There have been a few Christian metal bands from the 80’s, or were popular during that era that have released albums recently, or recently got together again for whatever their reason after years in hiatus. Bands of that era like Bloodgood, Sacred Warrior, Deliverance and Bride to name a few have all released something in the last while.
Taker, in a way can be likened to the melodic metal sounds of bands like Queensryche , with the driving momentum of masterful bands like Judus Priest. It was In 1987 that a small and fairly unknown band would release a four song cassette demo that they would sell and distribute completely independent, and it would garnish great reviews in the underground white metal scene, which would be the start for the band to make its mark on the metal world. What followed in 1988 was that the band was asked to contribute not one, but two tracks on a very high profile Christian Metal compilation on Regency Records entitled East Coast Metal and the band had now become a household name in the world of Christian Metal. It was the start of what promised to be a very fruitful career for this young and energetic metal band from Northern Virginia. By the summer of 1989 they would complete one more five song EP entitled ‘Blood’ before the members would begin to move on to other musical projects and TAKER would officially call it a day. The ‘Blood’ EP would be their last official release and the world would never get to see another official release or any other additional material from TAKER, until now!
On April 1, 2014, Twenty Seven years after this bands humble beginnings Roxx Records is very proud to say that we will be releasing a long overdue full length release entitled ‘It Is Finished – The Complete Anthology’.
Taker’s sound might be a little dated compared to the bands of today, but its still every bit relevant and engaging in many ways today as it was then. What I liked was that in the last while I have been listening to a lot of metal and power-metal, even thrash by bands that grab or salute their influence from many of the classic metal bands of the 80’s. So reviewing this, I came in already indoctrinated in a way by many of the other classic metal bands I have been listening to recently.
It Is Finished features a total of 14 songs, of which 4 are offered in another version of the original songs. So for arguments sake in my books it’s 10 songs with 4 bonus versions. I know, I know its seems a tad petty describing it that way, as it really makes no difference to the quality of the overall package, its a good release regardless.
We see the album starting off with the 4 song original demos release; it showcases the band that delivers raw melodic metal and great vocals. Open Your Heart, He is The Light, Yesterday Today and Forever and 11o’clock News are not going to blow your hair back stiff, in comparison to some more modern melodic metal bands by today’s standards, but it does show a high standard of metal excellence of the era it rose out of and does present itself as untainted metal pulsating classic 80’s metal. Even in their ‘demo’ recording sound they illuminate with infectious energy.
Living by Faith the 5th track is a live practice recording and captures the energy and raw solidness of the band, and in some ways out shines the studio track, which is the 9th track on the album. What you get is a confident metal power unit and its here that the vocals are really captured as remarkable and powerful, something that is perhaps a little too compressed on the studio recording. Even the music on the studio recording does not give nearly as much justice to the band as the live track.
Look into His Eyes is so old school, it makes you want to grow some big hair down to your bottom, wear torn jeans and a leather jacket. Solid 80’s metal here. The song drives hard with its heavy guitar slinging.
He is the Light and Open Your Heart are two re-recorded versions, these two tracks and Look into His Eyes were recorded for Image Records in late 1987. Living by Faith, Yesterday Today and Forever have been newly remastered from the versions of which appear on the East Coast Metal compilation.
Also the final EP entitled Blood appears here. It was at this point that vocalist Kevin Potter had left the band and was replaced by Rob Kreiner. Though his vocals could stand as complementary to Potter’s, they are nowhere near as effective and as powerful, leaving a little bit of a emptiness in the range of delivery. It’s here we find the sound veering done a more progressive avenue, whilst managing to still within its roots retain some of that pure classic metal sound that they so well adopted earlier in their career. Comparatively speaking, think of a band perhaps like Fates Warning, yet still maintaining a pure metal edge.
This album demands big long hair, torn jeans at the knees, a leather jacket, some All Star takkies and some headbanging whilst being played. The overall production is alright, you can hear it has an older edge to it, even though being remastered and all, it’s still carries an 80’s metal signature feel to it. I suppose for many, that could be a selling point, something that could really appeal to the fan of old school metal.
I was overall impressed by the songs, and though the production might not be the best, it has a certain classic appeal, that brings both an infectious and memorable release that suprises.
Written by Donovan de Necker
1 – Open Your Heart
2 – He Is The Light
3 – Yesterday Today and Forever
4 – 11 O’ Clock News
5 – Living by Faith
6 – Look Into His Eyes (Released on ‘White Metal Invasion’ compilation)
7 – He is the Light (Re-Recorded)
8 – Open Your Heart (Re-Recorded)
9 – Living by Faith
10 – Yesterday, Today and Forever
11 – The Measure
12 – Blood
13 – Over comer’s Anthem
14 – Into The Throneroom / A New Song
Dan Wilkinson Bass
Charlie Osterhoudt Drums
Robert “PJ” Bussey Guitars
Kevin Potter Vocals
“Demo” Demo 1987
“Blood” Demo 1989
“It Is Finished – The Complete Anthology” 2014
Record label: Roxx Records, April 2014
Video below ‘Living by Faith’ [from the album “East Coast Metal”]
Video below ‘Open Your Heart’