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Sacred Warrior - "Rebellion" (CD)

Sacred Warrior - "Rebellion" CD cover image

"Rebellion" track listing:

1. Black Metal
2. Mad World
3. Stay Away From Evil
4. He Died
5. Children Of The Light
6. Rebellion
7. Day Of The Lord
8. The Heavens Are Calling
9. Famine
10. Master Of Lies
11. Sword Of Victory
12. Day By Day (Bonus Track)
13. Prince Of Peace (Bonus Track)

Reviewed by on November 14, 2010

"Sacred Warrior's 'Rebellion' is an almighty rocker that will please prog-metal fans of all faiths."

Starting in 1988, Chicago-based Sacred Warrior decided to use their God-given talents to create a sound that was essentially a Christian take on Iron Maiden and Queensryche. Their well-regarded 1989 debut album, "Rebellion" has been re-released this month, and it definitely stands up well, though the joyful noise is tempered a bit with some overly preachy lyrics and vocals that go a bit over the top.

Guitarist Bruce Swift is definitely the star of this show, with fleet-fingered solos reminiscent of Dave Murray and Adrian Smith, and heavy riffs that make songs like "Master Of Lies" come to splendid life. The superb rhythm section of Steve Watkins on bass and Tony Velasquez on drums keeps things moving well.

Rey Parra's vocals are suitably Dickenson-ian on tracks like the galloping "Day Of The Lord" and especially the album's best track, "Children Of The Light." On the other hand, there are tracks like "Black Metal," when Parra seems to lean a little to heavily on the operatic falsetto.

Unlike Jars Of Clay, or recent albums from Blissed or Place Of Skulls, the lyrics are unmistakably religious in nature, with tracks like largely acoustic "He Died" and the pretty extraneous bonus track "Prince Of Peace" feeling more like out-and-out prayers than songs, which adds a bit of weight.

Where things to south is on tracks like "Mad World," in which Parra mourns the loss of morality and righteousness in the world and things feel pretty Sunday School-ish, if not outright condescending. Even worse is the bonus track "Day By Day," which also isn't particularly melodic.

Sacred Warrior's "Rebellion" is an almighty rocker that will please prog-metal fans of all faiths. It's an excellent showcase for the band's chops and beliefs.

Highs: "Children Of The Light," "Master Of Lies" and "Day Of The Lord."

Lows: The by-the-numbers ballad "Day By Day," which also features some overly preachy lyrics.

Bottom line: A mostly great prog-metal album which blends Iron Maiden sounds with a Christian message.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)