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Living Sacrifice- Inhabit ReviewAngryByrd When most people think of death metal, what they think of is very stereotypical. People tend to assume that the lyrics to every death metal song are about murder, satan, and torture porn. They also tend to think that the music itself is just random noise and that the vocals take absolutely no talent to pull off. Of course, these assumptions would be wrong, unless of course you're talking about Cannibal Corpse or a similar "band." However, I can't really blame people for these assumptions. Most people don't know a whole lot about music, and most people haven't even actually heard a single death metal song, so they just assume it sounds terrible and move on. To me, this is pretty sad, because if people took the time to actually listen to bands like Death, Opeth, Obituary, or even Possessed, they could find a lot to love about death metal.
The main thing that keeps people from liking death metal, aside from the screaming, is the lyrical content. I can sort of understand this because while the lyrics generally aren't as horrifying as people usually would expect them to be, they aren't exactly lyrics I'd play in front of a 4-year old. However, there is a really good solution for this. Believe it or not, there are a fair amont of bands that have made a name for themselves by making (get ready for it)… CHRISTIAN death metal! Yes, it's a real thing! Bands like Believer, Mortification, and Extol have continually made amazing death metal with lyrics that I don't think anybody would have any problems with. The album I'm going to talk about today follows this same formula.
Inhabit is the third studio album by the band Living Sacrifice, who are credited as one of the pioneering bands of the Christian death metal genre. Although the band has a discography that spans over 20 years, Inhabit is one of the band's only 2 death metal albums. This album is generally considered to be Living Sacrifice's heaviest album, and one of their best. It was the last album Living Sacrifice made with bassist/vocalist Darren Johnson, who was the main man on Living Sacrifice's first three albums. After this album, guitarist Bruce Fitzhugh rose to the occasion and took on vocal duties, which created a totally new incarnation of the band. The band has since become known for a more modern sound, but despite this, the band's first three albums are still huge fan favorites, specifically Inhabit.
Immediately upon turning on the album, you will notice many good things, a few bad things, and some things that depend on your personal taste. The most immediate are the machine-gun speed and the crushing heaviness. This if you love heavy stuff, then this album will not disappoint. However, after the into to the first track, "In The Shadow," you will notice something that you probably won't like: the vocals. I did say earlier that people don't give screamers enough credit, but the vocals on this album are laughable. DJ pretty much sounds like a pissed off pterodactyl who felt like starting a band. It took me a few listens to even begin to tolerate the vocals, and I don't think anyone in their right mind would ever like them. The vocals do sound decent live though, so if you can find any live tapes of Living Sacrifice from this era, you're all set. Horrible vocals aside though, the album opens itself very strongly.
Moving into the second track, "Not Beneath," you'll notice that the album slows down… a lot. This album has a few spots where it changes speeds almost instantaneously, and this is one of them. The pace slows down a lot, but the brutality of the music remains the same. The best part about this song is that when you get to around the middle, you will hear something that makes this album really stand out: acoustic guitars. They're not exactly Opeth level, but they definitely add a nice touch to the album. So pace changes and acoustic guitars? Perfect!
Speaking of the guitars, there are two totally different ways of looking at them. If this is the first death metal album you've ever listened to, or one of them, then the guitars will be very satisfactory. If you've been listening to death metal for a long time, and then you decide to listen to this album, you may be a little bit underwhelmed by the guitars on this album. There isn't a whole lot of emphasis of guitar solos on this album, which is very different from most death metal. I don't really consider this a bad thing, because 90% of guitarists in music pale in comparison to people like Chuck Schuldiner and Mikael Akerfeldt. No matter what your view is though, the guitars are low, heavy, and they do they do their job. The drumming and bass are also very well executed.
My personal favorite song on this album is the epically titled "Breathing Murder." It's a blistering, heavy track with ferocious instrumentals and lyrics that are , for lack of a better word, kind of scary. Some of my other favorites are "Not Beneath" and "Mind Distant," both of which are slower songs with acoustic guitar parts. My least favorite song from the album is probably the opening track, "In The Shadow." As much as I love the explosion sound effects and overall heaviness, it's a little short and it doesn't hold up as well as the rest of the album to me.
Inhabit is a great album to describe the greatness of Christian death metal. There are really only a few problems with the album, and theme rest is just perfect. It's fast, heavy, and it has awesome lyrics and song titles, but the guitars can be underwhelming, and the vocals are just terrible. If you can get past the vocals though, this album is well worth your time. I give Living Sacrifice's Inhabit a 7/10.