Deliverance’s website says the following: “From the mean streets of L.A. and the early thrash metal scene on the west coast, Deliverance, fronted by Jimmy P. Brown II, has been one of the most influential bands of the past two-and-a-half decades helping shape the early thrash and speed metal scene of the late 80’s and early 90’s.” In 1989 they released their self-titled debut. The next year brought us WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE. The title track was released as a video to MTV. The band’s third album WHAT A JOKE dropped in 1991. The line-up of the band at the time was: Jimmy P. Brown II (vocals, rhythm guitar, talk box), Mike Grato (bass guitar), Kevin Lee (drums), and George Ochoa (lead, rhythm, and acoustic guitars).
The album begins with this sarcastic comment: “Well, the label wants us to do another record, here we go.” ‘Prophet of Idiocy’ is a real thrash metal treat. It reminds us to ultimately put our trust in God, not spiritual leaders: “Who is man to formulate/The way God uses man?/They pervert the Word to indulge in their lusts/You fool, you’re being lied to/In the name of Christianity/Sixty six books tell it like it is/Not an act or liturgy.”
Urbandictionary.com defines pseudo-intellectuals as “people of average intelligence who are enchanted with high intellectual topics and discussions such as philosophy, socioeconomics, destiny of humanity, etc. Unlike a genuine academic, a pseudo-intellectual’s main reason for being interested in these topics is because it makes him feel intellectually superior to his peers.” ‘Pseudo Intellectual’ is the album’s longest track at 7:15. Musically it begins quietly, with soothing guitar work, but soon it really tears it up! These lyrics have a bite to them: “Blind leading the blind/Professors in our universities/Saying the Bible doesn’t compare/To scientific proof/I got news for you/The Bible is historic literature/Has survived the scrutiny/Of the likes of you/Beware/Pseudo intellectual/You walk in utter darkness/Pseudo intellectual/Professing to be wise, you’ve become a fool.” ‘Cheeseburger Maker Du’ is so short it’s hardly worth mentioning.
The title track, ‘What a Joke’ is one of the best Christian metal songs ever. It features heavy guitar work and lyrically unleashes some fire and brimstone: “Want to be intellects spew/’There is no God’/Proving themselves fools, liars, and frauds/Remnant prays this battle against evil/Against those who perceive they are right/They’ve not stolen, murdered, or destroyed/God must let them in!/What a joke/God will laugh at your calamity/What a joke/He will mock when your terror comes/What a joke/Despising knowledge, choosing not to fear/What a joke/Complacency of fools will destroy.” ‘Chipped Beef’ is, if you can believe it, a recipe read in a monotone manner, set to a heavy metal beat.
A song from Black Sabbath’s 1971 album MASTER OF REALITY is next. ‘After Forever’ has an evangelical message: “Have you ever thought about your soul/Can it be saved?/Or perhaps you think that when you’re dead/You just stay in your grave/Is God just a thought within your head/Or is He a part of you?/Is Christ just a name that you read in a book/When you were in school?.../Open your eyes just realize that He is the One/The only One who can save you now/From all this sin and hate.” ‘It’s the Beat’ includes angry guest vocals by Roger Martinez of Vengeance Rising. The song takes some jabs at critics of Christian metal: “It’s the beat/They say is satanic, ha, ha, ha/It’s the beat/That causes the flesh to give in/It’s the beat/You ignorant fool, study the first eight chapters of Romans…/Why don’t you just tell me what beat did Eve first sin to/And to which did Adam disobey?”
One could mosh to the next song, ‘A Product of Society’. It urges us to take full responsibility for our spiritual lives and not conform to the world: “I was born this way, can I change/Or will I remain a product of society?/Lust and power, insidious greed/A make up of what I am/I owe society for who I am/A selfish child in the form of a man…/Society’s sick, the one we’re in/Where doing the wrong is right/Pollution of the mind, it’s now time/Rise up against the filth/That’s being fed to you and me.” ‘Happy Star’ is the album’s shortest track, at four seconds! ‘J.P.D.’ is a short instrumental, while the only lyric to the next short song is “Pray”.
‘Silent Night’ finds Catherine Ochoa on harmony vocals. This version of the Christmas carol quickly becomes amped up, as if on steroids! Here are some of the familiar lullaby-like words: “Silent night, holy night/All is calm, all is bright/Round yon virgin, mother and child/Holy infant, so tender and mild/Sleep in heavenly peace (2X).” ‘J.I.G.’ has a prophetic message that is delivered with vigor: “King of Kings, I Am is He/He’s coming back to rule/This land with swift sword in hand/All the gods of gold and stone/Will all fall before Him/When they see His eyes of fire/Jesus is God.”
These words from the next song are definitely not Catholic friendly: “The doctrine of purgatory is bologna/Therefore I will have a purgatory sandwich with mustard.” ‘Attack’ ends the original 1991 version of WHAT A JOKE with a bang. It pointedly reminds us that we are involved in spiritual warfare daily: “Be ready for attack (2X)/Put on the whole armor of God/That you might stand the evil that’s to come/Soon you will grow weary of the fight/Trust God, hold to His hand tight.” The 2011 re-release of the album on Intense Millenium Records includes one bonus track, a somber sounding song called ‘Strings of Sorrow’. It includes these words: “Come for me, reach for me/Awake me from my coma/Where are you Christina, Christina?
Jimmy P. Brown II alternately speaks, shouts, and sings his vocals on this project. The lyrics are confrontational, in your face, and certainly not politically correct. Fans of Michael Peace and Steve Taylor will appreciate this type of Christian message delivery. I’m rating WHAT A JOKE 86%. For more info visit www.deliverancerocks.com and www.roxxproductions.com