Metal Blade Records has been home to many artists over the years and there have been some bands I've felt don't belong there, namely Symphony X and Tourniquet.
Symphony X, being progressive power metal, found their niche on InsideOut Records. Tourniquet, however, are a Christian band and somehow feel strangely out of place here, save for the fact that they're a metal band.
I'm not really supposed to have any material from these guys, but I found this album and Crawl to China in a pawn shop for really cheap. C'mon, metal in a pawn shop? It had to be mine.
As much as I hate to say it, there's some worth to all this madness. Metal tradition dictates that I should write off all this because of its contrived nature and subject matter, but I just can't. MVoaTR is as diverse as Michael Jackson's taste for little boys, ranging from hardcore (mainly in the vox of the choruses), thrash, and even neoclassical and avant-garde(The real reason I say avant-garde is because of the flute in "Immunity Vector".)
The basic concept deals with how we all can succumb to a horrid suffocation when we become so self-absorbed that everyone and everything becomes void. Becoming in touch or back in touch with the Creator is a pivotal theme.
Opening this opus is " Besprinkled in Scarlet Horror", a song that denounces the gore imagery of modern groups and even goes so far as to defend the band's legitimacy as a Christian band.(i.e. 'You say this pace beckons evil spirits...But I care not what you call it...To me it's two hundred beats per minute...On tablature I scrawled it) Much thrashing is to be had here and throughout, but it's not quite as neckbreaking as some secular acts. It's almost as if the heavy weight of the lyrics drags the flow down into the mud a little bit, though there are some times when it gets really wicked, namely during the bridge of "Erratic Palpitations of the Human Spirit". Eh, if they just wanted to play straight thrash, then the thrashing would be more self-evident, but there's some traditional guitaring going on as well.
Perhaps the most interesting musical aspect of the album are the various classical influences weaved into song frameworks (Ted posthumously thanks Beethoven, Brahms, and Bach in the liner notes). Because there's a sort of progressive aspect to some of the songs, when they've lost their steam a little bit, you'll hear some creepy organ or string bit before the conclusion comes. "Immunity Vector" even sounds Yngwieish at times during its 5:11 duration and "The Skeezix Dilemma" has a compelling violin intro.
Is this a classic? No, but it's damn good for a Christian band. Definitely check this out if you get a chance.