|Musical Style: Heavy Metal||Produced By: Trytan & Rob Vukelich|
|Record Label: R.E.X.||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 1987||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 9||Rating: 85%|
|Running Time: 43:44|
The Rush influenced power trio Trytan came out of Chicago in the early eighties before placing the track "Rip Van Winkle" on the Chicago Metal Works compilation and recording a nine song demo. With its name standing as an acronym for To Reach Youth Through the Almighty Nazarene, Trytan released its full length R.E.X. debut Celestial Messenger in 1987, an album combining elements of straightforward heavy metal and progressive metal certain to appeal to fans of Narnia, Jacobs Dream, Balance Of Power, Threshold, Rush and Veni Domine.
The first impression one gets from listening to Trytan is how uncannily similar Larry Dean's lead vocals are those to Geddy Lee- which directly correlates to the bands comparison to Rush. The multi-talented Dean, at the same time, displays a great deal of skill in handling all the albums lead and rhythm guitar duties. The complex drumming of Scotty Blackman combines with Steve Robinson's technical bass lines to form a standout rhythm section.
Celestial Messenger showcases a big budget-like production job characterized by immaculate and crystal clear sonics. A crisp rhythm guitar sound stands alongside a near perfect mix of lead guitar. The albums low end sounds huge with the bass cleanly rising above the mix and the drums coming across with plenty of tight sounding projection.
“Getting’ Ready” gets the album started in a driving power metal direction. Introduced to a drums solo, an edgy rhythm guitar backed by a punchy bass line carries the song forward until it gains impetus for a strong hard hitting chorus. The bass guitar moves to the front of the mix during a minute long instrumental passage featuring a brisk guitar solo underlined by double bass. "Gettin' Ready" talks about perseverance in the life of a Christian:
Trying to run the race, stay with the set pace
The day will come, the sky will break
We'll find the way, find the way to You
The blend of pounding drums and crisp rhythm initiating the melodic hard rock of “Don’t Turn Away” conveys it at an upbeat tempo to a chorus resonating a good commercial feel. Dean tops things off with just under a minute of stylish lead guitar work. "Don't Turn Away" talks about the need for a relationship with Christ:
Are you tired of running around, running with the same old crowd
And you ask yourself, do they really care?
Someone really cares for you, the One that I know is true
And when you find this love, you'll never be the same
The superb progressive influenced metal of "Mr. Electric" advances to a slowly moving mix of upfront rhythm guitar until it launches into to a fast paced riff underscored by a punchy bass line. Once the bass guitar moves to the forefront of the mix, "Mr. Electric" tapers off for its first verse as Dean describes a booking agent the band once worked with:
The meters jump to red when you walk into the room
That energy comes down when you say we go on soon
You know what we came for, we're rockin' for the One
The One who rolls thunder, and sent His mighty Son
After regaining its momentum, the song arrives at an energy laden chorus that delivers a line for all the ages:
Mr. Electric, we love the way you play air guitar
A blistering thirty second guitar solo perfectly complements the songs tempo and feel.
"It's War" continues the albums in a progressive based metal direction. The keyboards introducing the song stand in support of Dean as he imparts the songs theme of spiritual warfare:
There's a battle raging, on outside these doors
The enemy is making his moves like never before
As "It's War" picks up in pace, a catchy riff kicks in and impels it in an upbeat manner as Dean continues his discourse on spiritual warfare:
The King has called soldiers of light, to take the cross out into the night
The battle is raging in the hearts of men
We're fighting as His light shines from above, our weapon is His love
Maintaining its energy-laden direction, the song evenly progresses to a chorus with an infectious refuse to go away hook. Dean's intense minute long guitar solo helps place "It's War" among the albums strongest tracks.
Keyboards back Dean during the first minute and a half of the creative "Rip Van Winkle" as he expounds upon what can be learned and applied from the mythical fable:
Some of you out there sleeping, your beards are getting long
Twenty long years gone by, wonder how you got along
Wake up, wipe the sleep from your eyes
Stand up, come and follow me
A tale passed down through the years, to remind us not to sleep
As the song picks up in pace, the rhythm guitar moves to the front of the mix and immediately takes it to a chorus backed by a punchy bass line. Following its second chorus, "Rip Van Winkle" breaks for twenty seconds of sharp sounding lead guitar work.
A crisp rhythm guitar accentuated by a prominent mix of keyboards propels the commercial hard rock of "Chains" from front to back. While the song slowly advances through its verse portions, it picks up in pace as it attains a chorus driven by vocal harmonies. The lead guitar and keyboards dual throughout a minute long instrumental passage.
The keyboards at the start of "Nowhere To Run" transitions to an edgy rhythm guitar and a substantial bass line, the two combining to drive the song over its first minute and a half. Proceeding through its first verse at a guitar driven mid-tempo pace, "Nowhere To Run" peaks upon attaining an imposing chorus delivered in a strong forceful manner. Dean brings out the best in the albums heaviest track with several seconds of mean sounding lead guitar work.
Returning the album to its progressive metal direction, "Genesis" begins as keyboards buttress a commanding voice providing narration from Genesis 1:1-3. After the song gains impetus, it moves through its first and second verse as a catchy amalgamation of rhythm guitar and keyboards buttress Dean who details the events surrounding creation:
Create the world in six days, behold the creatures of the earth
A universe unfolds with His light, at the dawning of the age
From the dusts man's to rule, the earthly hosts are placed
Cast out of paradise, in the darkness lurks the snake...
Trytan displays its awe-inspiring level of musicianship during the two and a half minute long instrumental passage that follows. Dean sums up the songs meaningful message during the songs final three verses -
I will lead them to see the light,
and to hear Noah's cry
From the seed of Abraham,
with fires of the Son
Look up at the rainbow, God's promise in the sky
Lead the world to see the Light, and to hear Noah's cry
- before his fiery lead guitar work highlights a minute long instrumental section. "Genesis" culminates just past seven minutes with narration from Isaiah 41:10.
"In Her Eyes", an outtake from the Celestial Messenger sessions, was included as a bonus track on the 2000 M8 re-issue of the album on CD. After "In Her Eyes" starts to a blend of rhythm guitar and keyboards, the keyboards drop from the mix as a heavy duty bass line carries its first verse. The chorus that follows fails to stand out in the same noteworthy manner as the albums better material.
In the end, Celestial Messenger deserves to rank with the better Christian metal albums of its era as a result of a solid production job backed by the bands top notch musicianship and well rounded songwriting. While "Genesis" is considered a classic in the annals of Christian rock, this reviewer considers "Mr. Electric" and "It's War" to be every bit as good. "Gettin' Ready" and "Nowhere To Run" stand out with their strong chorus' and excellent lead guitar work.
Trytan released its sophomore effort Sylentiger in 1990 before disbanding. However, in 2001 the band reunited for a show at the Cornerstone festival that was released on CD. In 2000 M8 Records issued Celestial Messenger on CD for the first time with the bonus demo tracks "The Grinch" and "To Be Free".
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Gettin’ Ready" (3:47), "Don’t Turn Away" (4:10), "Mr. Electric" (5:15), "It’s War" (5:17), "Rip Van Winkle" (4:23), "Chains" (4:45), "Nowhere To Run" (4:46), "Genesis" (7:11), "In Her Eyes" (3:56)
Larry Dean – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Steve Robinson – Bass & Keyboards
Scotty Blackman - Drums
Peterson, Doug. "Trytan." White Throne 4 (1988): 22-23 & 25.
"Demolition." Metal Forces 22 (1987): 20.