Monday, June 13, 2011

Crucible Divine-Commitment

Tate Publishing

Sometimes in this line of work you have to approach bands and labels about promo requests and other times bands end up approaching you. Crucible Divine was a band I was familiar with thanks to their cover of “Ramming Speed” for the Deliverance tribute CD Temporary Insanity. So when word got out that they were looking for websites to review their full-length debut album I offered our services at Heavy Metal Time Machine. Well, actually it was a mutual friend who suggested our site but the result is the same and here I now sit having listened to the album a few times through to get a good feel for it. Their bio let me know that Crucible Divine was formed by Raymond Christie and that he recruited past band mates and fellow musicians/ songwriters to record this album. On lead vocals is Clint Glazner while lead guitar work comes from Kevin Wale. Wale and Christie have been friends for years and the pair share rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, and bass guitar duties on Commitment. On drums is Brandon Lopez from Christian death metal band Broken Flesh and the progressive rock band Vangough. With influences ranging from classic Christian acts like Deliverance, Stryper, Whitecross and Vengeance Rising to newer acts like Theocracy, Circus Maximus and Disciple I had high hopes for the album. Their cover song had showcased a band with feet firmly planted in traditional heavy metal with the slight nod towards Euro-metal as an added bonus. Commitment has those same influences with other mixed works finding their way into the party. First and foremost as this is a Christian heavy metal band the focus is of course on Jesus Christ. There are two worship numbers (“Praise To You” and “Let Your Reign”) as well as an acoustic version of “The Road Not Taken" (spoiler alert as it is a hidden track). Also the song "Tell Me" is an attempt at Whitecross/Stryper melodic hard rock. For whatever reason all of these songs are towards the end. If this was a LP release you would have one side that was hard rock/heavy metal while the other side would be more AOR in nature. Odd way to track the release for sure. With that though the first five songs are quite good. "Woe To You" has some thundering bass work and opens Commitment with a metal foot stomp. You can hear some Bloodgood, X-Sinner and Saint influences although it never quite reaches that level of traditional heavy metal heaviness. "Won't Let Go" has some nice lead guitar work early on and reminded me of bands like Guardian and Stryper. “The Road Not Taken” is an odd number in it's natural form. The acoustic nature of it is backed with some heavier rhythm guitar that for me at least...well, it reminded me of Metallica's work on albums like Load and Reload which really was quite surprising. Even after listening to it a few times I couldn't shake the feeling that somehow/someway there was a band out there that was influenced by those albums. With the different twists this album takes you need a great singer to step up to the plate. Vocalist Clint Glazner is talented no lie about that. His range on the album is a highlight and he makes cuts like "Commitment" work so well with his obvious passion. The number is a softer rocker that flirts with a heavy metal backbone. Only drawback is that you wait for the song to kick into double time and it doesn't. It offers this build up and then just ends. Rather a shame too as it has a catchy appeal to it. "No One Like You Left" is epic power metal in the making. With Glazner stretching his vocals the song takes a turn towards Savatage territory. These opening numbers are full of the power and intensity that the bottom end cuts of the album lack. As this is an independent release the production does suffer some. Nothing you couldn't learn to live with but it can be distracting. The lead guitar work is great when it's up in front. Problem is that too often though the bass and rhythm guitar parts seemed as if they were not mixed properly. Same can be said about the vocals which tend to pushed way up front. Vocalist Clint Glazner is great but the fact that this was not properly mastered kind of takes away from his impact. If Commitment had been mixed better it would be a solid album. As is it's a good Christian metal album but nothing else. It's good in that it sounds a lot like early 80's Christian heavy metal. Problem is one of the knocks about early Christian heavy metal bands was the bad production values and if you want to appeal to secular rockers you've got to nail that down. As such Christian heavy metal fans will appreciate this while secular fans might scoff. A good first release for Crucible Divine. With some work and a top notch producer the band could be onto something down the road.


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