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(16 Reviews)

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2009 album from the late ’80s/early ’90s technical-Thrash Metallers, their first new album in 15 years. Gabriel includes guest appearances from Joe Rico (Sacrifice), Deron Miller (CKY/World Under Blood) and Rocky Gray (Evanescence/Soul Embraced/Living Sacrifice) amongst others.

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  • For what it’s worth, I think the new Believer CD is awesome. The riffs are heavy, at times fast, but always controlled. Ted Kirkpatrick, drummer and founder of Tourniquet, once called Kurt Bachman his favorite guitar player when it came to riffs. I agree with him.
    I think if you enjoy metal of any kind, you should buy this CD. The lyrics make you think. Bachman leaves the interpretation to the listener, so I find it difficult to understand the meaning of titles or songs, but oh well.
    I really enjoy almost every song. “Stoned” is a great song that makes me think of the early martyrs in the Christian faith. Of course, I’m sure that was not necessarily what Bachman intended. “Medwton” is another cool song that causes one to join the scream “This calculation is killing me!” toward the close. “A Moment in Prime” has a great riff throughout the song and the lyrics, “It must be a nightmare or vampire’s thirsting,” are interesting to say the least. “The Need for Conflict” is another great song that culminates with the lyrics: “I…bathe…in…your…hate!” “Focused Lethality” is a great thrash song that has an interesting “solo” from Living Sacrifice’s (and Soul Embraced’s lead guitarist) Rocky Gray. I can’t wait for the new Living Sacrifice CD. “Shut Out the Sun” has a very catchy chorus that I can’t help but sing whenever it comes on my CD player. “The Brave” has cool verses and intricate guitar moments. Having Howard Jones of Killswitch Engage (a HUGE Believer fan)do the lead vocals is a nice change. However, I really like Kurt Bachman’s vocal style. I know it’s not for everybody, and I kind of like it that way. The only song I don’t care for and skip most of the time is “Nonsense Medicated Decay”, as well as the outtakes after that song.
    Believer has signed on for two more CD’s so I really look forward to the next release from this great band.

    Posted on February 9, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Years ago, a friend of mind and I were in a band together, and we were both getting into more and more of the esoteric, prototypical prog/jazz metal hybrid bands (Cynic, Watchtower, Atheist, Death). One day while browsing in the local record store, we found an interesting cassette by a band called Believer, and I remember playing it pretty much solid in my car for about a week. “Dimensions” was a very intelligent, experimental, creative, and uber-heavy chunk of food for thought. One of the things I have always liked about metal as a genre is the fact that it is such a fertile ground for conceptual and musical experimentation and exploration, and Believer was one of the bands at that time out on the fringe setting new standards.

    Years later, with the resurgence of metal’s popularity, Believer is back, and the results are as good or better than expected. Crushing, off-kilter polyrhythmic metal riffs like the bastard child of Pantera and King Crimson, some classical elements (strings, operatic vocals), eerie clips and overdubs, and interesting philosophical lyrics with vocals somewhere in between death metal growling and the “old-school” Hetfield barking style. If you are into unusual and creative metal, you should check this out.

    Posted on February 9, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • When I first heard that Believer was putting out new material, I knew that I had to have it. It has been TOO long since their last album (1993). If you have their previous release (Dimensions) there are songs on this album which sound similar to that. Intelligent metal, complicated rhythms and very well worth the wait.

    Posted on February 9, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’ve had this since the day before it came out, due to a pre-order, which makes it 2 days now, and I am absolutely floored by how good this album is. I never thought that Believer would be able to top Dimensions, and I think they may have actually done it. This album seems like somewhat of a mix of Sanity Obscure and Dimensions with better production than either and a slightly heavier and deeper tone (especially than Sanity), but they’ve also incorporated a bunch of new elements. I really like the subtle use of the keyboards in the album and while the clean singing in the courses of 2 songs (one by Kurt Bachman, one by the singer of Killswitch Engage) initially really irritated me, it’s already grown on me and I don’t mind it anymore. Of the 10 tracks, the only one that still seems a bit off for me is Nonsense Mediated Decay. Parts of it are great, but one of the middle sections just comes across as annoying to me. It’s impossible to pick a favorite track; it seems like my favorite is whatever I’m listening to at the time. Gabriel feels like more of one big cohesive album than anything Believer has previously done, the production is by far the best they’ve ever had, and the music is roughly on par with Sanity or Dimensions (and far better than Extraction), so if you’re a fan of old Believer or just any sort of metal in general, pick this up!

    One other note of interest: even if you’re not a fan of “Christian” metal, this is still an excellent purchase. Almost every “Christian” metal band out there right now is putting out absolute garbage music just to get their message across, but Believer does not sacrifice anything musically. I would rank this album as at least on par with either Cynic release, any of the Atheist releases, and Pestilence’s more technical work (their early work doesn’t deserve a mentioning…)

    Posted on February 9, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is a fantastic thrash/industrial metal album. A common refrain in the reviews I’ve read is that it gets better with each listen, and that’s been true for me as well. I liked it pretty well the first time I heard it, but now I count it as a hands-down favorite. There are many layers that you’ll not notice until the 10th spin or so. The addition of a keyboardist/programmer really makes a difference. The lyrics are interesting even if mostly indecipherable. There are no overt Christian themes on this album, so far as I can discern at least. This is a departure from past albums, all of which had pretty clear references to biblical themes. I was a little disappointed at this aspect of Gabriel, but then again I know Kurt Bachman (lead vocalist, guitarist) has said that being labeled a “Christian metal band” had a huge downside, not the least of which came from detractors who thought some sort of compromise was afoot in the pairing of Christian themes and metal. Oh well. The lyrics on most songs on Gabriel are nevertheless tinged with worldview and science issues that recall themes from past albums. Bachman has a Ph.D. in cancer genetics and runs his own cancer research laboratory (I’m not kidding), so naturally his lyrics are deep, provocative, mysterious, and a little off the beaten path. That should be a big bonus for many listeners.

    As for the music itself, it’s fantastic. The trademark placement of slow, jazzy riffs amid laser-fast war tones is back and better than ever. So are the abrupt changes of pace. In my opinion these are the elements that mark Believer off from every other band on earth. The strings element from past albums is minimized but inserted often enough to be pleasing (cf. the end of A Moment in Prime and early in Redshift). No opera this time (for those of you who are unfamiliar with this aspect of Believer, listen to Dimensions). I really liked the opera and strings in previous albums, but Gabriel is not lessened one bit by their absence. Redshift is about the big bang and possibly elements of the fine-tuning argument for God’s existence, but again, the religious connotations are kept faint on this album. Redshift includes several cool effects and is one of the best thrash/industrial songs of all time. History of Decline and Moment in Prime are also among the best metal songs I’ve heard from Believer or ANYONE. Medwton and Focused Lethality are great as well, though the chant at the end of Medwton is overlong. Nonsense Mediated Decay is a very unique tune that closes out the ten listed tracks. It’s based on a short story written by someone named John Boden. Very creative. I pick up a little more of the story each time I listen. I’d like to see the full narrative posted on the internet someday. Boden writes well and Bachman and the guys build a nice tune around his work. There are three hidden tracks after Nonsense Mediated Decay. Not much music to them, but I find them enjoyable nevertheless.

    The haunting, Christocentric, Theology 101 lyrics from Extraction from Mortality (Believer’s first album) are gone now and perhaps forever. The extension into Christian philosophy and environmentalism witnessed in Sanity Obscure (2nd album) and Dimensions is also mostly gone with this 4th album. Possibly I’m correct to say that there is more angst on Gabriel than previous albums. Bachman seems to be the chief lyricist, and so I imagine the angst (if I’m correct in detecting it) stems from his unusual journey as a Christ-follower, a metal musician, and a bona fide scientist whose education has shown up the problems with some of the science positions current in American Evangelicalism. In my opinion this makes him one of the most interesting fellows out there. I hope he keeps writing about his journey. I know I’ll keep listening, and so should you if you love complexity in your music and lyrics.

    Jeremy Royal Howard

    Posted on February 9, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now