Band: Living Sacrifice
Album: Living Sacrifice
Record label: Nordic Mission
Release date: Reissued 23/04/21
Album length: 45 Minutes
Genre: Speed/Thrash Metal
- Internal Unrest
- Second Death
- Walls of Separation
- Phragx Imas
- No Grave Concern
- Dealing with Ignorance
- The Prodigal
- Anorexia Spiritual
Originally, released in 1991, the Self-titled Living Sacrifice album has now reached its 30th Anniversary. The '90s saw many giants of the metal scene stepping out in faith. Although, it was this faith that restricted such releases to (mostly) Christian listeners. With many of the divisions between secular and non-secular now blurring to the point of non-existence, this record stands to reach the wide audience it deserved upon first pressing. Previously this album has been compared to bands such as Believer, Testament, and Slayer. While I believe this is underselling Living Sacrifice, it would be fair to say that the aforementioned bands do provide a reference point for the album.
Lyrically, the album is intentional in its offering of standing firm in the faith, with the verses characteristically short and sharp as is expected in the thrash genre. The lyrics are discernible and have a youthful quality. Appropriate given the members required a legal guardian to assist with the signing of their first record deal. At times the lyrics are delivered with intonations that would not be out of place on a 90s punk/hardcore album. However, with lines such as “Losing grip of sanity mind goes insane/Loneliness of death creeps into reign/Vile stench begins to fill the air/Demons gather with a hideous glare” such as in the track Second Death, it's obvious these guys aren’t playing around. The solid absence of contractions that encapsulate the band’s style on this album has remained a staple in the Living Sacrifice’s arsenal. However, the rhyming couplets that are present in many of the tracks on this album are almost non-existent by the time Inhabit was released.
Sonically, this album is a solid, brutal, aural assault. The first track, Violence, fittingly opens with an oppressively heavy, melodic opening. At times there is just enough let up to provide thoughts of recovery. Although, the transition between tracks aside, it is not until the midpoint, Walls of Separation, that there is truly a let-up. The bass line tiptoes heavily in before pummeling us once again. Internal Unrest is slightly slower than the opening track, with a pondering of strings introducing the (now) characteristic guitar solos. These solos combined with the distorted opening of Obstruction hint at potential Led Zeppelin influences. As a whole, the album is driven by a heavy reliance on bass and distortion with relentless drumming.
Overall, reissuing this classic should expose an entirely new generation to one of the greats of the Christian metal genre, while also pleasing fans who may have missed this first iconic offering. The album does show its age as implied above; particularly so in the use of vocals in that, it is more common to have a heavier sound in modern thrash. Despite this, the album hits hard and merits a place in any self-respecting collection of metal.
Support the artist! Pre-order their album here: Nordic Mission: Living Sacrifice (opens new window)
Favourite tracks: Wall of Separation really stands out for the opening sounds and the line : “God through Christ brings reconciliation” highlights really well the lyrical themes of the album.