Saint - Crime scene earth 3.5/5
1. Half a times measure
2. Terror in the sky
3. Everlasting god
4. Crime scene earth
5. The judas in me
6. Too many
8. Bended Knee
The classic 80s metallers return with a decidedly unconventional formula, but one that actually works and becomes a unique and effective CD. Those who liked Halford’s excellent 'Crucible' CD and are looking for something more in that vein should give this a try.
In 1986, Pure Metal Records released some classic Christian metal CDs, including Saint’s 'Time’s end', which was then followed up with more Judas Priest inspired, extra anthem flavored, 'Too late for living', in 1989. Almost 20 years later, with less than a handful of CDs in between, the band returns, and while it adheres to some of those classic metal tenets, it deviates from others, but, amazingly, they actually work quite well. It’s not a world-ending masterpiece, but it’s solid and enjoyable.
Without trying to make too much of the Judas Priest connection, that was always a solid comparison to make to Saint’s early work, and, indeed, the band on this CD pulls off a strong version of the Priest’s hidden gem “Invader”. If there was a comparison to 'British steel' with their early work, the touchstone for this CD is the aforementioned 'Crucible', and while not quite as good as that excellent CD, it has some of the same unique feeling, and in fact succeeds in the same way.
When I first put this CD in, I definitely had a combination of, “What has this band done to themselves?” and “I have to sit through this?” running through my mind. Long-time vocalist Josh Kramer has a much gruffer delivery, and throughout, has a combination of Halford and Chuck Billy channeled, and in fact, many of the songs have multiple vocal layers combining these different elements.
The CD starts off with “Half a time’s measure” for the first real song, and proves that their lyrics aren’t going to be one-noted, as they tackle the concentration camps of Nazi Germany. The chorus is hard to make out, but damned if it doesn’t quickly become rather catchy and compelling. The track “Everlasting god” goes a bit more midtempo, but has a really strong set of leads and riffs driving it, and then, always more entertaining than substance, is a great cover of Priest’s “Invader”.
Ultimately, I was quite impressed with the CD after repeated listens. Like Halford’s 'Crucible', it has a “modern” tightly welded to its pure metal core, but there are none of the elements I would take for modern that I don’t like, the filtered vocals, dumbed-down riffs, grating production, any of that are blissfully missing. Instead, the band goes off just enough the track to make it fresh, and that makes it pretty darn good.
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