D.O.G.’s “Unleashed” is a caffeine kick. Slumped over my keyboard, I picked “No One Rides for Free” and instantly perked up. The production on the first track is crisp and punchy, and the message is clear: “Repent while you still got the time – Christ can save your life.” D.O.G make no bones about salvation; it cost sacrifice and you too will be called to take tough decisions. Remember the rich young man (Mark 10:17-31)?
I admire Terry Russell’s ability to both sing and play the drums – I can’t even begin to think how one is able to drum a different rhythm with each appendage, as well as sing all at the same time.
If I drove a convertible, I’d put the top down and crank “Seeking Your Face”. The guitars are meaty, and the bass booming. There’s plenty guitar solo action here too. When you listen to the album, I think you’ll agree that it sounds fat. To my ears, it’s like the drums are tight yet spread wide across the stereo spectrum (listen to “Pay the Piper” and you’ll know what I mean). Listen out for the catchy sing along chorus in this song: “Time to pay the piper / Time to pay the price / Time to slay the viper / Time to pay the piper”, which I bet is going to stick in your mind.
It’s onward with a quick-paced aural assault on track 4, “Into Thin Air”. I’d like to split a hair or two. I don’t agree that Christ will take his church away one day, but rather that our world will be made new and complete in Christ; heaven on earth, so to speak. I like it when the lyrics prompt me to think about my own views, and push me to do further research. For those of you interested, see “When Christ Comes for the Church” by John F. Walvoord: https://bible.org/seriespage/13-when-christ-comes-church
My favourite track on “Unleashed” is “Aliens and Strangers”. It’s got those thrash-style riffs, as well as slower hard rock elements. I love how the bass guitar sizzles in the centre of the mix. For fun, I pulled up “Neon Cross” to listen for earlier influences on D.O.G’s sound, but Disciples of God are quite a bit heavier. Not quite “Once Dead” heavy, but leaning in that direction. Terry, and bassist Colton Russell, as well as guitarist Don Webster all served in “Neon Cross”, while guitarist Larry Farcas was associated with “Once Dead”. It’s great to hear that they have crafted their own style on this recording.
“Armageddon” has a self-assured strut, a vibe I also get when I listen to Green Day’s “Hitchin’ a Ride”. The guitar solo at 01:43 is plaintive, and introduces spoken word to the song. As Terry sings, “… the end is near” I am reminded of D.O.G’s message so far: time is short – no one knows the hour, in fact. Christ can save your life if only you’ll repent.
Nursery rhymes and fairytales provide some clever metaphors in “Life and Death”, cautioning against the deceiver, before an altogether different guitar sound kicks off the final track, “Hey You”. Terry truly wails here, and I enjoy the clang of the crash cymbal as he drives home the message that the sinner can be redeemed, but that it starts with a choice that he/she has to make.
D.O.G. are passionate about metal music ministry, and “Unleashed” proves this passion without a doubt.
It’s a strong 7/10.
Written by Karakul
1. No One Rides for Free
2. Seeking Your Face
3. Pay the Piper
4. Into Thin Air
5. Aliens and Strangers
7. Life or Death
8. Hey You
Terry Russell – Lead Vocals, drums (Holy Soldier)
Larry Farkas – Guitar (Vengeance Rising/Die Happy)
Don Webster – Guitar (Neon Cross)
Colton Russell – Bass (Neon Cross)
Record Label: Roxx Records, Aug. 2017
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Lyric video for ‘No One Rides For Free’