We remained friends while I was in school and I even designed the Holy Saint logo. (It was hand drawn with pen and ink. This was the 80's, before the time of Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator). I went to several practices with Holy Saint, hung out at Rad's house a few times, but spent most of my time with Chris, attending church with him each Sunday at a downtown Full Gospel church.
The band recorded this first demo in 1987 and I was extremely happy to have it. I was hungry for good Christian metal at the time. While I still loved metal music, I was looking for some lyrics that would build up my faith, and this demo really did that for me. It was heavy! It was catchy! It was metal! I played it over and over again, much to my roommates dismay, who had since grown tired of my Christian ranting. (Sadly he dropped out of school and I have never heard from him again.) The music is similar in style to bands like Dokken and Stryper, although the production is of demo quality. Still, at the time I wasn't concerned with glossy production. Michael Amico was an animal on the bass and Rad could shred with the best of them. Chris' smooth, high vocals were a mixture of Micheal Sweet and Don Dokken.
Sadly this demo tape was never released and the copy I had on a Maxell tape was wearing very thin. This is where digital technology comes in. I stopped playing the tape years ago, and finally decided to have it transferred to CD. I even duplicated the cover art just as it was on the original, black and white cassette insert. I realize this is more of a story about myself than a review of a CD, but this little four song demo represents a big change in my life, one that I have been living ever since, so it means much more to me than the average album.
This was Holy Saint's one and only official, full length release. Only one song "Christ is the Answer" made it onto this album from the band's first demo tape. Originally released in 1990 on cassette tape only, Holy Saint was re-released in very limited quantities in 2005 on CD. So rare, in fact, that even though the CD was released in '05, I have already seen copies selling on eBay for over $30. Ouch! One thing of note, when the CD was released, the "message from the band" that was originally on the end of the tape was left off.
The music on this continues in a similar mode to the demo. Melodic heavy metal that is influenced by the likes of Dokken, Crue, Stryper, Barren Cross and even those early Malmsteen's Rising Forces albums. For the most part, the songs are all mid-paced heavy metal romps, although "Call On Your Name" is a ballad, which is pretty typical of most 80's Christian metal. The production on this album is a bit thin, although all the instruments can be clearly heard. Radical Rad's guitar work sounds great, but would have sounded fuller if it had been recorded on multiple tracks. As it stands it is obvious there is only one guitar recorded to one track. Chris Brooks gave the vocal performance of his life here. The new version of "Christ is the Answer" isn't quite as beefy as the original demo version. I actually prefer the '87 version. "Crying Out," "Love Never Fails" and "Give Your Life Away" are some of the heaviest songs on the disc although by today's metal standards, I suppose even these songs are pretty light weight. "Love Never Fails" was one of the songs I had remembered the band working on at some of the practice sessions I attended. The instrumental give the band a chance to stretch out a bit musically and show off. Perhaps I am a bit to connected to this band to give a fair, unbiased review, but even with the thin production I find this album to be so completely enjoyable.