When Deliverance returned to the music scene in 2007 with AS ABOVE-SO BELOW (Retroactive Records), it had once again been six years since their last album. On this their ninth studio album, Deliverance is: Jimmy P. Brown II (guitar and vocals), Mike Phillips (lead and rhythm guitar), Tim Kronyak (bass guitar), and Mike Reed (drums). Live, Corin Jae Scott was responsible for keyboards and backing vocals. Of this album Brown comments: “Our fan-base always seems to want WEAPONS OF OUR WARFARE-PART TWO. I have never understood that personally. I love Pink Floyd’s THE WALL. I love Queensryche’s OPERATION MINDCRIME. But I don’t want Part Two of those. I am content with those particular moments in time! I want to see where the band or artist wants to take me now on their next journey. I don’t simply want a ride through the old neighbourhood in a new car, if that makes any sense.”
AS ABOVE-SO BELOW begins with a wonderful, moving instrumental that incorporates elements of both classical and rock music. It is called ‘Legum Servi Sumus Ut Liberi Esse Possimus (Intro)’ which my computer translates from Latin to mean ‘We are slaves of the law so that we can be Free.’ This is followed by ‘Cause and Effect’ which speaks of the End Times which may not be that far off: “Zero tolerance for Biblical creed/Anti-Christ laying its seed/Mark the words written on the wall/Truth divides how the mighty will fall/Have you not seen? Have you not heard?/The day of shadows is at hand!/Your eyes have seen! Your ears have heard!/Decree this hour unto man!”
‘Return to Form’ reflects on how we as Christians tend to be overly judgmental: “Character flaws seems to be the latest trend/Like looking for lost loves by simply clicking send/Zeroes and Heroes returning from their graves/To spread the hatred cloaked with the words ‘Jesus Saves’/I never understood the need to criticize/In same likeness so far my words ostracize/The pointless task to tell what you already know/The course endeavor of sailing high and staying low.” The great title track ‘As Above-So Below’ draws from the Lord’s Prayer: “Let the mountains shake and the rocks declare Your glory/As it is with You, so mote it be with me/Let the rivers run strong and all nature bow with humility/As it is with You, so mote it be with me/Quicken the hearts to receive the unfettered plan/And lose yourself in the eyes of an egoless drowning man/Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, both light and in the dark/In my body the Holy Name, I bear the mark.”
Those who struggle with doubts about their salvation will be able to relate to ‘Screaming’ and these words: “Screaming out, intensity builds/Running from my fear of Hell/Trapped inside surrounding walls/By this power, will I be held?/Careful as I tread the night/Laying on this sea of shattered glass/I need the peace promised, is it waiting there for me? Or will I once again, meet the black and empty stare?” ‘Should we cross Paths’ lets the devil know he won’t have the final say in how the story of humanity plays out: “Justice lies beyond the Wailing Wall/To cleanse the threshing floor of failings all/A cure for humanity, to eliminate the waste/Should we cross paths, my victory you’ll taste/We’ve had all we can take! Nothing more to have!/The World disintegrates, should we cross paths.”
It is clear from the lyrics of the next song ‘Contempt’ that Brown has had some abusive experiences with those in religious authority: “You stole from me my life and the endearing part of my youth/You led me thru and all around in your circus you called ‘truth’/Take a knee and learn to submit, it’s the only way!/You said it was God, but somehow you were always in the way…Scatter the sheep and the Shepherd moves in for the kill/Shear the little ones many times, skin them only once of their will!” ‘Thistles’ starts off as a slow rock instrumental then builds and quiets again. It runs over eleven minutes!
‘My Love’ seems to be a love song for Brown’s wife Helen, who did a good job on this album’s artwork: “Remember when you first came into my sight/I fell just like a dream, it seems so long ago/Conscience, it did not take long/To see all that you were to me/My love, all that I am is yours/Soaring on the wings, they caress you in the dark/Listen to the waters that calm us in surreal/Believe the faith that’s led us this far/Emptiness filled by all that we feel.” Many of the lyrics to the closing track deal with the fact that there are many belief systems Brown does not agree with. He concludes: “I hear and see your point of view, and understand the arguments clear/I don’t want to end our talk with a fist of rage or a sighing tear/So let it be written, so let it be done/You have your views and I have mine/No sense to argue anymore/Because at least we agree we’re all part of mankind.”
Fans of the earliest Deliverance speed/thrash metal albums will find much to like here. Blazing electric guitar work and breakneck speed drumming and shouted vocals. Fans of later albums like RIVER DISTURBANCE, which fall more into the progressive metal category with sung vocals, also have much to cheer about here. This album seems to have more heart and passion than its predecessor ASSIMILATION. AS ABOVE-SO BELOW is Christian metal that kicks the devil in the rear end! I’m rating it 89% and recommending it to fans of Tourniquet, Vengeance Rising, Once Dead, and Ultimatum. For more info visit www.deliverancerocks.com.