Released: 2007, Dockyard1
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Arguably one of the most positive surprises in 2006 for me personally was undoubtedly Shatter Messiah´s debut album NEVER TO PLAY THE SERVANT. Everything in that particular release reeked of the band´s true potential to write some aggressive and brutal heavy metal/powerthrash metal tunes, in such a clever way that never left any questions as to whether we would hear more from them in the coming months. NEVER TO PLAY THE SERVANT received many great reviews everywhere. Besides that, the music media cannot be wrong - right? ;o)
Shatter Messiah´s follow-up album, GOD BURNS LIKE FLESH (what a cool album title, by the way), is also a very strong sounding continuum from the band, displaying Shatter Messiah´s true sense for some killer song structures that capture listeners´ ears immediately. As reported in my previous review about their debut album, NEVER TO PLAY THE SERVANT, Shatter Messiah should easily appeal to the fans of such bands as Nevermore, Beyond Fear, Pain Museum, Annihilator and the likes due to those bands´ continuous quest for the more brutal edge of heavy metal.
GOD BURNS LIKE FLESH contains 8 new songs from Shatter Messiah, fulfilling a promise about these fellows´ capability to come up with another very good album on their roster. As always, Greg Wagner is incredible again with his vocals parts, reaching easily the same, high calibre level with his absolutely strong vocal performance like, let´s say David Wayne (R.I.P.; Metal Church) and Warrel Dane (Nevermore) did/does in their own bands. His vocals are very easy to like indeed if you just respect the skills of a professional and powerful singer. Greg´s damn awesome anyway - no doubts!
The band´s technical 6-string virtuosos prove to be quite amazing wizards with all the twisted riffs, the melodic leads (there´s some really tasteful lead work in "Idolater"), etc. that they have contributed for this fully enjoyable album. All their guitar stuff is basically on a pro-level on GOD BURNS... although it also needs to be mentioned that this time our dynamic duo hasn´t put so much emphasis on straight and heavy thrash riffs as they did on their debut, but they replaced some of those straight thrash riffs with more complex riffs, and added a few extra hooks here and there into the song structures. In fact, due to that I would even say Shatter Messiah has taken a step further towards similar musical fields in which Nevermore have been wandering on their couple of latest albums, but still maintaining this more brutal edge in their music. Whether that can be considered a good or bad thing for them, I guess it´s the listeners eventually that should give a final verdict about all that then.
When listening to such songs off this murderously brilliant album as "Idolater" - which appears to be a real heavy, metallic roller, an epic-like "God Burns Like Flesh" with its Nevermore-ish hints, "Pathway" (fuckin´ wicked riffing + lead work in this tune), a shamelessly wicked sounding "Stripped of Faith", "Dirge of the Christ (this one should be nominated as the ´Most Crusher Track´ on G.B.L.F.)" and a beautifully frenzied "Buried in Black" with its death metal touches flashing through occasionally, one is pretty much sold for the undivided excellence of this album. The only song that I personally don´t care for too much, is the album´s 2nd last track, "This Is the Day". It just sounded a bit rushed in my opinion, having not the similar potential to stand out compared to the rest of the songs on this otherwise kick-ass album. Yes, opinions differ, but "This is the Day" simply didn´t move me that much. Greg´s vocals were probably the only good thing in that tune. But like I already said there, otherwise that particular song in question doesn´t reach the same standards like let´s say, "God Burns Like Flesh" or "Dirge of the Christ". But on the other hand, that´s probably only me who felt this way.
GOD BURNS LIKE FLESH is definitely a more varied, melodic and overall diverse album than their predecessor was, and I can already see this album to be nominated on many metallers´ ´Top 10 Albums Of 2007´ lists. What a strong and nearly perfect release from this Shatter Messiah camp again. Seems like this particular diamond in question has finally been polished to its near perfect shape on GOD BURNS LIKE FLESH. I for one, am very curious to see what´s gonna be ahead of them in the future when it´s time for their 3rd album...