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Trend Setters: Metal
Artist: Various 
Label: KMG Records
Length: 15 tracks at 64:36 minutes

Heavy metal rocked the Eighties music scene. Even the Christian music scene rocked with intense, fast, hard, and even theatrical metal bands. Bringing back the nostalgia of high, screaming tenors and fast, shrill lead guitars, Trendsetters: Metal effectively reminds the long time music fan of how good some of the early Christian metal music heroes were, and in some cases, still are. Not everyone has been around long enough to have a closet full of black band T-shirts from Bloodgood, Sacred Warrior, and Vengeance. For you, this collection introduces the glory of those days and those trend-setting records that set the heads of parents reeling and moved church pastors to lecture their youth groups about the dangers of fast music and rough vocals.

The CD starts with a bang. The full force bang of Bloodgood's "Black Snake." Two songs from Christian metal's most theatrical and dramatic performance band give way to one of 80's metal's fastest bands,
Deliverance, for a couple of cuts. "Faster for the Master" was a Deliverance creed, as Jimmy Brown II played guitar hard, and sang hard. Die Happy, Mortification, Ransom, Recon, and Randy Rose fill out the middle of the record with one cut each. All are bands with histories, stories, and hard rocking songs. Moving toward the end of the record, Sacred Warrior soars in with two tracks that highlight good guitar, the operatic rock tenors of Rey Parra, and one of my favorite drummers of that era, Tony Velazquez. Speaking of drummers, the best metal drummer on any record of any era is arguably Ted Kirkpatrick of Tourniquet. Tourniquet can boast some of metal's best musicians, singers, and songs, even to this day. The superlative two tracks included here, "Broken Chromosomes," and "Exoskeletons," reminded me of how truly great this band was and still is. The record ends with another interesting band, Vengeance Rising, known as just Vengeance at the time these two songs were recorded. The undeniable virtuoso of growling metal music contributes "Mulligan Stew" and finally "Warfare" to bring the CD to a close.

For a collection of super, fast bands, one would think the CD would have a better pace. It drags in some places. Some of my favorite bands of the time are represented, but not my favorite songs. The choices for Tourniquet and Vengeance are good, but the ones picked for Bloodgood are not. The term trendsetter begs other questions as well. Why Recon? Ransom did have a female singer, but were they trendsetters? Is Randy Rose hard rock or heavy metal? Not all of these songs have held up over the years, or could be called real trendsetters. Even with a few flaws, this musical scrapbook is fun and enjoyable.

Tony LaFianza 9/30/2000



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