Thursday, September 27, 2007

Vengeance Is Mine:

The year was 1989 and things were looking all pastel and pretty pink within the field of "Christian Rock." Bands were basically all churning out warmed-over rehashed examples of safe music. Then along comes Vengeance and just pukes up red blood over everything with their inhuman breed of thrash and blues rock (waaaay better than it sounds on paper). When it was released, their debut album Human Sacrifice literally sent shock waves throughout the "Christian community" with a raw, somewhat stomach-turning set of lyrics barked by one of the most distinctive singers in the underground. The "secular" metal crowd got it, too; probably thinking something like "'s a Christian band that I could get into."

After this first record was pressed, another band claimed rights to the name Vengeance and thus Vengeance Rising was born. Only 1000 copies were pressed with the original logo (needless to say, it has become a well-sought after collectible). But with or without the high price tag, there is no denying that this stuff has held up incredibly well over time. Like I said, it's a weird cross between thrash and blues...but not in a way like "Hey, man, let's throw a bluesy jam right in the middle of this blast beat!" But more like a seamless integration...almost like a certain level of naivety or ignorance played a part in the grand scheme of it all. Imagine, if you will, a young headbanger...and all he wants to do is make some sick fuckin' thrash metal (in Jesus' name, of course). But the guy is bummed because he can't get a proper group together. Then, one day, he happens to hear some band rocking out some weird off-kilter blues rock and he gets an idea. He plays them a tape of some fast metal and ask the band if they could write something in this vein. The band takes his offer and the result is some kind of weird hybrid sound of raw, muddy thrash with palm-muted guitar and fast beats...but killer wonky blues solos thrown in (is that a Blues Driver pedal I hear?). To make it all more absurd...our young head-banging hero gets on the mic and belts out a super scary wolfman-raping-Tom Waits voice singing things like "When they ask you to take the mark of the Beast, scream in their face: "I WANT TO BE BEHEADED!!! I want my head chopped off! You'll see my body rot - and then I'll reign with Christ, and then YOU'LL FRY!!!!!!!"

Not exactly taking a neutral stance here, eh fellas?

The band released another great platter called Once Dead (which I'll post later) and a few other records that I don't have. After a few years, things went sour and the band parted ways with Roger Martinez (vocalist and young head banging hero in my fable) eventually completely disregarding Christianity and becoming a full fledged Satanist.

I guess he won't mind getting that mark of the Beast now, after all.


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