Sunday, June 13, 2010

Living Sacrifice: The Infinite Order (2010) Review

Living Sacrifice is legendary in the Christian metal scene. They began as a thrash metal group in the late 80's, then started incorporating death metal elements, and eventually released a trilogy of classic Christian metalcore albums (Reborn in 1997, The Hammering Process in 2000, and Conceived In Fire in 2002). They've never made the mainstream like some others on the Solid State label (Norma Jean, for example), but that's due to poor timing rather than any lack of talent. After breaking up in 2003--just as metalcore was exploding--they released a greatest hits album, and didn't get back together until 2008--just as people were starting to get sick of the genre due to oversaturation.

The legends released their reunion album, The Infinite Order, earlier this year. The fact of their recording was on my radar, but somehow I missed when it came out.

Do they still have the talent? The short answer is, no, at least not like they used to. You won't find that answer in a lot of places; most reviews are on Christian-specialty sites, and criticizing LS in that context is like criticizing Iron Maiden to the average metalhead.

They still sound like the same Living Sacrifice (for example, "They Were One" sounds a lot like "Symbiotic"). And you can tell they've been paying some attention to the metal scene in their hiatus: "God Is My Home" incorporates some Amon Amarth-style melo-death and "Rules of Engagement" has a definite Lamb of God flavor. But despite this, the magic seems to be gone.

On their better albums, they've used some melodic interludes to increase the impact of the heavy parts. That's completely absent here. With the exception of the one on "Nietzsche's Madness", the breakdowns seem relatively uninspired. The riffs overall are decent, and there are still some great moments, mostly provided by lead guitarist Rocky Gray (also of Soul Embraced and Evanescence fame). The solos on "Nietzche's Madness" and "Organized Lie" are great (the latter sounds a lot like a Slayer solo). But these great moments don't serve to make up for the weaker moments (the awful backing vocals on "The Training", for instance).

The Verdict: Classic band, disappointing reunion album; this is not the place to start in their catalog. It's still a passable album, but it's not the Living Sacrifice quality I expected. I may be a little hard on them because I expected better, but I give it 2 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for saying this! It's been frustrating feeling like I was the only one that felt this album was an absolute turd.