|Musical Style: Speed Metal||Produced By: George Ochoa|
|Record Label: Intense||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 1990||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 90%|
|Running Time: 43:06|
Deliverance’s 1990 sophomore outing Weapons Of Our Warfare is widely considered one of the top releases in the annals of Christian metal. And rightly so! Recorded in follow up to the groups critically acclaimed self-titled debut from 1990, Weapons… finds Deliverance continuing to head in a melodic speed metal and thrash direction but with more focused songwriting, improved production values and superior packaging (particularly the album artwork). If anything, Weapons… takes things to the next level in comparison to Deliverance- an album that was already very, very good to begin with.
The album showcases a fast and aggressive sound certain to appeal to fans of Slayer, Exodus, Metallica, Anthrax, Believer, Tourniquet and Temple Of Blood. If you are looking for a heavier side to the bands songwriting skills then check out hard hitting tracks “This Present Darkness” and “Weapons Of Our Warfare” while “Solitude” and “23”, conversely, reflect the more melodic aspect. “Flesh And Blood” represents a seven minute thrash assault and “Slay The Wicked” and “If We Faint Not” forays into all out speed metal. Rounding things out is the remake of “Greetings Of Death”, a classic taken off Deliverance’s demo of the same name from 1986.
Originally released on Intense Records in 1990 but long out of print, Weapons Of Our Warfare was digitally re-mastered and re-issued by Retroactive Records in late 2008 with a new interpretation of the album artwork and a bonus track entitled “Rescue” (from the Decade Of Deliverance compilation).
While founding member Jimmy P. Brown II still contributes a soaring, high pitched vocal style occasionally hinting at Geoff Tate (Queensryche), he displays his versatility by adding an element of grit to his delivery on “Bought By Blood” and “Greetings Of Death”. Brown continues to remain one of the tightest rhythm guitarists on the planet and combines with newcomer George Ochoa (Recon), who replaced the departed Glenn Rogers (Hirax), for an abundance of dual lead guitar work. Brian Khairullah remains a steady presence on bass and forms a monster rhythm section with drummer Chris Hyde. Hyde puts in a particularly strong showing, putting forth a performance that is fast, heavy and machine-like in its precision.
Production values, coming across crisp and clean, are solid in combining the needed amount of upfront rhythm guitar an even mix of lead guitar and drums.
Please note that Weapons Of Our Warfare is a semi concept album dealing with spiritual warfare themes as outlined in II Corinthians 10:4-5. If in doubt then check out the stunning album artwork portraying the Apostle Paul penning the scripture in question as a spiritual battle takes place in the background.
The haunting “Supplication” opens to a blend of narration (from II Corinthians 10:4-5) and acoustic guitar. Once a swell of rhythm guitar takes over, the song moves forward to its conclusion hard and heavy.
“This Present Darkness” immediately cuts in to a thrash flavored riff, a deluge of unremitting impetus upholding the forceful scene until a dogged chorus delivered in hard hitting fashion is achieved. A lead guitar trade off between Brown (left channel) and Ochoa (right) helps shore up an extensive instrumental section.
The albums heavy duty title track begins to an instrumental opening carried by a muscular rhythm guitar joined with a fiery lead guitar. Maintaining the aggressive aura during its verse portions, “Weapons Of Our Warfare” makes an even transition to a brief but driving chorus in which Brown displays the full range to his voice. “Weapons Of Our Warfare” deals with spiritual warfare:
Provoking thoughts only cause the sin
That provoking thoughts have earned
Cast down imaginations of every high thing
That dare exalts itself against the knowledge of God
The weapons of our warfare
Powerful they are
“Solitude” does a good job combining elements of melodic metal and thrash. Getting underway to a crunchy rhythm guitar backed by assertive drums, “Solitude” relentlessly forges ahead before reaching a piercing chorus put over the top by the decisive manner in which it is delivered. An extensive instrumental section features more dual lead guitar work, Brown handling the first solo and Ochoa the second. I enjoy how a second instrumental portion takes the song through its final minute and a half.
The monstrous “Flesh And Blood” covers its first minute at breakneck speed to an all out thrash heavy riff. Tapering prior to the start of its first verse, the song sustains the overpowering impetus as it grinds ahead to a predominant chorus upheld by shouted backing vocals:
FOR THIS WE WAGE WAR!
But not against man
This war is with darkness
And not against FLESH AND BLOOD!
After slowing at the start of a sweeping instrumental section featuring a poignantly played guitar solo, “Flesh And Blood” picks up in pace to more dual lead guitar. “Flesh And Blood” continues the album on its discourse of spiritual warfare:
The Holy Book makes it clear as to how we ought to fight
Put on the armor of God
Not by your might
Pray always with all supplication
In the Spirit
To the pulling down of strongholds and crushing Satan’s plan
“Bought By Blood” fades in to a drum solo before a choppy riff stands in support of Brown’s guttural vocal delivery, leading the way in heavy handed fashion prior to a double bass driven chorus shored up by more aggressive backing vocals. While “Bought By Blood” exudes the trade Deliverance “crunch” and “feel”, it, in my opinion, lacks the type of standout hook or melody that might keep my full attention. This one is not my cup of tea, though I can see others getting into it.
After “Bought By Blood” ends coldly, “23” commences to a blend of keyboards and acoustic guitar as a trace of lead guitar decorates the backdrop. Slowly moving forward to an acoustic guitar upon obtaining its first verse, “23” picks up in pace as the rhythm guitar steps forward to drive an emotionally charged chorus that almost comes across commercial in feel. Ochoa’s fluid lead guitar carries another sweeping instrumental section. “23”, of course, is based upon Psalm 23:
The Lord is my shepherd
I shall not want
He makes me to lie down in green pastures
Leads me beside still waters
He restoreth my soul
Leads me in the path of righteousness
For His name sake
Though I walk in the valley of death
I will fear no evil
“Slay The Wicked” starts to a sword being drawn followed by narration stating, “For I am a jealous God and I appall their abominable practices, therefore spare nothing with the sword.” Swiftly taking off to an edgy rhythm guitar, “Slay The Wicked” maintains the albums theme of spiritual warfare as it rages through its first verse:
Angelic forces fighting the battles
Mighty they are
There is no place where angels fear to tread
Drawing swords of His righteous power
The word of truth on their lips
Prevailing over the rulers of this age
Subsequent to Hyde furnishing a plethora of hammering double bass, the bands shouted vocal harmonies carry things to a high-octane chorus in which Brown again exhibits the full range to his voice. This one is definitely not for the faint of heart.
One of the albums highlights is the remake of “Greetings Of Death”, an older track off the bands 1986 demo of the same name. The song takes off at breakneck speed to an assault of hard hitting riffs and sledgehammer drums. Maintaining the decisive edge during its first and second verse, the song closes out its final minute instrumentally as Brown and Ochoa tear it up with another dual lead guitar trade off.
The instrumental based opening to “If We Faint Not” begins to a foreboding double bass driven riff that segues to several seconds of distorted lead guitar. Moving ahead at a crunch-laden mid-paced tempo, the song gains further momentum for a chorus in which a prevailing environs is established. “If We Faint Not” is a song of faith:
So, let us not grow weary in doing what is right
God shall renew our strength to fight
Remember, we reap what we sow
Flesh sows corruption
Spirit everlasting life
We shall reap – if we faint not!
The bonus track “Rescue” is a melodic based piece walking a fine line between metal and thrash (kind of like “Solitude”). Musically, the song proves complementary in terms of the musical direction taken here with its catchy chorus, soaring vocal approach and relentless onslaught of drums and mega-tight guitar harmony. The quality of “Rescue” is such that I am surprised Deliverance has not recorded it for any of its full length projects.
To say that Deliverance is heavy is like saying water is wet, but there is so much more to the bands 1990 sophomore outing Weapons Of Our Warfare. Yes, the band delivers its share of hard hitters such as “Flesh And Blood” and “Greetings Of Death” but when you go beneath the surface you will find your share of melody as well (such as on “Solitude” and “23”). The bands performance, combining Jimmy Brown’s high end vocals and George Ochoa’s speedy leads, is without question. All in all, give credit to Retroactive Records for allowing this classic to again see the light of day- something which has been long overdue.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Supplication” (1:48), “This Present Darkness” (2:47), “Weapons Of Our Warfare” (4:25), “Solitude” (6:05), “Flesh And Blood” (7:27), “Bought By Blood” (3:17), “23” (5:49), “Slay The Wicked” (4:03), “Greetings Of Death” (2:49), “If We Faint Not” (4:25)
Jimmy P. Brown II – Lead Vocals & Guitars
George Ochoa – Guitars
Brian Khairullah - Bass
Chris Hyde – Drums
Schmutzer, Steve. “Deliverance – Daring To Deliver.” Heaven’s Metal 27 (1990): 2 & 4.
Also Reviewed: Deliverance – Deliverance, Deliverance - Stay Of Execution, Deliverance - River Disturbance, Deliverance – Assimilation, Deliverance - As Above - So Below, Deliverance - The First Four Years, Deliverance - Greetings Of Death, Fearful Symmetry – This Sad Veil Of Tears, Jupiter VI - Back From Mars, Recon - Behind Enemy Lines, Various Artists - California Metal