298. Holy Soldier – Holy Soldier

HOLY SOLDIER (1990)

Holy Soldier

The eponymous debut release from Holy Soldier remains of the true landmark albums in the Christian rock and metal world . Myrrh Records finally put their substantial industry weight behind a metal band  and the band did not disappoint with a stellar debut that hits right in the center of the metal world at the time. Heavy drums and David Zaffiro produced wall of vocals and guiatrs created a legitimate metal album in any arena.

The great struggle the band would face through it’s decade long career was the inability to stay together for very long without personnel changes. This was most notable in the on again off again relationship lead vocalist Steve Patrick would have with the band. Most agree the best projects are those in which Patrick was a participant.

But that would all follow this classic debut. Fans of Guns and roses, Bon Jovi, Skid Row and a host of LA metal bands would find something here to0 appreciate. The Poison like power ballad, “The Pain Inside of Me,” showed the musical diversity as a real strength of the band. Where Stryper’s ballads often sounded cheesy and  by no means metal, this song shows the power of writing a great ballad within a specific genre.

But the ultimate strength lies in the rock! Stranger kick off the album and sounds like the best the genre could provide. Very strong musically with beefy production and a monster vocal performance. Patrick’s sexy roll to his pronunciation while singing separated him from many of his CCM counterparts.

Much of Christian metal (big hair or hard rock) had a tendency to suffer from average to mediocre production, especially debut projects. Here, with the help and support of Zaffiro and Myrrh, Holy Soldier was able to create a great record. And though the band would continue to create solid projects throughout its tenure, this debut would stand out as real treasure. Future releases would also carry a distinctly more :mainstream” lyrical content and one of the great values of this album is the fact the significantly more evangelical approach still sounded real and authentic within the genre.

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  1. May 3, 2011 at 2:02 am

    I have always felt the Holy Soldier debut was one of the true groundbreaking releases to come out of the Christian metal scene of the time. What I appreciate about the album is its professionalism: First, each of the ten songs “work” (there is no filler or skip buttons here). Second, production is solid from top to bottom. Third, what really set the album apart is the packaging, consisting of a six page “mini booklet”, with easy to read lyrics and full color band photos.

    “Holy Soldier” was released at the tail end of an era – and by that I mean the eighties – when many Christian metal albums consisted of 8-9 songs (and it wasn’t uncommon to hit the skip button a couple of times), production was spotty and packaging consisted of a simple fold out insert with lyrics printed in a font so small it required a magnifying glass to read.

    Now, do not get me wrong in that some exceptional Christian metal was released in the eighties (check out Sacred Warrior, Bloodgood and Guardian), but in my opinion the best era for Christian metal was the early to mid-nineties- when the songwriting, production and packaging came together all at once. Consider that Deliverance, Bride and Ken Tamplin made some of the finest artistic statement of their respective careers while some fantastic new groups debuted such as Novella, Die Happy, Red Sea and Veni Domine.

    • June 7, 2011 at 3:02 am

      I agree that there are no “skips” on this CD. This was great work from this band. Dead End Drive on their next album was the last song that I really liked from them though.

  2. John Rodermond
    March 7, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    I share the view that the Steven Patrick led Holy Soldier albums stand out from the crowd – primarily because of the incredible strength of his vocals.

    I have never been a die hard fan of heavy metal music per se. What I mean is that I never made a point of seeking out bands whose particular musical musical style would fall into a given genre. But rather when I encountered music that I felt was impressive regardless of genre, I bring would it home. For me, the first 2 releases from Holy Soldier are impressive. In my opinion they are two incredibly solid recordings and the production is impeccable – so I brought them home.

    Some may disagree with me here, but I feel Holy Soldier’s follow up to this album, Last Train is on the same level as their debut. Some may say its more commercial but it is the incredible musicianship and emotive vocals that continues to hold my interest years later when the style may not be not as “fashionable.”

    As I’m working my way through this, I’m seeing frequent honourable mention given to Guardian. I may have to (re)visit some of their music and discover something I missed.

    If Steven Patrick could have sorted out his relationship with the group I’m certain I would have embraced additional projects by Holy Soldier. They were just THAT good.

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