|Musical Style: Speed Metal/Thrash||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Retroactive||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2007||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 16||Rating: No Quote|
|Running Time: 62:24|
As its title implies, The First Four Years represents a musical chronology detailing the beginnings of one of the most well known groups in Christian metal history, Deliverance. Starting with the bands inception in 1985 and culminating with its signing to Intense Records in 1988, The First Four Years does a laudable job compiling the very first songs recorded by Deliverance, many which were never previously released. What we end up with is a mixture of rare – and quite rough sounding – demo material, several live compositions (one which features an encounter with a heckler in the audience) and remixed versions of several of the bands compositions from the past. All the while founding member Jimmy P. Brown II provides interesting and insightful narration, which really sheds the needed light on things.
It is worth pointing out, however, the production values to the songs making their way onto The First Four Years are on the thin side of things. (The material here, for the most part, was not professionally recorded). As a matter of fact, Brown sums things up best during the narration introducing The First Four Years, “The quality of the tape and the music you are about to hear is 100% horrid. It’s very bad. It’s not good at all.”
He expands further upon the matter: “The reason for this tape is not so you can have something awesome where you can play over your stereo and show your friends… This is more (just) a look into the history of Deliverance and what happened and why…” Hence, the whole point of the release is nostalgia, to give fans of Deliverance a glimpse into the bands origin and its earliest material, and not necessarily to make an artistic statement. That being said, if you are looking for a professionally recorded project from Deliverance, then my advice might be to pass here and check out the bands most recent outing, As Above – So Below. Those interested in a Deliverance “history lesson”, on the other hand, will definitely find what they are looking for in The First Four Years.
Originally sold as a cassette only release by the band at its shows, The First Four Years was re-issued on CD by Magdalene Records in 2000 only to be re-issued a second time in 2007 by Retroactive Records.
Deliverance got its start back in 1985 with the original line up of Jimmy Brown (guitars and vocals), Manny Morales (bass) and Chris Hyde (drums). The first two songs on The First Four Years, “Who Will Save The Children” and “Stand Up And Fight”, were recorded on a ghetto blaster during one of the first sessions after Deliverance got together. Needless to say, the fidelity here leavesa lot to be desired. It is worth pointing out, nevertheless, that the two are instrumentals- no lyrics were written while the band had yet to decide upon a singer. “Who Will Save The Children” is a slower and driving track with a straightforward metal feel, while the up-tempo “Stand Up And Fight” foreshadows the speed metal direction the band would take in the future. What cannot be denied is the talent Deliverance exhibits at this early stage in its career in that Brown’s tight sounding riffing and Hyde’s aggressive work on drums are both allowed to shine.
After going through some line up changes – a second guitarist was added in Larry Farkus (Vengeance Rising) while Brian Khairullah replaced Morales on bass – Deliverance entered the studio with the intention of recording an EP. No, the EP was never released but what came out of the session was the very first version of “No Time” (a Deliverance classic which appeared on the self-titled debut from 1989). Low budget would be the best way to describe things in that the song is next to un-listenable – it fades in and out several times – but the music is without a doubt of very high quality.
As the year progressed, Deliverance began playing gigs with things eventually coming to a head in a performance at the Waters Club in San Pedro. Track seven, which was recorded at the concert in question, features interplay between a heckler and Khairullah and Brown as they attempt to share with the audience. The two songs which follow, "Fortress" and "Deliverance", were recorded at the same show. “Fortress” is an awesome – and never before released number – which captures the bands natural raw energy in showcasing a catchy chorus hook and driving rhythm guitar sound. “Deliverance”, which also made its way onto the self-titled debut, shows up in all its speed metal glory.
1987 proved to be the breakthrough year for Deliverance in that the band started to attract label interest. The end result was the placing of the tracks “Attack” and “A Space Called You” on the California Metal compilation. What we have here are rough mixes of the songs – before they were mastered – that were completed the day of recording. If I were to invite a comparison, The First Four Years version of both gives rise to a sound that is not only more energetic but faster and heavier as well (particularly on the speed metal based “Attack”).
In 1988 Deliverance recorded a total of five demo tapes with the last one – the worst of the five in Brown’s opinion – leading to the band signing with Intense Records. The final three songs on The First Four Years are taken from the demo in question. The melodic metal of “Hold On Tightly”, another unreleased track, brings a melody line very reminiscent to that of Stryper’s “Surrender” (off Soldiers Under Command). “J.I.G.” is a reworked version (coming in at 2:07 as opposed to :50) of “J.I.G. (Jesus Is God)” off the bands 1986 Greetings Of Death demo tape. Finally, “Temporary Insanity” is a driving piece reinforced by occasional hints of harsh sounding backing vocals- that did not appear on the version of the song recorded by the band for Deliverance.
Review: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Narration” (4:29), “Who Will Save The Children” (4:02), “Stand Up And Fight” (4:44), “Narration” (3:03), “No Time” (4:12), “Narration” (3:14), “Talk From The Stage” (2:19), “Fortress” (5:26), “Deliverance” (3:14), “Narration” (4:04), “Attack” (3:52), “A Space Called You” (4:00), “Narration” (4:25), “Hold On Tightly” (3:39), “J.I.G.” (2:07), “Temporary Insanity” (5:26)
Jimmy P. Brown II – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Larry Farkus – Guitars
Glenn Rodgers - Guitars
Manny Morales – Bass
Brian Khairullah – Bass
Chris Hyde - Drums
Also Reviewed: Deliverance – Deliverance, Deliverance - Weapons Of Our Warfare, Deliverance - Stay Of Execution, Deliverance - River Disturbance, Deliverance - Assimilation, Deliverance - As Above - So Below, Deliverance - Greetings Of Death, Fearful Symmetry – This Sad Veil OfTears, Jupiter VI - Back From Mars, Various Artists - California Metal