Treasure Seeker – “A Tribute to the Past”


Seek and ye shall find!

Over twenty-five years ago, William Hieb (Seventh Avenue) called up Andy Gutjahr (Creed (Ger), Lightmare, Tankard) with an idea to do a cover album of classic Christian metal songs. This was the beginning of Treasure Seeker. They pulled in fellow German musicians Olaf Hayer (Chryztyne, Luca Turilli), Danilo Batdorf (Serpent Killer, Subsignal), and Marc Piras (Trust Rocks) to complete the band andin September of 1998, they released the album “A Tribute to the Past” on Treasure Hunt Records. The album consisted of an original opener and nine cover songs, each from a different band ranging from big names like Jerusalem, Stryper, and Saint, but also lesser known bands like Creed and Force 3.

The album pumped new life into these Christian metal classics, making them accessible to a new generation. It was well received and was sold out making it hard to come by. Ulterium Records saw an opportunity to bring it back. They dusted off this classic cover album and reissued with extensive 20-page liner notes from the band, the original artists, Pastor Bob Beeman, and Heaven’s Metal Editor Doug van Pelt.

Since taking on reviewing on the Metal Resource, I have gotten to appreciate the roots of Christian metal. When the original artists were coming out with these tunes, it was radical for both the Christian and metal communities. Many churches still though that rock was the devil’s music, and not all of the metal community appreciated God’s Word in metal. For us that have a foot in both, we owe a lot to those that paved the way to a rather vibrant array of faith-based artists to help feed our souls. Even if this is not my go to style, I can appreciate what these songs mean for the scene.

Regardless of age, classics are that for a reason and this album shows that with the infectious melodies and hard hitting riffs. What I like about it being a cover album is that they introduce us to the trailblazers like Stryper, Saint, and Jerusalem. Comparing to the originals on Spotify, these covers follow the original compositions with a little more flourish, speed, and power.

The songs are a melodic heavy metal with a power metal flavor and pace. Olaf’s vocals are perfect for this project and I think preferable over the original vocalists in many instances. Danilo’s drum work is solid with blazing double bass work at lightning tempos as on “Out of Darkness.” The rhythm guitar and bass work are completely lock step providing an excellent foundation for the songs. Although the guitar solos are technically solid and create interesting instrumental breaks, they tend to be forgettable.

The opening track is a great intro to the band. “Tribute to the Past” is an epic power metal song that goes through quite a few changes from heavy metal, speedy power metal, and a calm clean guitar driven interlude. Lyrically it points to the reason for the album: a tribute to the past. This song I think stands out compared to the covers and shows they would have been a quite good band in their own right,

My favorite cover on the album is “Flames of Fire” with the galloping riffage throughout and the harmonic support during the chorus. “Out of Darkness” has got great energy and showcases Danilo’s drum skills quite well. As you may expect, a cover of Christian metal songs wouldn’t be complete without a Stryper tune. Treasure Seeker‘s version of “To Hell With the Devil” is even more anthemic than the original. The closing song has an optimistic message and lots of energy, originally released by the lesser-known German band Creed.

There are a couple of sore spots, though. The REZ cover “Silent Screams” felt a little out of place especially beside the blazing “Out of Darkness” and never really hit a good stride. It wasn’t bad really. However, the ending for Heroes has Olaf’s screeching vocals going on for way too long and is a little hard to take seriously. I know this is true to the Bride song, but doing a cover shouldn’t mean copy everything from the original. Lastly is that the mix comes across as a little too compressed where the songs aren’t able to breath as well, especially when the double bass gets going.

For anyone that has a nostalgic fondness of the roots of Christian Metal, this is a fantastic release. For the rest of us who didn’t grow up around it, but still have an interest, I think that this is a good accessible primer. It is an enjoyable listen with some high energy melodic metal aimed to feed the soul. Given that the physical release comes with a lot of good stuff from the various artists and luminaries of the Christian metal scene, this is indeed a veritable treasure trove.

Rating: 7.5/10

Written by Sean Bailey

1 – A Tribute to the Past
2 – Too Late For Living (Saint Cover)
3 – To Hell With the Devil (Stryper Cover
4 – Flames of Fire (Leviticus)
5 – Out of the Darkness (Bloodgood Cover)
6 – Silent Screams (Resurrection Band Cover)
7 – Rebels of Jesus Christ (Jerusalem Cover)
8 – Warrior of Light (Force 3 Cover)
9 – Heroes (Bride Cover)
10 – Meet Again (Creed Cover)

Treasure Seeker is:
William Hieb (Seventh Avenue) – bass
Andy Gutjahr (Lightmare, Tankard) – guitars
Olaf Hayer (Chryztyne, Luca Turilli) – vocals
Danilo Batdorf (Serpent Killer, Subsignal) – drums
Marc Piras (Trust Rocks) – guitars

Release Date: April 22, 2024

Record Label: Ulterium Records

Social Media: Spotify | Bandcamp

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts