Excellent release from M8 Records. Saint's first album has never seen release on CD, so this reissue becomes essential to Saint fans and collectors of classic 1980's heavy metal. The inclusion of 'The Gentiles' demo is a nice bonus as well. Unfortunately the pressing of this disc was limited to only 1,000 copies which sold out almost as soon as the disc was released. Musically early Saint had the same mixture of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden that the next two discs had but the production is much more raw, especially on the demo/bonus tracks. The entire "Warriors of the Son" album sounds more like a demo than an actual professional release. However, in '84 there was very little Christian metal out, so this was a welcomed addition to my collection back then. Now it has nostalgic value, so the poor production doesn't really matter that much to me. The disc was not remixed, but was remastered making it sound a bit better than the original vinyl or tape release. The insert, while not as nice as some recent re-releases, includes a short bio and lyrics. I checked out the labels site to see what they had this to say about the disc:
Hmmm, I definitely would not say that Saint were thrash innovators as Saint are not even remotely thrash metal, but they certainly were pioneers in the new Christian heavy metal scene in the early 80's. Never knew about the Armored Saint vs. Saint controversy though.
This was the first Saint album I bought back in 1986 and it become one of my favorite albums for a very long time. I had become a new Christian around this time and this album came at a very crucial time in my life, so it has a lot of nostalgic value for me as well. "Times End" is a solid slab of heavy metal in the tradition of Judas Priest. Songs like "Steel Killer" and "Island Prisoner" are just so darned infectious. To this date the mere mention of these songs brings the choruses echoing through my head. Saint had everything; heavy, distorted guitars, catchy songwriting, shredding solos, and screaming vocals. Josh Kramer has a great voice that echoes Rob Halford metal howl in many ways. I often hear people disrespect Saint saying they were a "Judas Priest clone." This simply is not the case. Saint most certainly has their own style and personality but like any other metal band from the early 80's, cut their teeth on bands like Sabbath and Priest and those influences are certainly present here.
My original Pure Metal copy is autographed by Dee Harrington, Josh Kramer and Richard Lynch.
The 2002 Millenium Eight Records/M8 reissue add the Live At the Cornerstone 1986 bonus disc. The sound quality is unfortunately pretty bad, even though the performance is good. This is probably not a disc for the casual fan, but essential for the Saint fanatic.
Saint continue in the Judas Priest/Iron Maiden mode, but add a bit more melody to this, their last album before a very long break. "Too Late for Living" is a classic album and one that regularly frequents my CD player. It is one of the best Christian heavy metal albums to come out of the 80's.
Saint - The Perfect Life (Armor) 1999
1999 and Saint decides, after a decade apart, to reform. Sometimes I wish these classic bands would just stay apart because when they reform, half the time, they suck. "The Perfect Life" is a perfect example. Boring garage rock that doesn't even come close to the classic heavy metal Saint gave us in the mid-80's. "The Runner" is a passable song, touching on some of their past greatness, but even it is not up to the standards of "Times End." Biggest disappointment is in the vocals which are not by former vocalist Josh Kramer but by new guy Tim Lambertson, who just doesn't have the range, the aggression, or the charisma.
2004 saw the reunion of vocalist Josh Kramer with Saint and what transpires is a trip. The band bring back their classic sound as if it hadn't been a decade since their last release together. "In the Battle" really could have been the follow-up to "Too Late For Living" including a reprise of the classic "Star Pilot". I suppose reviewers are going to slam this CD for being to "dated". However, for those who enjoy the classic metal sounds of Saint of old should enjoy a trip down heavy metal highways. This is OLD SCHOOL HEAVY METAL: thumpin' bass, crunchy E-chord chuggin', ripping guitar solos, screamin' vocals, 100% head-banging heavy metal. Josh Kramer's vocals, while not quite as Halford-like as the old Saint classics, still sounds good and he does let out an occasional high pitched scream. For the most part, however, he stays in a midrange, clean style that fits well the power chords and screamin' guitar work. Melody was key factor in early Saint and is certainly a key factor here as well. It's noteworthy that several of these tracks give credit to former Saint guitarist Dee Harrington, however he is not listed as a part of the band or having had anything to do with the recording. With no attempt to update their sound, like on the abysmal "Perfect Life", this is classic Saint doing what they do best.
Saint - Warriors of the Son [20th Anniversary Edition] (Armor Records) 2004
1. Plan 2 (5:35)
The original Saint "Warriors of the Son" EP was recorded in 1984 on an 8-track recorder. Back then there wasn't much Christian metal around, so despite the very thin production, the album saw plenty of spin time on my turntable due to the fact that the songs were still good. However, once the band follow-up albums were released, I rarely revisited "Warriors" due to the production. Well there seems to be a trend in the last few years of bands re-recording their old material with new technology. Anthrax, Saxon, Molly Hatchet, Testament, Twisted Sister and Exciter are just a few bands that have jumped on this idea. Fortunately Saint decided to re-record their debut EP as a sort of celebration of their 20th anniversary as a band. With a new cover, the new, improved recording, and the addition of two songs not previously available, this CD became a necessity for this long time Saint fan. The band stays true to the original songs for the most part and vocalist Josh Kramer hasn't lost his voice over the years. These familiar songs sound great with this heavy production. The two new tracks, "Reaper" and "Killers and the Destroyers", both written by Lynch/Mahan in the very early 80's fit in nicely and round out the album quite nicely. While some may complain that they would rather just have new material, I am quite pleased with this CD purchase and am glad to finally have a recording of these songs that are worthy of repeated listens.
Had this CD signed by guitarist Dee Harrington, bassist Richard Lynch and vocalist Josh Kramer when the band shared the stage with my bands at the Up From the Ashes II festival in California, Sept. 2, 2006.
I was excited to hear that Saint was going to be releasing a live album. I have been a longtime fan of Saint and was looking forward to that raw, live energy that live recordings capture. However, while this recording is raw, it doesn't quite capture the band as I had hoped. Instead of sounding thicker and heavier than the studio albums, the recording is thin, raw, and just above a bootleg recording. Of course, considering this is probably a no-budget recording, it's not bad either. It's certainly better than the Live At Cornerstone 1986 recording that was released as a bonus disc to M8's reissue of "Times End". On this recording, the band is tight and the chosen songs are all excellent. Likewise, Josh Kramer does an admirable job belting out those old classics, falsetto screams and all. I also can appreciate the fact that this is really live without a ton of studio overdubs. Part of the charm of live recordings is the audience and their interaction with the band, however there is little to no audience in this recording. Overall, this is a fun listen for Saint die-hards, but if I really wish that this classic band was given a decent budget to record a proper live album. My copy is autographed by vocalist Josh Kramer.
Josh Kramer of Saint - Live in Germany (independent) 2006
This is an unusual disc in that it is basically Saint live, but it isn't really Saint. Basically Josh Kramer flew out to Germany to perform with members of other bands filling in for missing Saint members. The rest of the band was comprised of members of Ivory Knight and Adorned Grave drummer Stefan Lang. The album was recorded on October 22, 2005, at the Headbanger¹s Night festival in Nanzdietschweiler, Germany. This is basically the equivalent of a bootleg made by fans for fans. The only reason it is not a bootleg is because it was officially released with Josh Kramer's permission and therfore it is not illegal. The sound quality here isn't terrible, but isn't exactly top quality either. One major annoyance for me is that there are spaces between each of the songs, almost like a cheap CDR bootleg you might trade for. To me this is just worst part of this CD. Otherwise, the perfmance is fairly tight and Josh sounds good. This is 100% live, so there are the minor issues like rim shots, voices tweaking, etc., but to me that only adds to the oveall live sound. The set list is also quite good with songs spanning Saint's entire catalog, minus the abysmal "Perfect Life". Personally, of the two almost simultaneously released live albums I prefer the "Live 05".
1. "The Conquest"
The mighty Saint return with their third "new" full length album since reuniting with Josh Kramer in 2004. With their first reunion album "In the Battle" Saint revisited their classic sound and created an album that I think is equal to their classic 80's albums. The follow-up in 2006 had Saint updating their sound to a heavier sound, while still retaining that classic heavy metal tag. With "Crime Scene Earth" Saint are yet again going for a more aggressive, heavier sound, while at the same time retaining their classic sound. On my first listen to this CD I began to wonder what was going on with Josh Kramer's voice. He just didn't seem like himself and also, the vocals seemed a bit less focused and buried in the mix. It didn't take me but one more listen to realize that Josh wasn't singing on most of this album. Josh Kramer actually only sings on "Half a times Measure", "Crime Scene Earth" and "Invader". The rest of the songs see bassist/songwriter Richard Lynch handling the lead vocal duties. He uses a slightly more gritty style, although he does have some similarities to Josh's more mid-range vocals. What he lacks are those high, falsetto screams that Josh often uses. I personally don't find this fact to be too distracting, although I have read that other fans don't like Rich's vocals.
The song writing on "Crime Scene Earth" is still top notch Saint, in my opinion. "Half a Times Measure", "Everlasting God", and the title track are all great songs with that classic Saint sound. If Saint were to put out a "best of" collection, these songs would easily fit in with their past recordings. "Lost" is a great song as well. This one has a classic 1970's Judas Priest vibe to it. On this one song I would have liked to have heard Josh singing as I could imagine the song ending with one his signature high notes. "Invader" is a Judas Priest cover, and a great choice of a cover at that. I personally found this cover to be quite good. I'm glad they chose a more obscure song like this one. Josh Kramer proves here why he is often compared to the mighty Rob Halford with a powerful vocal performance.
Unfortunately the production seems a little flat on this album. It's certainly not bad by any stretch of the imagination. All instruments are heard clearly and nothing is overly distracting, other than I would have liked to have heard the vocals just a bit more. As with the past few albums, "Crime Scene Earth" was independently recorded and released, which says volumes about this band's dedication to the underground metal scene. The album was produced by Richard Lynch & Dee Harrington. Also on board for this album are drummer Larry London and longtime guitarists Dee Harrington and Jerry Johnson.
1. "The Conquest" [instrumental] (1:15)
2. "Half A Times Measure" (6:05)
3. "Terror in the Sky" (5:30)
4. "Everlasting God" (4:23)
5. "Crime Scene Earth" (4:25)
6. "The Judas In Me" (3:35)
7. "Too Many" (5:03)
8. "Invader" (4:15)
9. "Bended Knee" (3:29)
10. "Lost" (4:05)
In 2008 the mighty Saint returned with their third "new" full length album since reuniting with Josh Kramer in 2004. With their first reunion album "In the Battle" Saint revisited their classic sound and created an album that I think is equal to their classic 80's albums. The follow-up in 2006 had Saint updating their sound to a heavier, more aggressive style, while still retaining that classic heavy metal tag. With "Crime Scene Earth" Saint are yet again going for a heavier sound, while at the same time retaining their classic sound. The original release in 2008 was put out independently by the band. On my first listen to that CD I began to wonder what was going on with Josh Kramer's voice. He just didn't seem like himself and also, the vocals seemed a bit less focused and buried in the mix. It didn't take me but one more listen to realize that Josh wasn't singing on most of this album. Josh Kramer actually only sang on "Half a Times Measure", "Crime Scene Earth" and "Invader". The rest of the songs see bassist/songwriter Richard Lynch handling the lead vocal duties. He used a more gruff and gritty style, although he does have some similarities to Josh's more mid-range vocals. What he lacks are those high, falsetto screams that Josh often uses. I personally don't find this fact to be too distracting, although I have read that other fans don't like Rich's vocals.
Unfortunately the production on the original, independent CD was a little flat. It certainly wasn't horrible by any stretch of the imagination. All instruments are heard clearly and nothing is overly distracting, other than I would have liked to have heard the vocals just a bit more. As with the past few albums, "Crime Scene Earth" was independently recorded and released, which says volumes about this band's dedication to the underground metal scene. The album was produced by Richard Lynch & Dee Harrington. Also on board for this album are drummer Larry London and longtime guitarists Dee Harrington and Jerry Johnson.
Thankfully in 2009 Retroactive Records picked up "Crime Scene Earth" for release. However, not only was the album remixed and remastered but Josh Kramer was brought back in to re-record vocals on all tracks. Indeed, this is a big improvement. With the new version, "Crime Scene Earth" could very well be Saint's best release since those classic 80's releases. The guitar tone here echoes back to the classic 1970's Judas Priest sound. Of course, the song writing on "Crime Scene Earth" is top notch Saint, in my opinion. "Half a Times Measure", "Everlasting God", and the title track are all great songs with that classic Saint sound. If Saint were to put out a "best of" collection, these songs would easily fit in with their past recordings. "Lost" is a great song as well. This one has a classic 1970's Judas Priest vibe to it. With the addition of Josh Kramer on vocals, this song is quite spectacular. "Invader" is a Judas Priest cover, and a great choice of a cover at that. I personally found this cover to be exceptional. I'm glad they chose a more obscure song like this one. Josh Kramer proves here why he is often compared to the mighty Rob Halford with a powerful vocal performance.
The 2009 re-release also contains new artwork by Rexorcist and photography by Kristian Thompson. Rex has also done covers for Tourniquet and Ultimatum, among many others. The cover art is far superior to the original release. The image on the cover of the spiked wristband and hand holding the earth echos back to Priest's "British Steel", yet has a more modern feel as well. There use to be a day when many metal fans would buy albums based on the cover art alone and discover a great new band because of it. That's the sort of feel the new cover art has for "Crime Scene Earth". An excellent cover for an excellent CD!
Trivia note: The hand on the cover is my own. Check out Ulitmatum's "Lex Metalis" CD cover and notice the spiked wristband on that cover as well.
Saint - Hell Blade (Retroactive) 2010
"The year was 1983 and I was a Christian who loved heavy metal music...I decided to create the sound I wanted to hear myself." So starts the biography written by Saint bassist Richard Lynch that is included in the liner notes of the 2011 3-disc release "The Originals" on Retroactive Records. The simple statement says a lot about Saint and their music. These guys were fans of the music they played, but they felt a need to share a positive, Christian message within heavy metal. In the early 80's heavy metal had seen a new birth with the popularity of the NWOBHM movement, as bands like Judas Priest and Black Sabbath releasing some of their most popular albums in years. The message of many bands was fairly dark and there were very few bands writing positive lyrics. Saint's "Warriors of the Son" was one of the earliest.
Saint - The Revelation (Retroactive) 2012
Christian metal diehard, Saint, return in 2012 with yet another platter of traditional heavy metal. This time around the band features the siren wails of Josh Kramer on vocals, guitarist Jerry Johnson and the rhythm section of Richard Lynch (bass) and Jared Knowland (drums). As on the original "Crime Scene Earth" CD, Lynch also handles lead vocal duties, though only on one song this time around. For a years now Saint has been a revolving door of musicians with Lynch and Kramer being the constant and their drummers spontaneously combusting and disappearing in bizarre gardening accidents. But aside from drummers, there was the departure of long-time guitarist Dee Harrington, then Josh Kramer relocated to a different part of the country. Despite the distance between the band and Kramer, the band continued to record together, but now wants to tour and have a local vocalist. Enter new vocalist Brian Phyll Miller who premiers his vocals on the titled cut for the album.
1. Broad Is The Gate (4:12)
Much like Motorhead is led by bassist Lemmy and Mortification is led by bassist Steve Rowe, Saint is led by bassist Richard Lynch, who is the sole original member. "Broad is the Gate" is the first album since 1999's "Perfect Life" to not feature seminal vocalist Josh Kramer. It has been Lynch and Kramer who have kept the tradition and sound of Saint alive, so the first and most obvious question is, how is the new vocalist? Brian Phyll Miller has a decent set of pipes and sits well atop the band's crunchy, traditional metal sound. However, his voice sounds nothing like Kramer, thus changing the overall sound of the band. Is this a bad thing? I would say it is not, however, if anyone is looking for "Broad is the Gate" to sound like "Time's End" or "Crime Scene Earth 2.0", they will most likely be disappointed.
Musically Saint continue to crank out some killer, mid-paced heavy metal chock full of crunchy guitar riffs, melodic guitar licks, a thumping rhythm section and some solid vocal hooks. There are some tendencies towards more modern power metal in songs like "We Will Fight". "Never Same” also finds Saint branching out in mixing in some symphonic elements. However these more modern influences don't really detract from the band's overall sound. "Broad Is the Gate" is a completely enjoyable heavy metal album, even if it doesn't quite sound like classic Saint.
Back to Index