|Musical Style: Metal/Hard Rock||Produced By:|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2011||Artist Website: Pastor Brad|
|Tracks: 14||Rating: No Quote|
When you want to do something right, the way you’ve always envisioned, it usually takes time. Recording a quality album is no different, especially when factoring how most (if not all) artists “cut their teeth” in a home studio with a demo or two produced to show for their initial efforts. Results, as one might imagine, vary - some bands hit the ground running while others take a bit of trial and error - but that is not the point. Rather, when it comes to recording music, as in just about all walks of life, it is not how you start that matters but how you finish.
As a reviewer, I find it rewarding to see (or more accurately hear!) the steps and strides a talented band and/or musician makes as their career progresses. Bay City, Michigan based guitarist Pastor Brad is one such artist. Better known for his instrumental “shred” hard rock solo releases, encompassing Shred (2005), Reshredded (2006), Shredded Sweet (2007), Heavenly Shred (2009) and Back To The Shredder (2011), PB actually got his start by recording a pair of vocal based demos from 2003, Get Real and Rock You Up. He maintained the vocal penchant for the three full length albums that followed: Out Of The Hellhole (2004), Telecaster (2005) and The King Has Come (2005).
A compilation of the better tracks from the latter three, under the appropriate title Trinity, was released by the artist in 2011. The Angelic Warlord review of Trinity described it as “(trending) towards eighties based melodic metal and straightforward hard rock” and “(proving) to be a one man band project (in that) PB handled all aspects of the writing and recording process, including vocals, guitars, bass, mix and mastering”. In terms of specifics, Out Of The Hellhole featured the most consistent heaviness of the Trinity material, while Telecaster finds PB tempering things and branching out stylistically in the process. The King Has Come presents with a best of both worlds scenario in showcasing some of the artists best songwriting examples.
Get Real Rocked Up, a 14 song compilation made up of material off the two debut demo releases (seven songs from each), also came out in 2011. The same rules from Trinity apply here: Eighties based melodic metal and hard rock musical direction and the artist handling all musicianship, vocal, songwriting and production duties.
As is often the case with demo material, you will find a few rough edges. Production, not unlike that of the Trinity material, has a raw element to it but not to a fault. If anything, it is the type of rawness that cannot help but reinforce the inherit energy to the songs here.
Songwriting is where you get to experience that already noted “steps and strides a talented band and/or musician makes as their career progresses”. Please note that I am putting the review together in taking a forward to backward approach by first reviewing Trinity and then Get Real Rocked Up. It is sort of like watching Star Wars Episodes 4-6 followed by Episodes 1-3. Does that make sense? Specifically, the artist gives a good account of himself when factoring Get Real Rocked Up represents a compilation of his initial songwriting efforts. Yes, you will find a couple of skip buttons among the 14, but all in all the material here (which really shines in places) hints of what the artist is capable and ultimately achieved with The King Has Come (in my opinion the best of his early vocal releases).
At this point let’s go over the songs chosen from Get Real and Rock You Up:
Get Real leaves the impression of the heavier of the two demos. This is best exemplified on “Our Only Hope” (a heavy duty hard rocker with driving riffs galore) and “Victory In Jesus” (almost classic metal with its full on guitar assaults and high energy focus). What the two have in common is showcasing the artist’s astute guitar abilities, with lead work ranging from the spirited (former) to bluesy (the latter). The albums title track maintains the heavier rocking penchant but presented in the more blues driven package.
Taking a melodic heading are “Thief In The Night” (a classy commercial metal piece with a pristine feel) and “Out Of Heaven” (mid-paced with hints of keyboards and an extended instrumental section). My favorite of the Get Real tracks is worship rocker “God Is Great” from its inspiration feel in melding piano and orchestration with heavier rocking guitars.
The only song not to do it for me is “I’m Gonna Live For The Lord”, a plain sounding traditional hard rock piece with some repetitious elements to its chorus. I do, however, like the crunchy guitar tones.
Rock You Up
If I were to invite comparison the Rock You Up material invites the greater melodic feel. Consider the albums title track, with its mirthful mentality and “ooh–la-la-la-la-subida-bup” backing vocals upholding its catchy chorus. Likewise, “Battle Song” highlights a joining of heavier and quieter moments in playing up an emotional vibe (as reflected in its atmospheric instrumental moments). Another great song is “Doctor Of Love”, a quintessential groove driven melodic hard rocker with occasional acoustic moments.
Otherwise, what we have here is a choice selection of trademark PB metal and hard rock pieces. “Don’t Play With Fire” hits as hard as it gets (plenty of brazen riffs can be found) as does “Forbidden Fruit” with its onslaught of heavy duty guitars and pulsing bass lines. “Back To The Pit” proves every bit as no-nonsense with its furious tempo and churning low end.
“JESUS” is the only song here I don’t get, which can be attributed to the ‘rah-rah’ give me a “J”, give me an “E” (I am sure you know where this is going) chant which is repeated several times. No, not terrible (melody is fine) but still giving rise to an overdone feel.
Get Real Rocked Up adds up to two straight solid compilation albums from PB. Which of the two should I get? I might start with Trinity in that it finds the artist coming into his own from a songwriting standpoint. I would then download Get Real Rocked Up in that its material showcases the artists promise and at its best is not that far removed from what he produced on Trinity. In other words, you cannot go wrong either way.
Track Listing: “Rock You Up” (4:42), “Our Only Hope” (3:27), “Don’t Play With Fire” (3:47), “God Is Great” (4:42), “Dr. Of Love” (4:00), “Victory In Jesus” (4:16), “Forbidden Fruit” (3:58), “Get Real” (3:10), “Back To The Pit” (3:32), “Out Of Heaven” (4:59), “Battle Song” (5:55), “Thief In The Night” (3:48), “JESUS” (5:09), “I’m Gonna Live For The Lord” (3:35)