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As Above ­ So Below
Artist: Deliverance
Label: Retroactive Records
Time 10 tracks/51 minutes
 
The Big “D” is back! After six long years without a new album, and over ten years since their speed metal days, we are greeted with As Above ­ So Below , the ninth “D” platter and first since 1992’s Stay of Execution that includes the speed metal fans have been clamoring for since, well, 1992!
 
Deliverance has been around since the late eighties, and in their early years they were one of the pre-eminent Christian speed metal bands. Along with Tourniquet, Vengeance Rising, and Mortification they proved that Christian metal could be as good, if not better, than its secular counterparts. Deliverance fared particularly well combining the intensity of Metallica with the piercing screams and stunning singing of lead singer/songwriter Jimmy P. Brown II. After releasing two critically acclaimed speed metal records, Jimmy decided to take the band in a new, more melodic direction. He also replaced his howls with a singing style reminiscent of David Bowie. This was met with varying levels of acclaim and acceptance from critics and fans. Stay of Execution was the band’s best selling record, but every record following it sold less and less, and fans complained more and more.
 
This record combines the melodic sounds of latter “D” with the speed metal of their early work. Songs such as “Return to Form” (and it certainly is!), “Cause & Effect” and “Contempt” are mighty and thrashing. Other tunes like the title track slow it down but are no less heavy. This album sounds like a less dated, stronger version of Stay, where that record fumbled, this one shines, and where it had filler, this album has nine amazing songs, excluding the unnecessarily long intro.
 
Jimmy is not merely bending to fans’ whims ­ he has a few tricks up his sleeve to prevent this from being a rehash of past success. This album is just as progressive and experimental as the River Disturbance record, but without losing track of his roots.

Jimmy adopts some modern shouting vocals on “Should We Cross Paths,” showing a metalcore influence, but maintains the “D” sound on the track’s music. Also check out the epic, eleven-minute instrumental “Thistles” that would be at home on River or Learn.
 
It would be difficult to imagine any Deliverance fan being disappointed with this disc. Every song is catchy, heavy, and undeniably Deliverance! Though it doesn’t reach some of the heights of the first two “D” records it approaches them. As Above ­ So Below  is easily Jimmy’s best record since Weapons of Our Warfare. It is great to hear the classic Deliverance sound updated for this decade. Old fans will be ecstatic, and new fans will be born.
 
Noah Salo
http://noahsalo.com
 
 

 
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