty much the beginning and the end of it. My main issue with it is, well, Satan kind of already called dibs. Jesus must’ve been busy having some strong words with Judas or something, but the overlord of Hell handily beat him to the punch. Ever since King Diamond’s falsetto declaration of “I deny Jesus Chriiiiiist!” on the phenomenal Don’t Break the Oath, I’ve been very firmly in Satan’s camp. Attacking Satanism in metal is tantamount to saying there is something wrong with the aforementioned album, and that is not something to which I am particularly receptive. Yet despite my qualms, I'm willing to try anything, so here we have Deuteronomium, a band name as difficult for this heathen mouth to utter as, “God is my super extra awesome funtime pal.” Evidently, From the Midst of the Battle is the band’s third album, and their first full-length in nine years. As one might assume, when I signed up for a dash of Dooternomnom I was not aware that they (quoting from their Wikipedia page), “had a notable role in creating the Finnish Christian metal scene” almost a decade ago. Did they really? Do tell! I did always wonder who started that hugely popular brand of music. Sarcasm aside, all I knew was I had a Christian album with bad cover art to listen to, and, man, that didn’t bode well. After the cheesy gunfire opening of “Fields of War”, I was taken aback. Deuteronomium plays a thrash/death/black metal combination that is pretty damn enjoyable. The first three tracks, “Fields of War”, “3:16”, and “Defending the Faith” are very good. Their appeal is varied; “Fields” is a pretty standard death metal track with an interesting melody, and “3:16” is an effective use of black metal influences, while “Defending” is a rollicking, catchy traditional/thrash song. From there, however, things start to sour a little. “Song of the Saved” has boring riffs and an annoying shouted refrain, and “Lost Indeed” is largely unremarkable. “Hail to the King” is back up to par with the first three songs with its “Washington is Next!”-esque riffing, but the next two songs return to being either irritating or just plain decent.
The final song, "Tales from the Midst of the Battle", however, is awesome. It's over 17 minutes long, and the kantele makes a brief appearance. Hell yes. The gradual shifts in riffs and transitions from peaceful moments to the hard buzz of ass kicking are all there, just as you’d expect. The melodies, the female vocals that only make an appearance on this song, and best performance from all of the band members all come together in to make a song that blows away everything else on the album. When I walked away from From the Midst of the Battle, it was always “Tales from the Midst of Battle” that would stick in my head, including the angelic delivery of “He lives again… He lives again”.
Deuteronomium has its flaws, most of which rear their ugly heads when the band strays too far into thrash territory, but From the Midst of the Battle is a very solid, respectable output. Anyone whose favored weekend activity is devouring flesh of a messiah should drop whatever they’re doing right now and purchase the hell out of this album. Everyone else, on the other hand, can have the assurance that it’s a worthwhile listen, regardless of religious affiliation.
Register to post comments.