Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby
Back in 1984 Stryper released 'The Yellow And Black Attack', Saint released 'Warriors Of The Son' and the term "Christian metal" was officially born. One of the overlooked Christian metal bands of the era was Messiah, who were formed in 1979 by Charles Michael. The initial line-up folded in 1981 and later reformed with Charles Michael (vocals), Scott Wood (guitar), Peter Smoltz (bass), Dan Knowles (keyboard) and Keith Behnke (drums). Although the single "Final Warning" had been released on a compilation album during their early days, it wasn't until 1984 that Messiah would release their first album. The opener "Who's To Blame" has those galloping riffs associated with Iron Maiden, whilst "Outta Control" uses much slower, power metal guitar akin to Judas Priest. They also draw from the melodic side of '70s heavy metal and compare to Nazareth and Blue Oyster Cult in "Heavenly Metal". The later part of the album takes on a much darker theme with the Alice Cooper-influenced "Mistaken Identity" being about demons and the overblown "Lucifer" featuring a spoken narration of Revelation concerning the number of the beast. It finishes with "Final Warning" and its apocalyptic message "Now here we stand/On the edge of time/Won't you heed this final sign?/As the day follows night, and darkness covers the light/The revelation starts to unwind/ Now, this is your final, final warning/So many times you turned and walked away/This is your last and final calling/This is your final, final warning". Due to the rarity of the vinyl recording driving the price up to $1,000 it prompted Retroactive Records to re-release it on CD for the first time in 2010. It needs to be mentioned that the production retains that early '80s quality, which does sound slightly dated now.
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