February 23, 2011
Vengeance Rising were one of the few Christian death metal bands back in the late 80s/early 90s. This is their second album, and I enjoy it immensely. The unusual subject matter really adds to the charm. Roger Martinez's vocals fall into one of my favorite styles for this kind of music, the strained rasp (as compared to the high- or low-growl). Think of Martin Van Drunen of Pestilence/Asphyx/Hail of Bullets and you get the idea. Musically, VR is pretty standard thrashy death metal of the time, but that's not a bad thing by any means.
It's interesting to note that after finding themselves in massive debt, the band split. Martinez reformed with new guys, put out a few more records, and eventually turned his back on Christianity and his earlier evangelical work. As a result, the later Vengeance Rising records feature more traditional satanic and athiest death metal topics, and for some reason his voice moved into that lower growly register. At some point the rest of the band reformed with a different singer, calling themselves Once Dead since Martinez owned the name Vengeance Rising. It's all very convoluted.
Regardless, this is a killer record.