I have always been a keen purveyor of thrash metal since my early teens listening to the likes of early Anthrax and Metallica , Excel, Suicidal Tendencies, and Queensrÿche to name a few, Oh and let me squeeze the progressive antics of Judus Priest in there too. There is nothing for me like some good old classic thrash to get my blood flowing. Add with that the extremely fast, abrasive, and technically demanding attributes of speed metal, like bands like Anvil, Exciter, and Annihilator and you pretty much get my attention really quickly.
This brings me to one of Christian metal’s greatest achievements, a band called Deliverance. Deliverance is an American Christian thrash metal band which over the years took a shift more towards heavy metal and progressive metal. The band was founded by Jimmy P. Brown II in 1985, and many members have either stayed in the lineup for a number of years, or left and returned to the lineup. Jimmy P. Brown II has been the only consistent member of Deliverance.
So December 10, 2013 we will find the Christian thrash metal scene standing witness to the final album from these Christian thrash/speed metal pioneers, closing a chapter on one of the best metal bands ever. There will be many saddened by this, yet at the same time excitement because Hear What I Say! is Deliverance’s first new studio album in six years. It is being released through 3 Frogz Records/Roxx Productions.
Over the years Deliverance’s catalog of music can be described as depending on which album you listen to along the lines of being aggressive, epic, experimental, and occasionally controversial. This diversity has always given Deliverance in my books an adventurous landscape of advantage over many other bands, taking their fans down numerous paths and unexpected journeys over the near 30 year exploration of the band. I suppose in a way it keeps the excitement boiling.
In many ways they have thus contributed to the Christian metal scene as a measuring stick of the standard of which many metal bands aspire today. They helped along with others set a path, doing a lot of the heavy lifting and always have tried to bring some new and adventurous to the plate.
The Current line up consists of: Brown, longtime bass player Manny Morales, lead guitarist Michael Philips (also of The Sacrificed and Join the Dead) and drummer Jayson Sherlock (Mortification, Horde). With all the chatter and the hype that I saw just on Facebook about the release, certainly put exceptions and signals out there that ‘Hear What I Say!’ will provide both old and new fans with some good old fashioned Deliverance able to set your face on fire, and your heart racing. I am confident that Deliverance put out all the stops and sunk their hearts into this, not just as some nostalgic salute of past endeavors on a closing chapter, but instead an album that can still punch it out with the best, and be enjoyed for years to come.
Deliverance has been around for many years and have really explored various musical styles over their career so it would have been impossible to predict what this album would have sounded like even by some of the best assumptions.
By all accounts to the lead up to the release and the chitter chatter on various social networks by fans, and knowing the kind of professionalism one can expect from Deliverance the signs were certainly painted for an epic release,
I was introduced to Deliverance via “What a Joke” released in 1991, in about 1998 and that album has always had a sweet spot in my heart, and I have often used it as a measure of rule against their other releases. So it would be expected and hopefully not demanding that my expectation going into this was something reverting back to the first three albums, giving us that classic thrash /speed metal classic Deliverance sound that I enjoyed. So call me selfish, but regardless I think this album is going to be on the lips of many a discussion and certainly I believe we are going to see some very strong opinions for it and against, depending on what era of Deliverance you are most drawn too.
So getting into this, listening it all the way through for the first time, for that immediate first impression, I was so stoked, this album takes all the best strokes of Deliverance and puts it together on one release. No like in a best of….. sort of way, because the songs are new, but in that I feel they covered their bases across their entire history of releasing quality material. I do think it has a making of a classic, and carries a formidable punch of thrash metal history. Its no doubt in my mind that they are going out with a bang!, and no matter what, they will still be one of the pioneers of Christian thrash/speed metal…FACT!
I think both non-Christians and Christians alike are going to delight in this. This is not just a quality Christian thrash release with progressive elements, but a quality thrash release by any musical measuring standard, period. There is a song for everyone who ever enjoyed the adventurous and diverse history of songs and albums from the band.
“Liber 111” is the intro into the album, a classical piece of sorts that sets the stage for the forthcoming riot to follow. Its like the quiet before the storm. “The Annals of Subterfuge” blasts into action and carries some of that old school thrash Deliverance with modern elements without totally submitting to re-invention. Still one of my favorites on the release. There is no doubt that this is Deliverance in the raw flesh, and not some wannabe nostalgia glory release. “Angst” follows the energy rip bursting thrash tendencies of, “The Annals of Subterfuge” powering the momentum forward with relentless comfort and ease. Love the riff a lot, and the vocals work as part of the drive and delivery of the song. The lead guitar at the end of the song adds an epic progressive tilt to the song. “Hope Lies Beyond” in a way casts me to the mid era of the bands history. I must say I don’t know if its just because of modern day technologies, but Deliverance serve up with a mighty chunky sound on here. Really love it.
The production is good, and Deliverance are able to deliver at this point whether thrashing up a storm, or progressively leading us on an epic more Gothic orientated power metal like journey. “Detox” another favorite with its groovy riffing and chunky rythem, its big arena sound slices through the airwaves with powerful intent. “Nude” follows a similar intent with its driving riffs and beats and for me, lyrically explosive and strong with conviction, stripping away for myself any doubt where they stand in their faith. Its great to see bands that have traveled a long journey and at the end come out strong still for God.
“Pass”, carries forth with the rolling momentum and energy. “A Perfect Sky” slows things down to a progressive lullaby. I like it, but for me its disrupted the momentum a bit. Its a great song by all accounts other wise. “Where Eagles Dare” starts with a riffing intro, and brings that Deliverance sound we all so familiar with to a strong powerful delivery, and is every bit as good as the original sung by Iron Maiden. “Engifttung (German Version of Detox) [Bonus]” is for as good as its English counterpart, but a little bit of a novelty for me, I am sure though many people will like, and would win Deliverance some more German fans. Immediately I got to say in my experience, Germans are a great appreciators of good music.
The conclusion is that this is overall a good album of some great progressive and thrash licks. If you enjoy Deliverance and certainly been a fan from the start say, or from their earlier work, you’ll find space to include it in your cd collection, and it will be a proud memory of one of the best Christian thrash bands ever. With all the social hype that is following this release, it has all the goods to possibly be a classic. I listened to “What a Joke!” after this, and I still feel that to be my highlight of Deliverance, possibly due to sentimental reasons and just stylistically because of that old school metal thrash sound its got. This album is way more polished and the sound is a lot more junkier. This should diffidently attract the modern heavy metal fan, and those who prefer a cleaner sound. Its has some of those raw like qualities, but you can hear the modern in it.
You are not going to go wrong by buying this, its a classic in the making, a great bow out, and Deliverance have finished strongly. It might not be as thrashy as I was expecting, but the riffs are addictive and fueled with muscle and momentum that leaves one wanting more.
Written by Donovan de Necker
1. Liber 111 [Intro]
2. The Annals of Subterfuge [Go listen here]
4. Hope Lies Beyond
8. A Perfect Sky
9. Where Eagles Dare [Iron Maiden Cover]
10. Entgiftung [German Version of Detox]
Jimmy Brown [Deliverance] – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Michael Phillips [Deliverance, The Sacrificed, Join The Dead] – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Manny Morales [Deliverance] – Bass
Jayson Sherlock [Mortification, Horde, Revulsed] – Drums
“Greetings of Death” demo (1985)
“Weapons Of Our Warfare” (1990)
“What A Joke” (1991)
“Stay of Execution” (1992)
“Intense Live Series Vol. 1” EP (1993)
“A Decade of Deliverance” (1994)
“River Disturbance” (1994)
“Camelot In Smithereens” (1995)
“Back In the Day: The First Four Years” (2000)
“Greetings Of Death, Etc.” (2001)
“Live At Cornerstone 2001” (2001)
“As Above, So Below” (2007)
“Hear What I Say!” (2013)
Record label: Roxx Records / 3 Frogz Records, Dec. 2013
Video below ‘Hear What I Say!’ Sampler