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"Hammer of God" (Metal Blade)
"10 Years Live Not Dead" (Metal Blade)

"10 Years Live Not Dead" (Metal Blade)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

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A lot of people don't think that God and heavy metal go together. They think that without all those 666s and pentagrams that the music won't kick your ass.

Those people should give this live album by Mortification a listen.

"Who wants to hear some metal?" asks vocalist Steve Rowe, "Who wants to hear some Jesus Christ metal?" As the crowd cheers that THEY do, Mortification rips into "Dead Man Walking," the new track on the CD, and a tale of Rowe's recent battle with cancer. After just this track, it is obvious that heavy metal can exist just fine without ol' Beelzebub after all.

From that point on, it's no holds barred as Mortification digs in and doesn't let up. Okay, that's not entirely true: Rowe stops a little too often to do a little talking and preaching. Hey, it's his CD and - after all he's been through - he can make all the comments he wants. But it does slow the CD down a bit but never for too long. In addition, the CD lists 13 tracks when there are really only 11. Track #8, "Steve Thanks," is just what it sounds like: Rowe thanking those who have helped him and the band through the years. And track #13, "King of Kings" is nothing more than Rowe's goodbye chant to the crowd. Of course, track #3 is a medley of tunes from the first four Mortification albums, so that takes away a little of the sting.

The CD's best songs are "Martyrs," from the band's previous CD and "Peace in the Galaxy," "Influence," "Liberal Mediocrity" and the tricky-lyricked "God Rulz."  

Yes, sometimes the lyrics throughout sound like preaching but, then, they ARE preaching. If you must, do what you do with the satanic lyrics - and just ignore them. 

"Hammer of God" (Metal Blade)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

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I have to admit: The concept was new to me. Sure, I've heard of Christian heavy metal bands: Stryper comes most immediately to mind although I'm certain there are those who would argue with my describing Stryper as heavy metal. But that's not the point. The point is I knew Christian bands were out there, I just never realized how truly heavy they could still be.

Mortification proved to me that a Christian metal band can sing the Gospel and still kick some serious ass.

Their sound is closer to a raw Iron Maiden than to, say, Slayer, but Mortification rock hard. Their guitars are razor sharp and rough-edged, their bass like thunder, their drums brutal. The vocals lean more toward the Slayer arena but even then they're far more listenable than, for example, Cannibal Corpse.

But it isn't just the music, which is very impressive and very, very powerful, that makes Mortification. It's the lyrics. Imagine this band's courage and faith in singing:

"Metal crusade, spreading the Gospel truth; raising the shield, evil lies demolished; Metal crusade, salvation through the cross; belt of truth, firm around our waist."

or ...

"I feel the force of God, all around my side; My sight is Light, by storm of great Unified Life; My heart is kept by safe unfailing words; The wall of hearts, that worship Christ Our Lord."

Even more impressive are the powerful lyrics in "Martyrs": "Small group in Cambodia, gather in the mud brick room; teacher shares the Word, then they kneel and pray; communist soldiers storm the door, throw the Bible to the floor; spit upon this book or you will breath your last; one by one they pit and cry; they're in fear of their lives; a young girl wipes here Jesus dry; shot in the head, she dies."

Heavy, powerful stuff.

But Mortification, believe it or not, also have a fun side. For example, these lyrics from "D.W.A.M.": "A plan to kill off Daniel by the administrators; get the king to issue a royal decree; Daniel dived into the lions' den, administrators want him dead; but the lions surfed him all around; Daniel was a mosher!"

Great stuff, even if you're one of those people (like me) who pay less attention to the words and more attention to how the music moves you.

Mortification is: Lincoln Bowen, guitar; Keith Bannister, drums; Steve Rowe, bass guitar, bass pedals and vocals.

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Rating Guide:

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) A classic. This record will kick your ass.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes)retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) So-so. You've heard better.

retinysaw.gif (295 bytes) Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

restinks.jpg (954 bytes) Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2000 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 Aug 2020 16:31:48 -0400.