Still need to check out the rest of their discography, but thanks for the links. I'll admit to having trepidation because it's often that bands lose their creative mojo on their subsequent releases. Just found out the song "Amelia" was inspired by a fan who was relating a story of her traumatic childhood to the band. Inspired by such openness, the band wrote a song dedicated to the woman.
On another note, it's no secret I'm an unironic fan of Christian Metal despite being secular and agnostic. Often, it's tempting to dismiss Christian Metal as commercialized dross marketed to an already willing-to-receive audience, and even competent bands pale in comparison to their secular counterparts, but on occasion, some masterpieces which happen to be monuments to each band's faith surface. I've previously sang the praises of Saviour Machine and Paramæcium, both of who have produced classics that even the staunchest atheist could enjoy musically.
And then, there are some bands who have produced some of the quirkiest Metal I've laid ears on. Enter Christian thrashers Torn Flesh or what would happen if Common Filth formed a Metal band:https://youtu.be/DwWdo96ptYA
Ever the lover of outsider music, I discovered the band's backstory courtesy of Tim Lybarger's fanpage for Torn Flesh that features a bio, lyrics, photos, interview, memorabilia and more:http://www.timlybarger.com/tornflesh/
The band's origins are not too dissimilar to many others, but have the added twist of fundamentalist Christians performing music long associated with The Beast. Fresh out of high school in 1982, Greg Hudson yearned to perform extreme music for young minds, but was thoroughly disgusted by the lifestyles promoted by mainstream Rock bands. Greg would meet up with likeminded individuals and form Psalms 150 Ministries to both release music and spread the Gospel. After recording a few demos and appearing on a few compilations in the Christian Metal underground, the band would release their first and only full-length LP Crux of the Mosh
Blistering power chords and thrashy tremolos are punctuated by Greg's unconventional style where he unleashed a torrent of lyrics completely out of rhythm like an auctioneer on speed. Perhaps not too coincidentally, Greg Hudson sounds suspiciously like Greg Turkington from Faxed Head, but that's another story.
Much like the band's contemporaries, the lyrics feature clunky and inept sloganeering that ranges from gobsmackingly inane to unintentionally hilarious, which includes a diss track called "World Pollution" aimed at several leading Metal bands from the '80s like WASP, Venom, Ratt, Slayer, Skid Row and Mötley Crüe. And then, there's the tortured metaphor that fuels "Man's Best Friend" that compares people rejecting God and Jesus to cruel pet owners who abuse their pooches. No matter what the intentions may be, likening the highest authority and sole source of divinity to a domesticated animal diminishes the power such a being commands.
In spite of all that, there's something charming and even admirable about Torn Flesh's crusade. The band's revolt against the masses expressed through performative proselytism comes across as very Punk in terms of pure, uninhibited self-expression on one's own terms no matter what others think, including their immediate peers. I admire dedication to one's convictions in music and art where the expression make performers transcend their perhaps immediately lackluster means and become something much more powerful. Final note: to performers of Christian "Black" Metal, why bother? Unlike other genres of Metal that are open to interpretation, that scene strictly belongs to your most dedicated and fervent enemies. Taken for what it is, Christian "Black" Metal is music performed by Lambs playing in the dark or perhaps playing at the dark. Depending on how charitable I feel, it is either a nonsensical paradox or misbegotten novelty no more worthy of respect than a self-professed vegan willfully employed by Armour Franks would be.