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GUARDIAN - Fire And Love (Vinyl)

Timeless Christian Rock Classic On Vinyl

How many albums/CDs/digital downloads do you have in your music collection that you can honestly say you listen to repeatedly without fatigue – the releases that you can name on 10 fingers which are the classics, right (at least personally)? There are those special albums you draw-on “time and time again” (oh, did I just say that?) for inspiration, familiarity and comfort, encouragement or just simply for escape. For me, Fire and Love represents a timeless recording that was released at just the right point in my life that it made an impact that was impossible for me to ever forget. For many during this era it was Bride – Snakes in the Playground (1992), an amazing album in its own right – the Christian antithesis to GNR’s Appetite for Destruction (1987). But for me, The Cult’s Sonic Temple (1989) was an extremely important secular album and one to this day I think surpasses Appetite for Destruction in its passion and song quality. While Bride’s Snakes was for many the Christian alternative to Appetite for Destruction, and hence, one of the most important Christian rock albums ever (which I’m not disputing here), Guardian’s Fire and Love was (for me at least) just as equally important because it followed closely on the heels of Sonic Temple and provided a more spiritually gratifying alternative to the sensational (yet spiritually-sensitive) and bluesy Sonic Temple. To follow along with the exercises we all did in high school … Bride is to GNR as Guardian (Fire and Love era at least) is to The Cult (Electric/Sonic Temple era) – Bride and GNR abrasive and harsh, Guardian and The Cult smooth, bluesy (and yes, a bit overproduced) but so seductive.

All this in perspective, as a lover of 80’s metal/rock and a child of the vinyl era, I was ecstatic to see Retroactive Records releasing Fire and Love on vinyl. Here we have the original 10 songs (5 per side) on black vinyl and orange vinyl (with a marbled pattern) in 2017. And I am happy to say these songs sound great (not surprisingly) in this format. It really is as if this album was made for the analog, hard-rocking world and not the pristine digital era. There is a nice balance of undertow bass to smooth out the gritty rock aggression of the guitars. Right from the start with “Power of Love” you can feel the vibe of this rock in your gut and soul. I challenge you to turn up the volume of your CD version and turn up the volume of this vinyl (to “11”) and compare the difference. While your ears will bleed “treble pain” on the CD version, your ears will hear an increase in low-end power/thunder on the low end on the vinyl – so smooth.

The rear cover features a nice synopsis of the history and importance of this album by Matt Hunt, and the lyric insert sheet features a nice photo on the opposite side to the lyrics (see above). My vinyl is “orange cream” colored and sounds quite good. Listening to “The Rain” and “Never Say Goodbye” on vinyl for the first time is quite enthralling – this LP sounds really good. There are no bonus songs here or extras to enjoy (mine did come with a poster of the cover though), so if you aren’t a fan of vinyl there really isn’t anything here to entice you to pursue this particular media format. But if you are a fan of vinyl, don’t hesitate to obtain this disc as I think this classic album is appropriately and nicely represented on this pressing (it was made for this!) … and not surprisingly sounds great (and better) with repeated play. [Retroactive]

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