The Infinite Order
posted on 2/2010 By:
One could argue that along with Believer and Mortification, Arkansas’ Living Sacrifice were one of the trailblazers of extreme Christian metal back in the late 80s and early 90s, paving the way for the current burgeoning Christian metal scene that now commonly dips into black and death metal. That being said the band had some ups and downs, some style changes and even called it quits after 2002's Conceived in Fire (which I never heard).
So after an eight year lay-off, Living Sacrifice are back to try and reclaim the Christian metal throne currently held by a number of pretenders that have simply jumped on the whatever-core bandwagon to get their message across. How do they fare? Surprisingly well. After their more thrash and death metal roots and subsequent flirting with Nu metal and hardcore/metalcore, the band has found a balance that fits in nicely with the modern American metal movement (Shadows Fall and Machine Head especially) and slots in between the commercial likes of Pillar and Demon Hunter and more extreme acts like Sleeping Giant, War of Ages, Becoming the Archetype and such. Funnily enough, I also hear a lot of Fear Factory in Living Sacrifice's newest reincarnation, mostly in the mechanical, crunchy riffs and production.
The end result is a pretty impressive sturdy metal/thrash album that has enough burly, chunky riffs and grooves to keep most metal heads happy without being too overtly Christian. The Andy Sneap mix makes all the instruments pop with a modern sheen, especially the aforementioned crunchy guitars and the songs themselves generally rumble with the gait of an idling diesel engine with the foot occasionally easing off (“Love Forgives”, “God Is My Home”) and stepping down (“Overkill Exposure”, “Organized Lie”) here and there, but without going into a full-on ballad or forced brutality. The 43-minute runtime is enjoyable if slightly missing truly standout moments or tracks. The vocals are a gruff, mid range, throaty shout, complementing the music well, and thankfully never delve into terrible crooning at all - often a pitfall of Christian metal. Also, The Showdown’s vocalist David Bunton (and plenty of other guests) helps out on a couple of tracks (“The Training”, “They Were One”). A nice melding of old school vs new school Christian metal.
The album closes with the lengthy “The Apostasy” which features some nice dramatic orchestration to start, and the track finishes the album with an apt epic climax that heralds a pretty solid reunion that might not be truly needed, but enjoyable nonetheless.
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