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Review: Shatter Messiah - God Burns Like Flesh
Shatter Messiah
God Burns Like Flesh

Label: Dockyard 1
Year released: 2007
Duration: 44:40
Tracks: 9
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: December 1, 2009
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Readers Rating
God Burns Like Flesh

Rated 3.82/5 (76.36%) (11 Votes)

Shatter Messiah, America's least known purveyor of sonic blasphemy in the form of thrashy Power Metal, came out with this album a few years ago, to which it was met with mostly disappointment by people who aren't cool. All I really have to say is, fuck that! This album just kicks ass. It is a maelstrom of aural fury and visceral grit, with chunky, angry riffage, a killer, evil groove and the epitome of pissed-off Power Metal vocals. Shatter Messiah is pretty much the new most aggressive Power Metal band out there, due in no small part to the heavy doses of Thrash and groove they've been smoking at the waterhole, but still extremely aggressive and powerful all the same. In fact, without the versatile, melodic vocals of Greg Wagner and the occasional melodic interlude from the wall of heaving sonic steel on the guitars' end, this wouldn't really be Power Metal-ish at all. Oh, and yes, there is a bit of groove from time to time on here, but that isn't a bad thing when a band can master the style and use it to create darker, more angry soundscapes, as Shatter Messiah do.

The band is pissed the fuck off, and they intend to let the listeners know it, with a lot of ire and rage seeping out of every pore on this album. The guitars are massive and crushing, the tempos punishing and the drums as barbaric as can be. This album is short, but with the amount of sheer fury pumped into it, how could it be any longer without losing momentum? Greg Wagner's vocals are a real strong point for the band, as he sounds like the best parts of Hansi Kursch and Russel Allen rolled up and set on fire. They're demonic as hell and they work really well with the sound, making everything sound ten times more diabolical than they would otherwise. I really can't stress enough how good these vocals are, making every line count, commanding, wrathful and passionate. The lyrics are pretty good, being rebellious and full of venomous spite. Definitely fits with the music to a tee, and also one of the things that this album has over the debut, being more aggressive and professional sounding.

Kicking off with the thunderous "Idolater," the band wastes no time in applying a heavy metal boot to your face, and they keep it there for the entire duration of the album. There are a lot of great songs here, from the blaspheming, writhing title track to the cannibalistic "Stripped of Faith," but the album really gets good toward the end, specifically with the song "Dirge of Christ." This track just smokes, with rumbling guitars, hateful distortion and a vocal performance that could literally put the fear of the devil into anyone. It is here that Greg Wagner really reaches his vocal peak, spitting bile and flame through a microphone and disintegrating all who deny his prowess. "Buried in Black" is one of the album's best, too, with its epic build-ups and intensity, with hints of supremely dark and majestic melody buried subtly within. "This is the Day" knocks your ass flat, and then the moving "Tomorrow Immortal," which is probably the manliest ballad ever written, will floor you as the album comes to close, with a haunting chorus and somber chords shaking the foundations of your very soul.

So, really, this is one of the best of 2007, mature, heavy and all around kick ass. It might not be quite as good as the debut Never to Play the Servant, but that doesn't mean it isn't a great album anyway. Shatter Messiah are an ace band that I will really look forward to hearing more from in the future. God Burns Like Flesh is a stirring album full of dark, introspective and fiery anthems from a killer band who aren't resting on their laurels, and frankly, if you like metal as a genre at all, chances are you'll be able to find something to like about it. Get this if you have a shred of metal blood in you at all.

Other related information on the site
Review: Hail the New Cross (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Never To Play The Servant (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
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