Holy Soldier's Encore is a great album for a fan of any of the band's previous efforts. This album is unusual as it features the return of previous vocalist Steven Patrick while retaining later vocalist Eric Wayne.
A live set is sandwiched in-between 3 new studio recordings (one at the beginning and 2 at the end). The album begins with a Pearl Jam-esque acoustic driven song called "Whisper." From there, the album becomes 9 tracks of a live set. To anyone who has listened to any of the previous three records from the hair-metal-band turned grunge rockers, the set is a real treat. The music begins with "See No Evil," a song from their earliest days, sung by Patrick. What stands out most is how the audience sounds on the recording; they sound either far away or very small. It is disappointing because the band gives a faithful live version of the song and an impressive performance.
The first vocal trade-off of many in the set happens here when the band jumps to "My World," voiced by Wayne. The song, originally from the band's days on Forefront Records (Promise Man), is loaded with energy. The next three tracks--"Lies," "Virtue and Vice," and "When the Reign Comes Down"--have Patrick as the frontman again. Writing as someone who has heard the band's previous efforts, the guitair work live doesn't quite hold up to the studio. This can clearly be heard on "Virtue and Vice," but on the whole, the live renditions of these songs are faithful.
From there, the mic heads back to Wayne with the song "Rust." It sounds reminiscent of Metallica and is about dealing with pain here on Earth in light of eternity. Things are wrapped up with "Last Train," "Promise Man" and "Stranger." These are the band's lead singles from their previous three studio albums and, while they do great performances respectively, I think the audience (or maybe lack of one?) really hurt these songs. The audience cheers for an encore at one point and it is difficult to hear them at all.
The next studio track is where things get a little weird. I'll say it in two words: Pat Boone (That's right, Pat Boone). Apparently, the aged singer knows someone in the band and he sings the vocals for a new version of the band's song "Eyes of Innocence." The song, while interesting for the novelty, is tough to listen to. At some points, it sounds as if he's not quite sure of the melody he is singing. Finally, the album closes with "In The End" with vocals once again by Patrick. It sounds something of a toned-down 80's style rock song.
Overall, the pros: it's a great album with both of the singers from Holy Soldier's major releases. The cons: It's a live recording where the audience is barely audible. It's probably not an album for someone who doesn't know the band already. All in All, if you're a fan of Holy Soldier and don't have this one, I wouldn't miss it!JFH Reader Review: Review date: 7/16/16, written by Paul Nave for Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Bulletproof / Spaceport Records
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