BLOODGOOD - Bloodgood (Legends Remastered)
It is hard to gauge the magnitude of the impact of Bloodgood’s debut release on the world of melodic metal, but I think it is fair to say that both Barren Cross and Bloodgood, with their debut releases, bolstered the foothold Stryper had already established – each band with their first album strengthening the credibility of the heavier style of metal for the cause of Jesus. It was the decade of decadence and the credibility of “Christian metal” as a legitimate entity was at stake in the mid ‘80’s. Thankfully, all three bands delivered, in glorious fashion, music which was not only great when it was new, but which has remained relevant and impacting for 30 years plus! And the demand remains high. This version, part of the Retroactive Records Legends Remastered series, represents the 3rd incarnation of this vaunted debut by one of the most dynamic and evangelically focused metal bands in the history of the genre.
I mean, how many signature Bloodgood songs do we have here – the operatic “Accept The Lamb,” the apocalyptic “Anguish and Pain,” the spiritual warring “Demon on the Run” and “Killing the Beast,” the persevering in the faith “Awake,” the scathing and confrontational “You Lose,” the inspiring and motivational “Soldier of Peace,” the incredibly sobering reality check in “What’s Following the Grave?” and the speedy “Black Snake” song of rebellion. This album, for a debut, had it all did it not?
“He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world” – “Black Snake”
The 2010 reissue (the first reissue since the 1986 debut) was a solid effort, at least from a sonic standpoint. The remastered sound represented a noticeable improvement from the original recording, but there was the alternate cover artwork and the overly crowded 8-page lyric booklet that left something to be desired. There were some really great liner notes by Pastor Bob, and some nice production facts, but it was a strain to read the words due to the layout and design. It is apparent from this “3rd edition” that the Retroactive Records team was determined to give the fans the best looking and perhaps best sounding – definitive edition – of this classic album. The end result is beautiful – a 12-page booklet featuring the original cover artwork plus 6 pages with clearly legible/readable lyrics and 4 pages of pictures and memorabilia. The last page of the booklet fittingly features the album dedication and the 1 John 3:8 scripture passage. No bonus tracks this time, but one could easily argue that these 10 songs stand so well on their own – why add to a masterpiece?
But what about the sound? Short of missing out on the last reissue due to availability, most of you are going to ask this question. Why should I grab this edition – artistic preferences aside? The 2010 issue sounds great, and after many A/B listens, I fail to hear a large difference between the 2019 and the 2010 versions. However, there are subtle differences – this new version maybe just a shade warmer and more powerful in the low frequencies. But you can’t get around that treble-y original mix, and in the end, that is what makes this album both so distinguishingly and endearingly ‘80’s in origin and identity and yet somewhat more dated sounding compared to the band’s later recordings. Aesthetically, this new version wins hand down over the 2010 version, but musically its close with a slight edge to the 2019 remaster. Either way, from a musical standpoint at least, you can’t go wrong – this is just an important album in so many ways, and the messages in the lyrics remain powerful and relevant to this day.
We are blessed indeed, especially in this Easter season, to have these early Bloodgood reissues to remind us, not only of the impact that this sentinel band had on the scene in 1986 and beyond, but also the message that Christ is King, Redeemer and Savior. Now, can we just have new versions of those live albums!?
1. Accept The Lamb (3:47)
2. Stand In The Light (3:44)
3. Demon On The Run (4:00)
4. Anguish And Pain (3:05)
5. Awake (4:13)
6. Soldier of Peace (3:16)
7. You Lose (2:55)
8. What's Following The Grave (5:05)
9. Killing The Beast (4:43)
10. Black Snake (2:55)