True Strength – “Steel Evangelist”


True Strength has recently signed to Roxx Records and is releasing a remastered version of their sophomore effort, Steel Evangelist.

Some bands start out as small projects and True Strength is one of those bands. Ryan Darnell and Chris Clark (drums) had a vision for a Christian metal band and brought on Josh Cirbo and vocalist Rus Gib for the debut album in 2014, The Cross Will Always Prevail. The band was able to land distribution with German label Underground Power Records and in 2015, the band began recording their follow up album. Conflicts led to the departure of both vocalist Gib and drummer Chris Clark, which lead to Ryan Darnell assuming the vocal duties and the hiring of the audio and mastering engineer from the first album, Ryan Mey. Steel Evangelist was released digitally on May 15, 2016 on Pentecost like the first album and digital sales donated to the charity International Christian Concern. With the independent production and recording, the band wasn’t entirely happy with the finished product and when the band signed to Roxx Records, Bill Roxx put the band in touch with Cliffy Walker (the Huntingtons) who remastered the album and then new artwork was added for the re-release on Roxx.

The sound True Strength is aiming for seems to be a blend of Iron Maiden and Stryper with some more mainstream European power metal. Unfortunately, while there are flashes of brilliance on Steel Evangelist, even the remastered version suffers significantly in production quality and mixing. The vocals, which are not as strong as expected for the genre, tend to dominate the mix and the higher range backing vocals just don’t seem to fit at all. Lyrically, the band is overtly Christian, and unfortunately, some of the lyrics are likely to turn off many listeners who do not share the same beliefs and may even bother some believers. On the 10 minute track “Don’t Take the Mark of the Beast”, the band ventures into some end times theology and predictions about how the “mark of the beast” will be used and to me, this track sums up my thoughts on the album as a whole: the vocals are often very loud, the lyrics are awkward, while the music shows a good bit of promise but at close to 70 minutes, there simply is not enough strong points to recommend the album.

Rating: 5/10

Written by John Jackson

1. No Cheek Left to Turn
2. Steel Evangelist
3. Cilician Gates
4. Don’t Take the Mark of the Beast
5. The Fall of the Ripest Apple
6. Gabriel the Archangel
7. Woe to the Sons of Ishmael
8. Blood Waters the Cedars of Lebanon
9. Twenty-One Martyrs Clothed in Orange
10. The War We Fight

Band Members:
Ryan Darnell – Bass, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
Ryan Mey – Drums
Josh Cirbo – Guitars

Record Label: Roxx Records, 2017 (original release 2016)

Weblinks: Facebook

Buy the album here:
Holland: First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

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