After several long years of hiding in the dark, the Christian metal group Sardonyx has finally resurrected their first and only full-length release entitled Majestic Serenity. Originally released independently without label support in 1992, the album became the band's first and only attempt to combine gothic hard rock, European heavy metal, and uplifting lyrics that served as an attempt to lead anyone into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Prior efforts included a 4-song demo released two years earlier with more of a thrash metal approach called Rebel of Reason, and Retroactive Records managed to gain rights to both recordings and released them as a complete package in 2007. The ending result is a digitally re-mastered compact disc showcasing a Christian metal band that hardly received any recognition for their efforts.
Listening to Majestic Serenity from a musical perspective is a lot like listening to a mixture of some of the best heavy metal from Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. Vocalist Tom Denlinger has a very interesting voice that, upon first listening, is reminiscent of Ozzy Osborne as well as Ronnie James Dio from Black Sabbath. Rod Feltman shows a lot of intensity with his breakdowns and guitar solos on several of the tracks that would rank him alongside guitar heroes such as Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi, Angus Young from AC/DC, and possibly Kirk Hammett from Metallica. However, Sardonyx lacks creativity when it comes to crafting songs that will lift the listeners out of their chairs and rock out to the music. All of the songs have a good heavy sound, but they drag on for so long that the listener will be forced to skip to the next track to stay interested. The length of each song ranges from 3 and a half to 8 minutes, making it a long album that drags on and on.
The lyrics and liner notes featured on this record were originally created to be a Bible Study for listeners to see there is scripture to backup the message of each song. More current Christian bands such as Disciple and Falling Up would be seen following this trend so this is definitely not something new. "Puppet of Beauty," the first of several long tracks on this release, is intended to be a reminder to flee from sexual temptations and seek wisdom from the Lord. "Words will lead you, Seductive words to destruction, Follow her and you will die like a beast, She will bring you down, Wisdom calls out, It cries out across the land, To you it calls out, Heed the Lord's commands!" Other lyrics come across as worship in heavy metal form at times. Nothing negative appears in the lyrics, only spiritually uplifting messages show up throughout.
It is great to hear believers using a style of heavy metal, that has often been viewed as the "Devil's music," to bring people into a relationship with Jesus Christ. However, it quickly becomes difficult to enjoy this album from start to finish knowing you will be in for a long ride. The Rebel of Reason demo offers a completely different and unnecessary music approach with more of a thrash metal style. With extremely low production values, the demo also feels like it was created without any care for the quality. The bottom line is this: Majestic Serenity is a decent album that will appeal the most to fans of Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osborne. It just will not be everyone's cup of tea.- Review date: 9/7/09, written by Fred Keel of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Retroactive Records
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