Spittin Jonah - Louder Than Hell (Bofus Records) 2000
1. "Fight the Flesh"
Spittin' Jonah are a rare breed in this time and age. Not only do they play straight ahead, galloping heavy metal, but they are also a Christian band. While this type of band use to be in abundance, they are far and few between any more. The classic metal influences are quite intriguing for this long time metalhead, even though the production doesn't match that of their secular counterparts. There are some heavy Iron Maiden influences, especially to the older DiAnno era of the band. A couple songs are almost too similar to Maiden. "Proclamation" for example, has striking similarities to Maiden's "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son". That is not to say, however, that this band is trying to sound like an Iron Maiden clone. Actually I hear a variety of influences in their music. At times I am also reminded of Armored Saint, especially in the vocals, as well as classic Christian bands like Saint and Messiah Prophet. The vocals are mostly clean, and I must confess I liked the moments when vocalist Billy Hagen Blax added in some of those higher pitched screams like in "Enemy" or when he screams "devil" in "In Disguise." When he is not doing this, he lacks charisma I prefer to hear in metal. I like vocalists who either have that powerhouse style like Bruce Dickinson, Mike Lee and Rob Halford or a vocalist who takes it to the extreme with that "love 'em or hate 'em" style like Udo, Blitz or Dale Thomspson. Lyrically, this band is right on track, no-holds-bar Christianity. The lyrical approach almost gives the disc a worship-like spirit, which is what I enjoyed most about this band. Looking forward to their next disc, as I can imagine that with a couple of years of practice together, they will only improve and become a tighter unit.
Spittin Jonah - Sphere Of Resistance (BroFus Records) 2005
I had honestly thought these guys had gone by the wayside after not hearing anything from them in five years. However, here in my hands is the new Spittin' Jonah CD, "Sphere of Resistance". As I sit reading through the credits on the CD cover while listening for the first time I was surprised to see my name listed in the thanks. Right on! Now I have to give this CD a good review, right? LOL! Seriously though, Spittin' Jonah have taken some major leaps forward in quality from their first album. First of all the production is much improved. The guitars have a nice crunch, the drums are pounding without being overpowering, the guitar leads shred and the bass is thumping. In general the production just makes the bands sound much heavier. The songwriting has improved as well, once again retaining the early Iron Maiden comparisons but adding in equal elements of Priest, Metal Church and even some progressive elements. Vocalist Billy Blax reminds me of Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger), King Fowley (October 31) with a touch of Paul DiAnno as well. I must confess, on the first listen the vocals threw me off until I began to appreciate them with repeated listens. I think the problem is that Blax lacks range, but he certainly makes up for it in charisma and aggression. "Sphere of Resistance"is a CD for all those desiring some good 'ol heavy metal with a message that never gets old.
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