|Musical Style: Melodic Hard Rock||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Retroactive||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 1985/2013||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 10||Rating: 75%|
|Running Time: 48:43|
We at Angelic Warlord don’t need a lot of encouragement to review Warriors Of Love, the 1985 sophomore album from Bay Area based Gideon’s Army. Yes, Warriors Of Love might have fallen beneath the radar, independently released and lacking formal distribution, but also brings a bit more history behind it than you might think. It begins with how Gideon’s Army arose out of the early 70’s Contemporary Christian Music scene, starting as an acoustic Gospel act - with a corresponding concert ministry to prisons, juvenile halls and Christian coffee houses - prior to releasing (also independently) its 1982 rhythm and blues influenced full length debut Rock And Roll For Your Soul.
I kept close watch of the mid-eighties CCM scene as a result of being Music Director of the radio station at the Christian college I was attending when Warriors Of Love came out. Yet, I barely have passing knowledge of the album (or Gideon’s Army for that matter). So it came as somewhat of a surprise - and great delight I might add - upon learning that Warriors Of Love was re-mastered and re-issued on Retroactive Records in the summer of 2013.
Musically, Warriors Of Love finds Gideon’s Army doing away with the rhythm and blues of its past and delivering a heavy dose of melodic hard rock better suited for the radio friendly sounds of the time. I hesitate to invite direct comparison, but if you enjoy Idle Cure, Novella, Petra and early nineties Guardian then I can see the album appealing to your tastes. Likewise, those into melodic metal on the lighter side of things - think Shout, Angelica, Stryper or a more AOR influenced Daniel Band - should find a lot to be drawn to here as well.
Warriors Of Love is at its best when heaviest, as the high energy sounds of “Moment By Moment” and “Runaway” in addition to its anthem-like title track attest in no uncertain terms. Maintaining the up-tempo demeanor are the pop based hooks to “I Know I Could See You” and “It’s Your Love” (polished vocal melodies defining both), while “No Fun” and “I Know Someone” temper things with their heavy keyboard basis (former coming across as a semi-ballad and latter a choir-like plodder). In between, you will also find a gritty blues rocker in “Backsliding Brother” and bass guitar driven groove to “Video”.
Gideon’s Army takes a duel lead vocal approach (sort of like the aforementioned Daniel Band) with Mark Greves and Jerry Anderson trading off throughout the project. Due to lack of specific details with the packaging I am unable to “match a name with a voice”, but the vocal styles present by the two range from clean and smooth classic tenor to the soulful and heartfelt centered around the mid-ranged.
Dave Angles executes well on lead guitar, letting loose with an extended stretch of soloing on “It’s Your Love” while taking a more blistering approach for “I Know You Could See”. He even gets involved in a lead guitar and keyboard duel with Doug Naruo on “Moment By Moment”. Naruo performed admirably as well, albeit on a few cuts keyboards are laid in a bit thick (keeping in mind eighties rock at times emphasized a heavier keyboard sound- so the overall effect is more vintage as opposed to distracting).
Production fails to disappoint, at least when factoring how Warriors Of Love was independently recorded using mid-eighties technology. No, I never heard the original version, but mastering with the re-issue produces a balanced sound with guitars clean but firm and low-end on the pronounced side of things. Again, not a big budget effort but no shame either.
As already reinforced, some shortcomings exist with packaging. In particularly, the 4-panel digi-pak neither allows for lyrics or extensive liner notes. A band photo or two would also have been nice along with detailed artist commentary.
Lyrics are hope filled and faith based - leaving little doubt that ministry is the Gideon’s Army priority - in upholding God’s love, the importance of staying true to the faith and sidestepping the dangers of backsliding.
Warriors Of Love adds up to a very good melodic hard rock album characterized by solid songwriting and able band performance throughout. Again, little encouragement is needed to review a work that, for a lack of better words, takes the listener down memory lane with its commercial eighties based sound. Give credit to Retroactive for making this available again.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Moment By Moment” (3:30), “It’s Your Love” (4:08), “Warriors Of Love” (4:13), “No Fun” (3:41), “I Know Someone” (4:15), “Runaway” (4:07), “I Know I Could See You” (3:30), “Video” (4:53), “Backslider Brother” (4:25), “Face To Face” (3:55)
Mark Greves - Lead Vocals, Bass & Blues Harp
Jerry Anderson - Lead Vocals & Drums
Dave Angles - Guitars
Doug Naruo - Piano, Hammond B-3, Arp String, Oberheim, Sequential & Percussion