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BLOODGOOD - Detonation

Bloodgood’s Detonation hardly needs an introduction. This is – simply put – a classic within the Christian scene. The gritty melodic bite of David Zaffiro’s guitars, anchored by the solid rhythm section, combined with Les Carlson’s passionate and intense exhalations were the perfect formula not only for success, but more importantly, for the delivery of the Gospel message. Circa 1987, Stryper and a few other bands had made inroads into the metal community, but they were largely rejected by the evangelical church. Bloodgood’s ministry and preaching was uncompromising, Les didn’t water down his message of hope and salvation through Jesus Christ.

Musically, these tracks still sound amazing over 3 decades later. Songs like “Battle of the Flesh,” “Eat the Flesh,” “Self Destruction” and “Holy Fire” are barnburners, but it has always been the one-two punch of “Crucify” and “The Messiah” that made this album so special. Just try listening to “The Messiah” without shedding tears. It is amazing – and a testimony to the impact this music had at the time (and still does) – that this song can still illicit that kind of response.

Those who have been following the evolution of this recording over the past decade will be interested to know how this Special Edition differs from the 2010 reissue on Intense Millennium Records. Well, most significantly, this is the David Zaffiro remastered version, supposedly closer to the way he wanted the record to sound circa 1987. I can say for sure there is a noticeable difference, one which goes beyond just making a “louder” master. I have A/B’d this new version with the 2010 issue, which to me, didn’t sound a whole lot better than the original. Call it a trick on the ears, but the best way I can describe this new version is greater clarity – an almost cleaner less processed (“canned’) soundstage, and a much better balance between the low and high end. I don’t think the guitars sound louder, yet the bass and drums definitely have more presence, and in doing so add more warmth to the recording. This is actually the most "listenable at loud volume version" I’ve heard of this release to date, better even than the original LP on vinyl.

In addition, the original CD cover has been restored. The pre-release controversy about the quality of the booklet can be put to rest as well. Yes, it lacks the flash we see from more recent Roxx and Retroactive packaging, but the lyrics are very readable, taking up 6 pages of the booklet. It’s lacking in band input/commentary – I would have liked to have read David Zaffiro’s studio notes on each song in the liner notes, instead we just get a brief credit section. The live bonus tracks also differ from those on the 2010 reissue – the highlight definitely the drawn out “You Lose” with Bloodgood’s dialogue in the middle section which showed a great example of Bloodgood’s easy going/accessible way of presenting the Gospel message.

What’s the verdict, then? Is this the definitive version of Detonation? Only time will tell, but I certainly, as I stated above, think the original tracks here represent the most listenable versions I’ve heard to date. And I can’t think of a better time of year to pick this up and revisit the wonder of Detonation!

Track List:

1. Battle of the Flesh (2:45)

2. Vagrant People (3:26)

3. Self-Destruction (3:29)

4. Alone In Suicide (4:04)

5. Heartbeat of the City (3:25)

6. Eat The Flesh (4:25)

7. Holy Fire (3:10)

8. Crucify (3:05)

9. The Messiah (4:25)

10. Live Wire (2:39)

Bonus Tracks

11. You Lose – Live in Sacramento ’87 (6:50)

12. Zaffiro Guitar Burn – Live in Sacramento ’87 (2:50)

13. Vagrant People – Live in Sacramento ’87 (4:00)

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