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Ghost in the Machine
Band: Eternal Decision
Label: Godfather Records
Length: 10 tracks / 43:44 minutes

Breaking (sample)

This sophomore effort by former Metallica rip-offs Eternal Decision is a textbook lesson in downtuned riffery. There's the chug. The gallop pick. The stop-and-go. The stutter. The building mosh. The buzzing groove. The march of doom. The hammer. If you've listened to heavy music much at all, you've heard them countless times. Which makes Ghost in the Machine enjoyable in a very base, low brain activity way. Though they at least had signs of potential with their first copycat effort, this is completely unchallenging and uncreative...and as a result, most Christian metalheads should be happy with it.

For the most part, they've left behind the proto '80s thrash and dumbed down their sound to modern groove metal, adding some very slight and cheap-sounding industrial effects. They have progressed a bit by working in some mellow sections and hooks, but the amateurishness of it all holds them back. The Metallica and Pantera imitation is far less pronounced, though a hint of Ride the Lightning-ish Hetfield grit remains in the vocals. Ghost in the Machine is actually an almost identical musical progression to that of the Jesus Freaks a few years back. Except rather than the sludge production that ruined that band's second production, Eternal Decision stick with their odd, 2-dimensional warehouse clankiness.

The mediocre music is paralleled by simple lyrics that make no effort at sophistication or subtlety. The title track is a metaphor for sin and how we've been set free. The anthemic, hooky chorus of "Through this Pain" groans "I need you now/to help me with this pain inside." Most of the lyrics deal with addiction; and the struggle between the old man and the new, flesh and spirit, now and eternity. Eternal Decision is all about their name, and they're thankful for the love and strength that flows from God once you make that call. Too bad limited funds and a lack of musical innovation will probably keep them from ever communicating that to more than a few fist-pumping headbangers.

Josh Spencer        12/17/99

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Josh Spencer, contributing senior associate editor for The Phantom Tollbooth for over two years, is also publisher and editor-in-chief of spiritual pop culture webzine Stranger Things.  Reviews and articles by him are usually simultaneously published in some form at http://www.strangerthingsmag.com.
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