The legendary thrash band Vengeance Rising made an attempted comeback once again this year, at Sacrivox Music Fest. (formerly SoCal Metal Fest), with the original lineup alongside Jim Settle of Hand of Fire. And now, continuing on the legacy of years past, Once Dead has returned as well. The band formed in 2004, however went on a hiatus of sorts in 2008, releasing “Visions of Hell” the same year.
On the 30th anniversary of the groundbreaking release of the thrash masterpiece Human Sacrifice, Roxx Records has released a previously unheard original mix of the album stripped of all effects.
Vengeance Rising as they’ve been known since 1989 is one of those iconic bands metalheads should know. Formed back in 1987 and originally just as Vengeance, the band’s first release was labeled by many including Doug van Pelt of HM as “the most radical Christian album ever released” and for good reason. At a time when Stryper was considered heavy, Vengeance literally destroyed that concept with their blend of rapid fire drums, raspy shouted/growled vocals and fast guitar riffs sounding much like contemporaries in the regular music world including Slayer and Dark Angel. The history of the band is a saga all of its own and would fill several pages as it includes band members leaving the faith, internal band squabbles and ultimately some near reunion shows with different vocalists replacing Roger Martinez.
As advertised, this mix of Human Sacrifice does away with all the studio production and provides what many would consider a more real, almost live experience. In many ways, it’s as if the band set up in a small room and is playing the songs in front of you. While not quite the same as the previously released version, this one is not a low quality demo by any means and could have stood on its own.
It was 1988 when the Christian Metal Music scene was about to change and finally expand in to the extreme metal genre. Southern California thrashers Vengeance with support and direction from Pastor Bob Beeman were about to unleash their debut album “Human Sacrifice”in hopes to reach the lives of those who needed something like this. They accomplished this wholeheartedly and at the same time shocked the world with its intensity and bold message.
Thirty years later and Human Sacrifice continues to make an impact on people’s lives and in the metal community. As 2018 brings in the official 30th anniversary of Human Sacrifice we are prepared to bring you something very special and unique as we celebrate this monumental release.
It was 30 years ago in 1987 when Pastor Bob Beeman of Sanctuary International would be led to call together a very special group of musicians that would come together to form a new ministry minded band out of Southern California. With a lot of prayer and faith the players were assembled and the full band would come together to record and distribute their very first demo tape. That tape would be what many people still consider to be the beginning of a movement, one thing was certain it was about to make a lasting impression on the Christian music community.
That band was one of the very first in the genre of Christian thrash, that band was called Vengeance and that tape was their original 5 song self-titled cassette only demo. That tape would lead them to signing a multiple album record contract on Intense Records which ultimately led to the release of their first full length album entitled “Human Sacrifice”.
“Human Sacrifice” was one of the most controversial releases of the time. Many Christian record stores would ban the album from their shelves completely. The album featured the hand of Pastor Bob himself portraying the bloodied hand of Christ nailed to the cross. The music was harsh and in the vein of bands like Dark Angel and Slayer, it definitely took the Christian ‘White’ Metal scene to a whole new level.
“Release Upon The Earth” is seen as the “ugly duckling” of VR discography by many of their fans and as a resulte, it’s barely mentioned in conversations about the band and, frankly, I don’t understand all this “prejudgement”. When talking about the contributions of Roger Martinez, although the other musicians are mentioned in the technical record, he was the composer of lyrics and music, as well as the lead & rhythm guitars and bass guitar. Really busy guy, isn’t he? haha
The album starts with an almost instrumental track of six frightening, disturbing minutes that serve as a prelude of the thrashing ‘The Damnation Of Judas And The Salvation Of The Thief’, which reminds a bit of the previous album “Destruction Comes,” but it is both unusual, yet well fit with an acoustic guitar arrangements in the chorus.