Two years ago, Christian metal fans everywhere were thrilled to hear the news: metal forefathers Living Sacrifice were getting back together. Even more exciting, they were working on a brand new album, their first full-length release since Conceived In Fire from 2002. Initially set to be released last November, the album was pushed back to January. Now, the time has come. The Infinite Order has finally arrived, and it was definitely worth the wait.
As if to dispel all doubts about their relevance in today's metal scene, Living Sacrifice kicks off the album with "Overkill Exposure," two minutes and forty-nine seconds of fast riffing, driving double bass, and Bruce Fitzhugh's signature barked growls. "Rules of Engagement" doesn't let off in the slightest, with a chorus guitar line that is both meaty and catchy. With the stage perfectly set by these two openers, the album pummels its way through nine more tracks of classic Living Sacrifice mayhem. Fans of The Hammering Process will be delighted to hear the additional percussion featured throughout the album. On the third track, "Nietzche's Madness," this percussion (provided by Advent frontman Joe Musten) takes on a creepy note and then unleashes itself in a dissonant, pounding breakdown that begs to be played live. At the same time, lead guitarist Rocky Gray takes his solos in an even more bizarre direction than on previous albums, sometimes more resembling the sound of somebody screaming than a guitar melody. In addition, similar to the classic album Reborn, each musical aspect on The Infinite Order, from Fitzhugh's barks to the machine gun guitars, is tuned to create a percussive effect, creating a delightful focus on rhythm. Yet, as the album closes, the band slows down the momentum and finds its orchestral side with two harsh but beautiful tracks, "God Is My Home" and "Apostasy." In every instance, the songwriting is tight and energetic.
There are no surprises here lyrically. Bruce Fitzhugh is certainly no poet, and his choppy, often non-rhyming lines are just as harsh and in-your-face as the music accompanying them. In "Nietzche's Madness," Fitzhugh shouts out against moral relativity, "Liberation of no law/Exhilaration of no God/Justified in the mind/Leads to horrors of every kind." Even so, Living Sacrifice is also a band that appreciates and acknowledges the grace of God. In standout track "Love Forgives," they ask "Who can make dark the purpose of Yahweh? Who can take away the hand of compassion?" In "God Is My Home," Fitzhugh declares that "God has taken me in, healed my wounds, loved me in my sin . . . This world has been lost long ago. God is my home."
The Infinite Order is as big as the hype that has surrounded it. Living Sacrifice clearly pulled all the stops in writing and recording this album, including bringing in a myriad of guest talent, from David Bunton of The Showdown, to former Living Sacrifice and P.O.D. Guitarist Jason Truby. In the end, The Infinite Order is the perfect comeback for one of the most respected bands in Christian metal. After eight years of silence, Living Sacrifice is back with a bang, and everybody else is already playing catch-up.- Review date: 1/24/10, written by Timothy Estabrooks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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