While releasing the More Love More Power fundraiser ep for the Skip Brooks family, Thumper Punk Records found a previously unreleased collection of tracks from All Hail the King, the worship band from Rise Above Ministries where Skip Brooks was pastor. Much like More Love More Power, this collection of songs showcases the band’s ability to reinterpret classic songs through a rock lens in a way that doesn’t seem contrived or take anything away from the original songs.
Pastor Skip Brooks passed away on November 25, 2018 following a battle with cancer, a loss felt by many within the Christian punk scene as it is. I can still remember the first time I heard one of Skip’s bands, Our Corpse Destroyed, roaring through Black Flag’s “Rise Above”. Being a Black Flag fan since high school in the late 80’s, the opening bars of the song instantly grabbed my attention. As I followed the song and wandered into the sweaty, steamy tent at Cornerstone Festival, I was blown away with the whole scene, from the spot on performance, to the intensity that poured from the stage. I was hooked and just to make sure I wasn’t hearing things, I dragged others to their other sets and they were similarly blown away. To this day, my OCD albums are among my favorites as there’s no getting past that incredible punk rock guitar tone and lyrics that really hit home. I only really got to meet Skip once and that was just before his Crush the Enemy project became public and I still remember that chat and the sincerity in what he was saying. Skip was pastor at Rise Above Ministries in San Antonio and the songs on this fundraiser are a recording from All Hail the King, the worship team at Rise Above.
This ep has a bit more variety to it in terms of musical genres than More Love More Power, which was primarily straight ahead rock/punk rock. “Sanctuary” opens things up with a good chugging guitar intro before the verses start and that carries through the song, leaving a relatively simple musical track but one that would work well in worship setting, allowing everyone to participate easily. “All in All” starts out with a somewhat heavy old-school hardcore/punk opening but then shifts into a reggae/ska like song, reminiscent of something you would have heard a lot of during the heyday of the Supertones and Insyderz. Jenni Brooks great vocals open up “I Saw the Light” with some clean guitar strumming in the background that makes the listener almost expect a country song coming but then the band comes in and song takes off in what would make a great song for pile-ons back in the day at the Cornerstone Festival. “Persevere” is one track that wouldn’t be out of place on any melodic punk album and features rougher male vocals and just is a really great song and “I Want to Know You” falls into that same boat, except that this time Jeni Brooks handles the vocal duties. “You Oughta Know” and “Power in the Blood” close out the ep and shift things toward the rocksteady and reggae side of things for some variety and do highlight some of the musicianship in the band, especially on the guitars, in particular the bass of Johnny Rodriguez.
As I concluded with the first ep, More Power More Love….Regardless of your feelings around songs of praise and worship, the way the songs are constructed and the energy behind the performances make this benefit cd one worth picking up. While it’s a challenge to really give a poor review to a benefit album, this one earns the accolades given, and best of all proceeds will go to offset the medical and funeral expenses of Pastor Skip.
Written by John Jackson
2. All In All
3. I Saw The Light
5. I Want To Know You
6. You Oughta Know
7. Power In The Blood
Jenni Brooks – Vocals
Danny Naselli – Drums
Matt Blow – Vocals & guitar
Johnny Rodriguez – Bass & vocals
Damian Munoz – Vocals & guitar
Release Date: March 26, 2019
Record Label: Thumper Punk Records