Reborn Empowered… Seriously

Quick Disclaimer: I'm kind of putting myself in a weird position by reviewing this album. I need to position myself a bit awkwardly to really explain it. In this review, I'm gonna act like it's 1997 and I'm a huge Living Sacrifice fan, and up until now, I've only heard the thrash stuff. It's a little different, but it's the only way I'll be able to do this album justice.

After the release of Living Sacrifice's fan favorite third album "Inhabit," the band was in pretty good shape for the most part. Living Sacrifice played plenty of great shows following its release and for how obscure it was, the album helped build a dedicated fan base for the band. However, something quite unexpected happened thereafter. Living Sacrifice's bassist/vocalist Darren "DJ" Johnson left the band for personal reasons. Many feared the worst for the band, but the remaining members made the best out of a bad situation. Guitarist Bruce Fitzhugh took vocal duties, and guitarist Jason Truby hired his brother, Chris Truby, for bass duties. With this lineup change also came a drastic change in the band's music.

After Bruce Fitzhugh became the leading man, the band quickly turned away from the long-haired, thrashy image of Living Sacrifice's former incarnation and reinvented themselves as a more modern band. The band cut off their flowing locks and changed their music to an almost metalcore-like sound. To add to the change, Living Sacrifice's former label, REX Records, went under, so the band signed to Tooth and Nail records' Solid State division. The band issued their aptly titled "Reborn" album in 1997.

After a slowly building intro, the first song, "Reborn Empowered," kicks in and kind of makes you wonder what the hell is going on. You'll immediately notice that the vocals on this album are much more hard hitting and rough than the band's previous material. Bruce Fitzhugh is without a doubt a better vocalist than DJ, but he may take some getting used to when you first hear him. He shifts between whispery and loud growls, and he knows when to unleash his full power. To add to the heaviness, the growls often sound very distorted and rough. The lyrics on this album are very well matched to Bruce's growls. They're a little more inspirational than on Living Sacrifice's previous albums, but they still don't sink down to the lovey-dovey level of most Christian Music.

Musically, this album is very unlike anything else I've ever heard. The production and overall atmosphere is very primitive and thrashy, but the actual music is a lot more modern. I really have a hard time deciding what genre this album is. I don't know if it's thrash metal, metalcore, deathcore, groove metal, or what, but whatever it is, it's really unique and really cool. Along with the cool music comes another staple of Living Sacrifice's music: acoustic guitars. This album probably makes the best and most frequent use of acoustic guitars out of Living Sacrifice's catalog. Whether it's the opening of songs like "Threatened," the bridge of "Spirit Fall," or the entirety of the instrumental "Presence of God," the use of acoustic guitars on this album adds a shade of melody to the album that makes it more unique. Also, this album is probably Lance Garvin's best drum work to date.

There are a ton of very different songs on this album, but my favorite of them is "Reject." It was the most popular song on the album, and it has a pretty cool video on YouTube. It's also really good at getting fans to go wild at shows. I would also recommend "Truth Solution," "Threatened," "Awakening," "180," and "Spirit Fall." My least favorite song on this album is probably "Liar." Not that it's a bad song, but it's the last track on the album, and it feels really out of place and tacked on. It's also really short, making it hard to fully enjoy.

"Reborn" is a great display of Living Sacrifice's thrashy overtones combined with sharp, heavy songwriting and monstrous vocals. The album softens up its guitars sometimes, but it never lets up on its emotion. Living Sacrifice's truly recreated themselves as a better band with this album. This album was without a doubt the start of great things for Living Sacrifice. I give Reborn a 9/10.


Awesome post as always - EvilAngel

Great post as always - EvilAngel

Thanks man! - AngryByrd