Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I'm Still A Believer ...

After a 15 odd year hiatus Believer are back with a new album "Gabriel". As with any long - awaited album or reunion there is always a sense of foreboding towards the new material. So what have Kurt Bachman and Joey Daub been up to over the years? Apparently polishing up their thrash skills.

You'd swear that these guys have never stopped playing thrash. Even Joey's stint with gothic metal band Fountain Of Tears did not sway him in any way to perform some killer drums on "Gabriel". Kurt has even spit shined his Voivodian rasp into his most comprehensible vocals yet, while still retaining his recognizable voice.

"Gabriel" is probably their most accessible album since "Extraction From Mortality" and could easily have been a suitable follow up. The production is solid as always and the thrash is technical with Believer's signature dis-jointed riff work and progressive flourishes. They even add a little groove for a more modern sound.

Kicking off with "Medwton" which primes us for the thrash assault that's coming. It's speedy with biting guitars and ends with an eerie Didgeridoo type sound. "A Moment In Prime" continues with a darker edge in part due to strategic keyboards.

"The Need For Conflict", "Focused Lethality" and "Shut Out The Sun" are primo samples of solid technical thrash. There really isn't a standout track because all the songs flow nicely and are outstanding in themselves.

The biggest change are the lyrics which are more cryptic and how pretty much dropped any Christian meaning. I doubt they've renounced their faith, but have taken a more straight-forward thought-provoking angle with their lyrics dealing with (I gather) technology, drug abuse and what not.

Not a huge deal and this will probably open up some more doors for them, although they were fairly widely acclaimed in both secular and non-secular circles. Overall, "Gabriel" is a fine example of thrash done by some masters that stands out in an arena being consumed with new comers.

I look forward to future releases ... hopefully ...


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