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Pastor Brad - "Break Out!" (CD)

Pastor Brad - "Break Out!" CD cover image

"Break Out!" track listing:

1. Break Out
2. In Your Lovin Arms
3. Turn Up The Light
4. Cold Blooded Killer
5. We Win
6. I Live
7. He Loves Me
8. Gethsemene
9. Edge Of Midnight
10. Beating The Flesh
11. Treasure Life
12. Choose To Love
13. Tentacles Of Love
14. I Wanna Be

Reviewed by on August 25, 2012

"Vocally, it's a bit of a mixed bag on Pastor Brad's 'Break Out!,' with some guests you wish had hung around for more tracks, and others who overstay their welcome."

Whenever an artist does an album full of duets and guest performances, the results can usually be counted on to be a mixed bag. Such is definitely the case when Pastor Brad gets a bunch of his Christian metal friends together for "Break Out!". Sure, the pastor can shred with the best of them, and his '80s-loving heart is in the right place, but some of the guest vocalists fail to inspire much excitement.

The best vocal performance on the album is definitely Iron Majesty songstress Rachel Anne, who adds a splendid gothic creepiness to the opener, "Break Out." Later on, she reprises that opening to a lesser effect on "Gethsemene," but the track is still beautiful, owing to her powerful vocals, which occasionally are reminiscent of greats like Ann Wilson or Grace Slick.

Pastor Brad pays tribute to Judas Priest on "Turn Up The Light" featuring Ken Tamplin to great effect. Instrumentally, he continues that vibe on "Cold Blooded Killer," buty Norman Kersznowski of Faith Factor's overblown vocals hamper the proceedings quite a bit.

The least impressive guest performer is definitely Blind Seven vocalist Richie Z, who gets two outings, "Beating The Flesh," in which his overly-clean Richard Marx-esque voice clashes with the harder instrumentation, and the overly earnest "Choose To Love," which is the weakest track on the disc in terms of songwriting.

The good pastor lends his vocals to a handful of tracks, with "Edge Of Midnight" being the only standout, even though part of the vocal line feels like it was cribbed from Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold."

Then again, singing isn't where Pastor Brad's true talent lies. A shredder extraordinaire, he creates some superb instrumental interludes, ranging from the bluesy Angus Young-style solo on "Edge Of Midnight," which morphs into a Van Halen fingertap and back again, to the fleet-fingered guitar blast that reminds one of Adrian Smith on "Turn Up The Light."

Production-wise, "Break Out!" feels a little thin, with the drumming coming out a little flat. Tracks like "He Loves Me" would've definitely benefited from more low end sound.

Vocally, it's a bit of a mixed bag on Pastor Brad's "Break Out!," with some guests you wish had hung around for more tracks, and others who overstay their welcome. Still, the good pastor imbues nearly every track with divine guitar work that echoes the '80s metal that, along with God, served as an inspiration for him. And frankly, that goes a long way toward redeeming the album.

Highs: "Break Out," "Gethsemene" and "Turn Up The Light."

Lows: "Choose To Love" is the album's only truly bad track.

Bottom line: A who's who of Christian metal vocalists lends a hand to this '80s-inspired disc, with mixed results.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 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)