SEVENTH ANGEL - The Torment (Vinyl)
UK thrashers Ian Arkley and Simon Bibby created a credible sound in the early 90’s with their mix of doom/thrash death metal. Perhaps not innovative or original enough to capture the attention of the world, these guys were certainly a breath of fresh air for Christians looking for something harder than Stryper and perhaps a bit more challenging lyrically. Perhaps, more importantly, these guys were providing a much needed light in a then dark and depressing world of metal. These guys were not afraid to talk about things in their music that most Christians wouldn’t address like abortion (“Dr. Hatchet”) and impurity within the church (“Expletive Deleted”). Still, there was always the message of hope as can be found in the songs like the fantastic and epic “Katie” and “I of the Needle.” The production sound of the original was always very average, but this new version sounds much better (see below). One of the great aspects of this band’s music was their ability to shift the tempo – the meter or the mood – in a heartbeat, and Ian was not afraid to use an acoustic guitar to soften the bristly and lurching thrash sound. The vocals were aggressive and harsh, yet always discernable. While I have long preferred the follow-up Lament For The Weary, this album was voted #51 on the Heaven’s Metal Top 100 Christian Metal Albums Of All Time list (as published in 2010).
This updated version features new graphic layout (the Rev 9 subscript dropped on the title and new logo colors), but preserves the track order. The vinyl pressing is clean and really brings out the low-end of the sound spectrum that was missing from the more treble-y/shrill original. The single LP comes with lyric insert and some notes from Ian (2017). The orange/cream marbled pattern on the colored edition is very similar to that from Guardian – Fire And Love. It is interesting to note (in his liner notes) that Ian isn’t particularly proud of the lyrics he wrote for four of these songs, but he does praise Simon Bibby for his poetic contributions on this release. I still want to see larger jackets for both the Roxx and Retroactive vinyl releases (the clearance for the discs and lyric sheet always pretty small on the single LP releases), but overall find this the best sounding recording/pressing of The Torment ever. Fans should not hesitate to pick this up (or the other two Seventh Angel releases, reviewed separately).