Monday, May 07, 2018
THE SUBVERSIVE KIND
Christian metal band Deliverance released their self-titled debut album in 1989. It was followed by what many fans consider to be their best effort, WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE (1990). 3 of my favorite albums from the band are: WHAT A JOKE (1991), RIVER DISTURBANCE (1994), and CAMELOT IN SMITHEREENS (1995). In 2013 they put out HEAR WHAT I SAY!, which was said to be their swan song. Fast forward to 2018 and Deliverance has risen again, this time with THE SUBVERSIVE KIND (Roxx Productions). The group's roster this time around is: Jimmy P. Brown II (lead vocals and guitars), Jim Chaffin (drums), Glenn Rogers (guitars), and Victor Macias (bass). Chaffin was with The Crucified, Macias with Tourniquet, and Rogers was an original Deliverance member. The album was produced by Jimmy P. Brown and Jim Chaffin and executive produced by Bill Bafford. Jimmy P. Brown II has said that he wanted this album to sound like it was recorded in 1986 and and wanted it to kick the listener in the teeth! Dictionary.com defines 'subversive' as "tending or intending to subvert or overthrow, destroy, or undermine an established or existing system, especially a legally constituted government or set of beliefs".
1. Starting things off is the album's second single, 'Bring 'Em Down'. Brown calls this one "in your face". It offers a bleak commentary on society: "Superficial views of what my life's supposed to be/Abnorm is norm, we adopt a fractured reality/Shattered image, human frailty is wide awake/Polished gems, a golden hue of idols that we make.../Slavery prevails, the zombies walking tall, a game of give and take/Give and take!/Bring 'em down!" Greg Minier of The Crucified provides lead guitar solos.
2. Glenn Rogers provides great electric guitar solos on the epic thrash metal song 'Concept of the Other'. It speaks of how we label, fear, and hate people who are different from us in some way: "Prejudicial blinds, become the dark veil of truth/A guilty eye for an eye, a bloody tooth for tooth/Call attention to the differences in their belief/Selling God with different names, the educated thief/We've clearly drawn the line of who to justify to hate/Reasoning by law and love/The blindfolded one has sealed their fate".
3. The angry thrasher 'Center of it All' follows. It's directed at a very selfish person: "You really are the center of it all/The other names you can't recall/You really are the center of it all/The ditch is dug waiting for your fall.../I look at you and see myself, image of what I used to be/Don't get me wrong I'm not your judge/Just calling out what I see/If you heard half your BS, you might understand what I mean/The limpid, the crimped, the crawl to a slow insanity".
4. The album's first single, 'The Black Hand' is up next. It's a blistering thrash track with crazy good electric guitar work. It vividly describes a panic attack: "Gasping for air, heart rate rises/Impending doom awaits/No danger in sight, only feel fear/Neurosis waits for you to take the bait.../And when it comes in day or night/Your senses numbing rob you of sight/Fire and ice lost in a haze/The hand gripping you, mind in a maze".
5. Brown says 'Epilogue' is about being pigeon-holed in the Contemporary Christian Music industry. He admits he did it to himself when he signed with a Christian label, so he can't blame his fans. Here is how the song begins: "I've created my crucifixion, felt the affixiation, circled my own stage, incited the crowd's rage/Called out all my own crimes, defenses sublime/I struck the gavel down hard, followed the path of the bard". Notably, it is on this slower metal song that Brown plays his only lead guitar solo, and it's a good one.
6. 'Listen Closely' darn near gets evangelistic with these lyrics: "You've been suckered, you believed it all/A victim of the selling game!/There is hope, just believe The Truth/It's out there waiting, waiting for you/It's not impossible, it's not worse than that!/An answer lies in wait, just see!/It won't come easy, friend that much is fact/Seek and you will find, righteous path will be".
7. The thrash title track 'The Subversive Kind' is about agitating, causing a revolution, and bringing about change: "Insurrection, a call to the unrest/The revolt puts courage to the test/Retake, repossess powers that be/Harmless dove subdues so subtly". The melodic chorus states as follows: "But I'm not the subversive kind/I'll give you products of a disturbed mind/I'm not the subversive kind/Be careful of what is hidden behind".
8. Last up is the powerful anthem of encouragement 'The Fold' on which Minier and Rogers provide great guitar solos. It's about overcoming in life: "I won't let faith unravel, crushing down the gavel, awaiting arrival!/I won't give up, won't take the bait!/I'll see it through/Run the course, it's what's at stake!/Too easy to fold, easy to give in!/I'll not let them control me/Keep fighting for the win!/I won't fold!"
For those long-time Deliverance fans longing for a sequel to WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE, you get it here when it comes to the music and the vocals. This is a straight-up thrash record comprised of incredible musicianship. If you're into headbanging to songs of breakneck speeds crank this sucker up! Jimmy's vocals are partly sung, partly shouted, and partly spoken. The album has an intense, urgent, agitatated sound to it which means it won't be for everyone. As far as this being a sequel to WEAPONS lyrically-it simply isn't for the most part. On this newest project from the big 'D' you have to more read between the lines to hear any Christian themes. There are some good messages here, I just wouldn't call it a 'Christian metal' album. I am however rating it a perfect 100 % for what it is-thrash music that will make you think about what you're hearing Jimmy sing. Selfishly I do hope in the future Deliverance does a full out thrash album with blatant but not hateful Christian lyrics. At any rate, for more info visit www.roxxproductions.com, 3frogzstudio.com, and connect with the band and its members on facebook.