Released: 2006, Mausoleum Records
Looking for a bible lesson? Rivera Bomma are going to give you one, whether you like it or not… well, I guess if you don’t want one you could just not buy the album, but I don’t have a choice, so you don’t have a choice but to hear about it.
Coming together in 2000, guitarist Rod Rivera got together with vocalist John Bomma. By 2001 they’d self-released their debut album, INVISIBLE FORCE which was released in 2002 by Secret Port. Now in 2006 Rivera and Bomma have come together with bassist Taz Robles and drummer Steven Riker for I AM GOD. The new album sees the band further explore their power metal sound, well, not really explore, since there’s nothing new here, but they’ve written a new album in the same style. Musically this is off the slightly fluffy guitar virtuoso power metal that most people have a hard time stomaching, mainly because the riffs are usually a dime a dozen and it’s up to the vocalist to try and save the song. Is there too much different here? Well, Rod Rivera doesn’t get into a whole lot of guitar histrionics, but unfortunately his riffs aren’t terribly impressive. Some of them are catchy and will stick but in most cases it’s up to John Bomma to save the song, which he’s able to do here and there. John Bomma has a very full voice and is quite strong in his mid and lower ranges, there isn’t much of an upper range here but he does have a slightly operatic tinge to his voice, which keeps things at least a little bit different than the norm.
With “I Am God” the tone is set for the rest of the album. Telling the story of God creating man, the earth, up to the crucifixion of Jesus, obviously in a very positive light, and undoubtedly many will have problems with this, especially with the exceptionally preachy tone that pervades much of the album. The opening song does stand as a fairly good song though, Bomma’s vocals carrying the track, especially by the time the chorus comes around. This track stands as easily the most enjoyable as it seems to have the most passion behind it, something a lot of bands that deal with Christian topics lack. “You Are My Child” employs some mid-paced, heavy chugging with Bomma’s vocals soaring overtop. Keyboards are employed in an attempt to accent the track; unfortunately, they feel more like they’re getting in the way than anything else. From here on out though, things become less enjoyable as Bomma’s melodies can’t save the pedestrian riffs.
There are moments in “He Died For You” (snare rolls into solo section at 3:57) and “Help” (the pounding, driving main riff) that work and are enjoyable. The rest of those songs as well as the remaining tracks on the album generally fall flat, the main problem being a lack of excitement. There’s nothing that’s going to floor a single listener. You have a few tired commercial sounding ballads, an acoustic piece, and lots of plodding riffs, not to mention “Sing for Me” which just sounds incredibly wimped out.
The main problem I find here is that the music just isn’t strong enough, Rivera Bomma play into their style’s usual traps, and if a band is going to do that, they better be doing it as good, or better, than their peers. Unfortunately I AM GOD just can’t stack up to anyone else and is better left alone.