Jimmy P. Brown II founded Deliverance as a speed metal band in 1985. They released their self-titled album in 1989. In 1990 they released WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE. The video for the decidedly Christian title track received airplay on MTV. Deliverance’s fourth album STAY OF EXECUTION leaned more towards progressive metal. Later, the band would venture into electronic and industrial territory as well. Jimmy P. Brown II is now 44. He cites Iron Maiden, Queensryche, and David Bowie as vocal inspirations. In December of 2013 Deliverance released what is said to be their final album. HEAR WHAT I SAY! came out on 3 Frogz Records and Roxx Records Brown performs all the vocals and rhythm guitar, Michael Phillips of Join the Dead plays lead guitar, Manny Morales plays the 5 string bass, and Jayson Sherlock of Mortification plays drums and percussion. Brown cites these words of Jesus as being of great import to him: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind” and “Your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
This final and tenth studio album from Deliverance opens with a short, quiet instrumental called ‘Liber111’. It is performed and arranged by Olaf Lieb. Next up is ‘The Annals of Subterfuge’ which could be translated ‘The Historical Record of Deception’. Brown and Phillips wrote the music, while Brown alone wrote the lyrics. Musically the song is thrash metal. Lyrically, it expresses discontent with the abuses of religion: “Lies-spewing out in fury, seeking out the weak/Bold-authoritative stance, disguised as the meek/Made-to feel less than human, abnormal tendencies/Forced to surrender life’s will, a lived expectancy/Kraft (strength)-gehorsam (obediently)/Will we live our lives plagued in guilt?/Or will we live on freedom promised?/Laws of stone or felt from the heart”.
The third track is ‘Angst’ which is fear or anxiety. This is one of the heaviest songs musically that Deliverance has recorded in some time. It is the song of one who is disheartened with how things are: “Frustrated, perplexed, at the current world view/Maligned, upset, as the straight becomes askew/Knowledge so vast, yet we dive deeper still/Into the murk, and we’ve become the mentally ill/OCD¸ADHD quickly has become the norm/Independent thought, so swiftly to conform/Escape the real, dive into fantasy/To live with eyes closed, unfurled heresy/Worlds apart, or are you just like me?/Contempt for all, to be or not be/Or is there hope?/Will we find a cure?/Paths aligned, trails beyond the blur”.
‘Hope Lies Beyond’ was penned by Rick Mester and originally performed by Sombrance. This one is an experimental progressive metal song with Brown singing in his lower register. It has more tranquil, peaceful lyrics: “My eyes roll back, and I see You!/You bring me back where I am stillborn/Just let me supernova, admire me for a moment/A thousand eyes they’re on me, they flicker in the night/And I become as they”. Brown plays keyboards. ‘Detox’ is a pop-metal track with an opening guitar solo by Brown. A detox involves getting rid of poisonous substances in the body. Here are some of the words to the song: “Only so much one can take of mundane living/How much can one make without a thought of giving?/The picture is getting clear, but the air is still so thick/I can no longer shed a tear, it’s all making me sick!/I need to detox!/Unlearn the old way!/I need to detox!/Hear what I say!”
Brown says that the next song ‘Nude’ embodies where he is at spiritually and mentally with the whole concept of religion and God and our personal relationships with God. This terrific melodic metal song is about spiritual growth and dying to self: “There has to be some way to crawl away from the mundane/To start again, be born again/And dare to live without compromise or conform.../Fly into the center of the Universe/And find the meaning behind your ‘self’/Watch it die, then watch it reborn/Stumble on this darkened path/The answers are there, reach in and see/Death is not the end, but a start/A chance/To live as if you were nude/Nothing to hide/Only as nude”.
‘Passing’ begins by reflecting on our mortality: “I’m tired of hearing and seeing death counts/The passing of another friend/The clock is ticking, the pendulum swinging/Worried hearts wonder for their end/They’re running to Doctors or the Medicine Men/Looking for the wonder cure``. The song also talks of how we can easily turn into the living dead nowadays: “We hide from families, the neighbors and pets/And make friends with the computer/We Twit and Facebook our lives on a screen/Past friends and memories relived/I would hate to come to the end of my life/And realize I had not lived”. Michael Phillips wrote ‘A Perfect Sky’ himself and plays all acoustic guitars and solos on it. It is a pensive ballad: “Drifting, a thousand thoughts begin to cross my mind/The door keeps getting farther back behind/Stories and memories, a strong urge to obey/A call to act, a call to pray.../Caught up inside a peaceful bliss, a taste of Heaven upon my lips/Beauty abounding, tranquil feelings I surmise/Hoping I will not open my eyes”.
‘Where Eagles Dare’ is an Iron Maiden cover. It was the opening track on their 1983 PIECE OF MIND album. Brown says he enlisted the help of Ken Tamplin’s vocal academy so he could hit the high notes. This pounding heavy metal number is over six minutes long. It is set in World War 2: “It’s snowing outside, the rumbling sound/Of engines roar in the night/The mission is clear, the confident men/Are waiting to drop from the sky/The blizzard goes on but still they must fly/No one should go where eagles dare/Bavarian alps that lay all around/They seem to stare from below/The enemy lines a long time passed/Are lying deep in the snow/Into the night they fall through the sky/No one should fly where eagles dare”. Last up is a German language version of ‘Detox’ called ‘Entgiftung’. Brown has ancestry in Germany and lower Bavaria and has a lot of German fans.
2013 really was a stellar year for Christian metal fans with new albums from Stryper, Bloodgood, and Deliverance. HEAR WHAT I SAY! is a standout album! Deliverance has finished off at the top of their game! In the CD booklet Brown thanks Rabbi Ahyh and The Church of YHWH “for always challenging and helping me find the light switch!” In a recent interview with ‘Beyond the Riff’ Brown revealed that there are a few songs that did not get finished on time for this last album and that they will see the light of day. Also, he is working on new Jupiter VI material. I’m rating HEAR WHAT I SAY! 95%. For more info visit: www.deliverancerocks.com, www.3frogzstudio.com, and www.roxxproductions.com.