Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Give Me Something To Believe In ....

Back in highschool, there was an independent record store called Looney Tunes that used to carry a free metal mag called M.E.A.T. This was a great magazine for anyone who loves metal. It was this magazine that I would read to keep up on bands like Savatage and Dream Theatre and such, and it was MEAT where I discovered Carcass (the band ... just to be clear...). It was also in MEAT that I read a decent review of a Christian thrash band called Believer.

At this point in my life, I was listening to progressive metal and heavy metal, nothing to crazy. So when I read about Believer I was like, wow, there is Christian metal!?! As I've said before, I'm not really into the evil stuff and I feel strongly about my personal spiritual beliefs, so this opened a new door for me. However, I didn't find the key to that door till 10-12 years later. I couldn't find that album anywhere. I think I might have seen another of Believer's albums at the HMV superstore, but I didn't know if it was or not and once I figured it might be, it was gone.

Then I discovered Kazaa. Shareware for the "free" exchange of music and such. One day I thought back to that review and decided to give Kazaa a shot and there it was! A number of Believer songs popped up. This is when I discovered BNR Metal Pages, No Life Till Metal and Christian Punk Reviews websites. It was one thing to have these songs available on Kazaa, but were they Believer songs? I had no track list or anything. Thank God for the web pages listed above. Not only did I get track listings for Believer's albums, I discovered a world of Christian heavy/extreme metal.

Much to my wife's dismay, I spent hours searching for this slew of new bands on Kazaa. I did feel kinda bad about stealing Christian music, but in my defense, I couldn't find it anywhere to purchase it. I eventually stumbled upon Blastbeats and Facedown records where I then purchased a number of albums I had downloaded, including Believer's "Dimensions" album which was re-released in 2005 and I will now review.

MEAT mag said that "Dimensions" was thrash death metal, but I wouldn't go so far as to say death metal. The vocals are gruff and strained (In a good way), but definitely thrashy. This is Believer's third album, and you can hear the growth and experimentation in the music. Believer is good thrash band and "Dimensions" shows that not only can they play thrash, they can play with style. Believer's thrash sound is present (sorta like Death Angel), but they play with funny time signatures and have a more progressive sound (a couple of members went on to form the progressive metal band Fountain Of Tears which is exactly where Believer was headed if they had continued). "Singularity" and "No Apology" are straight out thrash, the former a little slower paced. My favourite track is "What Is But Cannot Be" which has some good riffing and I love the "falling?" vocal effect they use a couple of times. My beef with this tune is the long intro. It's just sort of a windy noise for like a minute before the song, I've never been a big fan of that. "Dimentia" is a unique tune in that Believer uses sound bites of people as part of the vocals (usually critizing Christian belief's and the existence of God)and they sing the chorus making this tune "debatable" hee,hee .... good tune as well.

The stand out performance on "Dimensions" is the song "Trilogy Of Knowledge" which is broken up into 4 parts that tells the story of Christ. This classical influence piece of Thrash ... (I said THrash ...) is brilliant! Beginning with the ambient noise of "The Birth" Trilogy blends mid paced thrashed with strings and female operactic vocals. "Movement I : The Lie" speeds into an emotional rollicking mix of guitar and string section and opera. "Movement II: The Truth" is a heart wrenching piece that bridges thrash and progressive metal (and my favourite part!). "Movement III: The Key" gets eerie with its operatic female vocals and sporadic riffing and fades out in a gargle of noise. It truly is an epic work of musical art.

My copy of "Dimensions" includes 3 bonus live tracks that are terrible, and were not approved by the band. The quality is reminiscent of Death Angel's live album "Fall from Grace" (again released against the bands wishes). These were unnecessary additions.

Up next I'll review Living Sacrifice's "In memoriam". Not so much a greatest hits album, but a reflection on one heavy freakin' metal career.


Blogger Martini said...


1:17 PM  
Blogger Carl said...

if you haven't heard it, look for Sanity Obscure. there is another opera track on there that I think is better than on Dimensions. Its in latin called Dies Irae or something like that. Also, they do a punk cover of "Like a Song" by U2. They never could stick with one style. The first LP, Extraction from Mortality was all garage thrash. Sort of sweet but lacked a lot of polish. (I recently lost an Ebay auction for a vinyl copy of Extraction... I was sooo sad!)

11:47 PM  

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