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Weapons of Our Warfare
Label: Retroactive Records
Time: Deliverance: 12 tracks/51:26 minutes; Weapons: 11 tracks/47:46 minutes
Deliverance were one of the first Christian speed metal bands. Forming in the mid-eighties they first became known to Christian metalheads on the California Metal compilation that included their songs "A Space Called You" and "Attack." Off the strength of those songs they were signed to Intense Records, also home to classic bands such as Mortification and Vengeance Rising. The band released a few critically acclaimed albums for that label, including their self-titled debut and sophomore Weapons of Our Warfare. The band later moved towards a more experimental and melodic metal sound, releasing more quality albums but also losing many fans who just dug the speed metal
These two records are veritable classics. Both Deliverance and Weapons defined speed metal in the Christian scene. The combination of the crunchy riffs, blistering solos and Jimmy Brown's soaring high register vocals drew comparisons to both Metallica and Queensryche, but Deliverance's sound was truly their own.
The debut album was pure speed metal without a ballad to be heard. It included such blistering tunes as the metal worship of "Victory" the parable "No Time" based on a poem found on many tracts at the time and "The Call," which includes one of the best riffs I've heard on any metal record, ever. Other standouts include the multi-faceted "No Love," opening with a mid-paced groove before bludgeoning the listener with speed, and epic closer "Awake." This song opens with a minute of demonic sounds before Jimmy's piercing howl ushers in the pounding drums and searing guitar. The only real letdown is the cover of the popular worship tune "Jehovah Jireh" that just feels out of place.
The reissue includes much better artwork, some liner notes by Ultimatum's lead singer Scott Waters outlining the band's impact on Christian metal, and a couple bonus tracks. This is the only place where the reissue fails. Though it is nice hearing the two California Metal_ songs on the debut, they are by no means rare. Hardcore "D" fans will already have these on the Greetings of Death, Etc. compilation. Having some rare live songs would have been preferable but I can hardly complain, as it is just nice to have this classic back in print.
Weapons has long been considered Deliverance's best record. It takes the speed metal of the debut and shakes it up with some extended arrangements and more musical variety, even including a monster metal ballad in the song "23." This record features some conceptual writing on spiritual warfare, a theme that Jimmy seems particularly obsessed with as each album contains at least one song about it, however on Weapons six of the ten songs are about it. Standouts include the thrashy "This Present Darkness" based on Frank Peretti's novel of the same title. The eight minute "Flesh and Blood" is one of Jimmy's best compositions and contains his most complete lyrical statement on spiritual warfare.
In hindsight there are some duds on this record though. The atmospheric intro "Supplication" serves no purpose, "Bought By Blood" is repetitive and annoying, and "23" is a complete Metallica rip off simply not holding up against better metal ballads. There is no denying that Weapons is a classic but in my opinion the debut is a stronger record.
Again, the reissue adds much improved cover art and a bonus track- this time "Rescue" a song recorded for Weapons but not included because the vocals were too "colorful" and, strangely, resemble those on Stay of Execution two albums later! This is a nice inclusion, but has previously been seen on Deliverance's best of record. Again, some rare live songs would be preferable.
There is no denying the place these records hold in the canon of Christian Metal. Though some songs on each don't hold up to scrutiny, each record deserves its reputation. Now remastered, with better artwork and bonus tracks, there is no excuse for any Christian metalhead to not have them. Do yourself a favor and pick up both of these classics before they go out of print again.