“Listen close. There’s a war going on for your soul right now.” My response: “Dude, I’m all ears.” I soak up the sounds of war issuing from my headphones and prepare for the impending confrontation. Johnny’s opening riff takes centre stage, and it’s a goodie. A shell explodes and the drums carry me into the fray. Pretty exciting, huh? And that’s only the beginning!
Crushing The Deceiver are a thrash metal band from Clovis, California. They launch their debut on 4 May, and will join heavyweight metallers Deliverance at the Sacrivox Music Festival in July. If the album is anything to go by, it’s going to be a blistering show! I mean, check out “The Light Inside Me”. It’s like someone’s pulling back on a slingshot and letting go, the momentum carrying Grant ever forward: “You are the passion inside me, The motivation that drives me…” Grant’s growl compliments the overall sound, and on this track the band varies its pace between soulful unblack lament and soaring stomp.
The link to the battlefield is reestablished in “Guide the way to You”. Ryan’s bass pushes forward, while the guitar and vocal rhythms echo one another. While they are adept at delivering riffs and beats at speed, Crushing The Deceiver also experiments with tempo to great effect. The changing intensity keeps me focused on the message.
In the first song on the album, Grant cites Revelations 3:20. In the preceding verses the church of Laodicea is being rebuked as it has become lukewarm in its faith. The church had become complacent – secure in its earthly riches. It had forgotten the authority of Jesus Christ, the Amen (Revelations 3:14). As Helen Belton explains, “we are also being reminded that the Lord Jesus speaks with the authority of ‘the God of Amen’ – the Lord God himself.” (to read more, see this link). Jesus Christ invites the church to a renewed fellowship with Him, and like Grant sings, if we look up and open our minds to Him, we too will be lions in God’s hands. I really enjoyed the drop in pitch in the chorus – the vocals truly rumble.
In an earlier interview with The Metal Onslaught (2017), Grant mentions that Pushing Back Hell was written even before the band name was finalised. He wrote the lyrics inspired by a sermon he’d heard. Listen out for these words: “I am a warrior for God, Not a pawn in your game.” Crushing The Deceiver have put on the full armour of God – the armour of faith as found in Ephesians 6:10-18, and are ready to take a stand against the devil’s schemes. Two lone synth notes heighten the sombre atmosphere in this part of the track.
On the title track, amplified guitars are swapped for an acoustic instead – but fear not. Only moments later a flame is lit as the band surges forth. “Crushing The Deceiver” is a fast and brutal song. The intensity is maintained on “Born Again”, and Trent’s tenacity on the drums is commendable. Did I detect sweep picking there, Johnny? Mighty playing all round. “Forever Free” introduces Greg Minier (The Crucified) on guitar, who delivers an inspired solo. I regret that the song ends too soon!
“Gabriel’s Song” closes out the album on a pensive but hopeful note.
Crushing The Deceiver’s self-titled debut scores a roaring 8/10.
Written by Karakul
1. Angel’s Armor
2. The Light Inside Me
3. Guide The Way To You
4. In God’s Hands
5. Pushing Back Hell
6. Crushing The Deceiver
7. Born Again
8. Forever Free
9. Gabriel’s Song
Johnny Rios (guitars, drum programming)
Ryan Morrow (bass, backing vocals)
Grant Mohler (lead vocals)
Record Label: Roxx Records
Release Date: May 4th, 2018
The Light Inside Me (single, on “Across America Vol. 1”, 2017)
Crushing The Deceiver (full-length, 2018)
Video for ‘An Angels Armor’
Video for Album Teaser
Video for: ‘The Light Inside Me’ (Demo)
Lyric video for ‘Forever Free’
Video for Sacrivox Music Fest. Promo