Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Bloodgood released their debut ep METAL MISSIONARIES in 1985.  The next year they put out their self-titled full length debut produced by Darrell Mansfield.  Michael Bloodgood says: “The idea for putting Bloodgood together came long before there was anything like Christian/White Metal.  It was born through prayer and a burden the Lord put on my heart.  At the time, there was no outreach of any kind for all the people into metal and headbangers simply wouldn’t listen to anything else...As the months went on, it became clear that the Lord wanted to use me to be a part of this new work”.  It has been 22 years since they released their swan song ALL STAND TOGETHER.  In 2010 they were inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame.  Now Bloodgood is back with DANGEROUSLY CLOSE (2013, B. Goode Records).  It is mastered by former group member David Zaffiro.  Today, Bloodgood is: Michael Bloodgood (bass/bgvs), Les Carlsen (lead vocals), Paul Jackson (guitar/bgvs), Oz Fox (guitar/backing vocals), and Kevin Whisler (drums).  Fox joined in 2007 and is also in Stryper.

The lead off single, written by Les Carlsen and Paul Jackson, is ‘Lamb of God’.  It is a memorable heavy metal number that declares who Jesus is and what He has accomplished: “On His knees He washed our feet/Poured His blood on the mercy seat/Told us to love one another/Lay down your life for your brother/Lamb of God/Born of a virgin/Water to wine/Taught in the temple/Healed the blind/Holy Spirit/Fruit of the vine/I am Yours/You are mine.../Lamb of God”.  ‘Run Away’ is a catchy rocker.  It is the familiar story of a man who finds himself being seduced by a dangerous woman: “I shouldn’t be here/Oh God, help me/Give me the strength to leave this place/What was I thinking?/I know this is wrong/Run away (from the spider’s web)/Run away (you soon will be dead)/Run away (the wise men said)/Run away and hide/Run away (from where she lays)/Run away (she’s an open grave)/Run away (the wise men say)/Run away, run away and hide/Run away!”

‘Child on Earth’ features a great electric guitar solo by Oz Fox and is prophetic in nature: “The fall of man/You’ll overcome/To earth Your Son You’ll send/And He will be/The Lamb of God/And wash away our sins/Virgin birth, Child on earth...Amen/Crucify, pierced His side...Amen”.  ‘I Will’ is an artistic rocker.  It is also a song of testimony: “Oh, You’ve rescued me/Gave me eyes to see/Oh, Your love for me is guiding my life/Oh, You shower me with pure ecstasy/All the plans for me are shining so bright/I will, I will, I will/Sing for Your glory and I wanna fly on the wings of Your love”.

‘Bread Alone’ is a tasty heavy metal treat.  It warns us that material things can’t complete us or meet our deepest needs: “You know the world will tell you, ‘Satisfy yourself/The most important thing is you and no one else’/And everything you own and all that you consume/Will not be able to keep you from the tomb/I want to testify and need to tell the truth/And as the years go by, I’m further from my youth/And that’s just fine with me/These lines are living proof/We don’t live by bread alone!”  ‘Pray’ speaks of the importance of conversing with our Maker: “When you awake your day begins/Speak to God, confess your sins/Call to mind the ones you love/Lift your enemies up above/Bring to Him the world today and pray/Pray, pray, pray, pray!/Call for those who need some peace/They hurt so bad and seek release/And so you bow and make request/For those so tired in need of rest”.

‘I Can Hold On’ finds Eric Robert on the Hammond organ.  It is a ballad about spiritual determination: “I can hold on and stay the road You put me on/My life, Your love, this is right where I belong/And I surrender the guilty memories/It doesn’t matter what I’ve done before/From the moment I saw Your face/My wasted past is not welcome anymore/I’ll never stop fightin’/Never stop trying, never denyin’/Never stop fightin’/Never stop trying, never denyin’/’Til the day I die”.  ‘Run the Race’ is a hard rocker with a punch, that encourages us to pursue intimacy with God: “Lose your life/Find yourself/Stay the course/Run the race that He has given you/Go!/To the Word of God where you find the source/It’s His written voice, yeah/In the quiet place/A still small voice/Just you and God, yeah”.

‘Father Father’ is a dare I say, pretty ballad, that starts with these words written from the perspective of Jesus: “I’m hanging on a tree ‘cause I love you/Walking on the sea, ‘cause I can/I’m coming to visit, I’m not going to stay/I’ll be out of here in just a few days/Now my arms are wide open to embrace/The pain that I have is raw and real/But the joy!/Outweighs the disgrace/Father, Father, you know how I feel”.  ‘Man in the Middle’ is a guitar driven rocker that is one of the strongest songs on the album.  Lyrically, it will please those who like clear songs about the atonement: “Via De La Rosa, the road to the cross/The Lamb of God redeeming the lost/Carry the load and the disgrace/Willing to be there in my place.../Torn in the flesh/Ripped open skin/Never cried out, never gave in/Determined to die and go to the grave/This act of love, so all might be saved”.

‘Crush Me’ is a cry for God to bring us under His full control: “My lips say I adore You/But my heart is so wild/Love me, find me/Break me, crush me/Fix me and give me life again/Love me, find me, break me/Crush me, fix me/And give me life again”.  The closing song ‘In The Trenches’ was penned by Les and Michael and uses vocal distortion.  It is a song of spiritual encouragement: “Don’t be a dead man walking/Faith untested is no faith at all/Nothing grows in the mountain tops, but in the trenches!/If you believe, don’t be afraid/If you believe, fall on your knees/If you believe, then you’ll be saved/If you believe!”

DANGEROUSLY CLOSE finds Bloodgood in fine form.  If you are an old school metal fan who appreciates meaty guitar work, distinct vocals, and straight forward evangelical lyrics, this one is for you!  I recommend it to fans of Stryper and Whitecross and am rating it 88%.  For more info visit: www.bloodgoodband.com.


Thursday, December 12, 2013


I would like to begin by extending my deepest sympathies to Angela, Timaya, Kyla, Trinity, Josiah and Winter.  Also to Sam's mother Fay, brother Gord, and all of Sam's other close relatives and friends.

When I first met Sam Losey, I was a student at Emmanuel Bible College in Kitchener, Ontario in the mid 1990's.  I remember him wearing a red and black lumberjack shirt.  Upon getting to know him, it quickly became apparent he was not a city boy!  He was simple, unsophisticated, and did not try to impress people by being something he was not.

Over the next several years, Sam and I truly became best friends.  In our case, the saying 'A true friend sticks closer than a brother' was true.  While on dorm Sam and I became each other's confidants and accountability partners.  We told each other EVERYTHING about each other's lives.  We supported each other through many family and relationship realtionship issues.  As most of you know, Sam had the much too rare ability to listen without judging.  If I had messed it up royally in my spiritual life, I knew I could go to him, anytime day or night and talk and pray it out with him.  He and i saw the potential in each other and who we could be in Christ if we kept pressing on.

It was not unusual for Sam and I to get involved in lively discussions about theological matters such as the 'once saved always saved theory'.  We would also spend crazy amounts of time voicing our opinions on how Bible colleges and churches should properly be administrated.

Of course, not all of our time was spent in the spiritual realm.  I remember spending many a Saturday in his dorm room hanging out and watching shows like Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess.  Also, he and I, and several other Bible college buddies would grab our Sunday noon lunch trays from the campus cafeteria and religiously go back to dorm together to watch WWF pro-wrestling and all the circus that is is.  We had a lot of good laughs.  Sam also was an avid player of foosball in the rec room at college, as our dear friend Grant Waters who is here today, could attest to.  Sam did have a competitive side, but never in a mean way.

Sam had the patience of Job.  On our dorm we had a fellow who never went to class and just wandered around and played video games.  Many of us found him irritating.  I think Sam did too, but Sam poured his life into this other guy's and spent many hours hanging out with him, making him feel wanted.  Sam had a heart for mission work and seeing people come to Christ.  It was he and Ang's dream to start a ranch for troubled kids.  We can only speculate now what a blessing that ministry would have been.

I am sure we will all miss Sam's smile and laughter and love of life.  People were naturally drawn to Sam.  I remember one of our close Korean friends had a habit of sitting down by Sam and literally caressing Sam's hairy arm.  Most guys would have been spooked by this, but Sam took it all in stride.

After our life on dorm together, Sam and I moved into a fourteenth floor apartment behind Fairview Mall in Kitchener with two of our close friends Shawn and Steve.  One of my best memories from this time is Sam and Shawn arguing over whether Garth Brooks was a Christian or not.  I'm not sure who won...Of interest, Sam from the country, who listened to the likes of Randy Travis and Billy Ray Cyrus, actually had a couple of hard rock tracks by Gun 'N' Roses in his music collection which I found interesting.

Sam's time at Bible college ended before mine.  I remember balling my eyes out and asking him how we would manage being so far apart from each other and not seeing each other every day.  He simply told me that God would take care of both of us and just because we didn't see each other that much didn't mean we weren't still close friends.

As the years passed on, it seemed everytime he would call, he and Ang were expecting another child.  I would ask him how they could handle so many kids.  He admitted it took a lot of energy, but he and Angela worked superbly as a team.

I would like to say a few words about Angela.  Sam was head over heels for you.  He loved you with all of his heart.  You truly were the missing piece of his puzzle.  He spoke only good about you and the two of you wre an incredible team.  Though Sam is gone from this earth, I am sure He will be cheering you on from above.  You can see him in the eyes of your five children.  If Sam were here, he would say: "It's going to be okay.  God is in control.  God loves you.  Go forward and make a difference in this life for Christ".  Rely on God and your family, friends, and church for support.  Ang, you are welcome at our house anytime.

To Sam's five wonderful kids: Daddy loves you very much.  He just has to do it from heaven now.  He will always be with you in your hearts.  I am sure you will laugh a lot about how funny your daddy was.  Your Daddy would say: "Always love Jesus. God is listening when you pray.  Help your mommy with the chores".

Fay and Gord, I learned a lot about your family from Sam.  I can truly say he loved you guys so very much.  You were always on his mind.  As you grieve, may you be flooded with many great memories of your son and brother.  Also, feel free to visit me or stay in contact online.  Sam would want you both to stay close to God.  God does not expect us to be perfect but wants us to stay close to Him and serve Him.

Sam knew well, even back in college, he did not know how long his days on earth would be, due to his health problems.  Nonetheless, he lived life with abandon and to the fullest and did not dwell on future complications.

When I heard that Sam had passed away, I felt a piece of me had died.  So many of my secrets and struggles are "buried" in a sense, with Sam.  I will never be the same again and I am sure many of you here could say that.

In closing, I want to relate something I hope with comfort Sam's family.  A week or two before Sam's death, when I would call my dad, he would play me a song over the phone from his CD player before we'd start to talk.  Well, the night I called Dad to tell him that Sam had died, wouldn't you know it, the song Dad played me was 'Far Side Banks of Jordan'.  I said to Dad: "You won't believe how appropriate that song is" and then I told him the news.  I would like to close with a few of the lyrics from that song: "If it proves to be His will that I am first to go/And somehow I've got a feeling it will be/When it comes your time to travel likewise don't feel lost/For I will be the first one that you'll see/And I'll be waiting on the far side banks of Jordan/I'll be waiting drawing pictures in the sand/And when I see you coming I will rise up with a shout/And come running through the shallow waters reaching for your hand".

Those who know Christ will see Sam again and when  we do, he will have a new and glorious body.  We love you Sam and God bless!

Friday, December 06, 2013


The genesis of Third Day can be traced to Marietta, Georgia.  In 1996 they released their successful self-titled, debut album.  In 2009 they were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.  MIRACLE is their 12th album.  It was released in 2012 on Essential Records and sold 29,000 copies in the first week.  On this project Third Day is: Tai Anderson (bass), David Carr (drums), Mark Lee (guitars), and Mac Powell (vocals).  MIRACLE was produced by Brendan O’Brien who has worked with the likes of Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, and Bruce Springsteen.  O’Brien also plays B3 organ, piano, keyboards, percussion, and parlor guitar on the album.  Most importantly he provides a lot of great backing vocals.  He is quoted as saying: “When I hear this music…it’s very inviting.  It brings people in.  It’s saying ‘Come along and hear what we have to say’.  It really moves me.  I really appreciate the hard work these guys have done”.  Longtime touring band member of Third Day, Scotty Wilbanks, plays piano, B3 organ, CP70, and mellotron on MIRACLE.


The album opener ‘Hit me like a Bomb’ is a pounding rock song that speaks dramatically of how God can take a person’s life by storm: “Hear the sound of the sirens ringing/See the world of a life that’s changing/Well, You hit me like a bomb/I was scared and I started running/Can’t say I never saw it coming/When You hit me like a bomb”.  ‘Kicking and Screaming’ is a pop song about a person who is totally committed to another: “What if I told you that I love you?/What if I showed you just how much?/I would do anything to hold you/Give everything to prove my love/Yeah, yeah, no one can keep me from your side/Yeah, yeah, but if they ever even try/They’d have to drag me away/Kicking and screaming”.


The next song ‘Your Love is Like a River’ is pretty and contains these poetic lyrics of testimony: “When I am tired and so afraid/Your love is like a fire that will light my way/When darkness falls and my vision fades/Your love is like a fire that will light my way/And it’s always burning and stirring my soul/To know You and love You much more/It never stops or ever fades/Your love is like a fire that will light my way”.  ‘I Need a Miracle’ is the awesome lead single and one of the best CCM songs in recent memory.  It confirms that God is the One most folks cry out to when at the end of their rope: “Well, no matter who you are/And no matter what you’ve done/There will come a time/When you can’t make it on your own/And in your hour of desperation/Know you’re not the only one/Prayin’ ‘Lord above, I need a miracle/I need a miracle’”.


‘You are my Everything’ features beautiful instrumentation and could be addressed to God or a human love interest: “Well, I’ve been in love before/But it’s never felt like this/When you’re knocking at my door/How can I resist?/And I’ll give you all I have/And I hope that you believe/I’d do anything you want in this world/Just to have you here with me/You are my everything”.  ‘For the rest of my Life’ finds Mac Powell practising his falsetto.  This song is a declaration of love for and dependence on God: “You rescued me from the darkness/I feel the warmth and the light/Somehow You’ve pulled me out of/A sea of pain and doubt/I’m never gonna go that way again/For the rest of my life/Will You be by my side?/I can’t make it by myself/I want You and no one else/For the rest of my life”.


‘I Want to Believe in You’ is an energetic number that finds the band pouring out their hearts: “I want to believe in faith and hope and life and dreams/Grace and love and all those things/Most of all, I want to believe in You/I want to believe in peace and freedom for all man/Redemption and a second chance/Most of all I want to believe in You/I want to believe in You”.  ‘The Victory’ is a gritty rock song of bold determination, that many of us will be able to relate to: “I’ve been fighting like a soldier/From the day that I was born/Trying to make it through the hard times/Of this cruel world/But I’m keeping my head up/Even if I am alone/And I’ll be fighting till/The good Lord takes me home”.


‘Take me Back’ again includes very relatable lyrics: “I wonder if I’ve gone too far/Lord, please help me get back home/Where I belong”.  These words from ‘Forever Yours’ seem to be spoken by one awaiting the day they will be reunited with their spouse in heaven: “When it’s time to leave this world/And reach the other side/I’ll wait for you upon that distant shore/For I have made a promise/And I hope you won’t forget/I will always remain forever yours/Somewhere far beyond this place/And in another time/I know we’ll be together once again/For I have made a promise/And I hope you won’t forget/I will always remain forever yours/Forever yours”.


‘Time’s Running Out On Me’ is a cool rock song that includes good guitar work and finds the band grappling with their mortality: “There’s so many places I wanna see/So many things that I wanna be/But time’s running out on me/There’s so many places I gotta go/So many things that I need to know/But time’s running out on me/Time’s running out on me”.  The last song ‘Morning Has Broken’ is skillfully performed and its lyrics were penned by Eleanor Farjeon in 1931.  This song ends MIRACLE on a cheerful note: “Mine is the sunlight/Mine is the morning/Born of the one light/Eden saw play/Praise with elation/Praise every morning/God’s recreation/Of the new day”.


In the liner notes Third Day write: “All glory to God for His mercy, provision, and grace”.  Drummer David Carr says: “If there is any overarching theme on the record, it’s about pressing on and holding onto faith in the midst of doubt”.  MIRACLE proves that Third Day is one of the best and tightest bands in CCM.  The musicianship and vocals are top notch and their lyrics are relevant to today’s society.  My only beef is that there are not enough all out rockers on the album.  I’m rating MIRACLE 87%.  For more info visit: www.thirdday.com and www.providentpress.com.