Celestial Messenger Stricken (Roxx Productions) 2008

1. "Awakened" (3:54)
2. "Deception" (3:26)
3. "Final Day" (4:55)
4. "Won't Give In" (3:51)
5. "Gethsemane" (5:03)
6. "Vicious Cycle" (3:36)
7. "Creation" (4:30)
8. "Commander" (4:31)
9. "Heavy Laden" (3:35)
10. "Ain't Got Nothin'" (3:24)
11. "Wait and See" (3:49)
12. "Fallen Land" (5:04)
13. preaching/live tracks (14:01)

Stricken were formed from the ashes of Tower of Hundred and are not to be confused with the 80's Christian metal band Stryken (with a 'y'). California's Stricken are a simplistic, groove based, modern hard rock band. For the most part Striken are going for a radio rock sound similar to Godsmack and Disturbed. On my first listen through several songs reminded me of Godsmack, especially some of the vocals of Dave Miriwether. However, it's pretty obvious that Striken come from an old school metal background as some of their compositions have that old school feel to them, as well as the fact that they didn't totally omit guitar solos. There are a few choice guitar leads to be found scattered throughout this CD. Having seen this band live several times, can attest that the studio album doesn't quite have the same aggression that the band has live. For proof of this, check out the bonus live tracks at the end of the CD. Still, the production here is quite good for an independent band. The guitars are downtuned and heavy, but not muddy, the bass guitar is clearly heard and the overall sound is well mixed.

Striken are a Christian band and are obviously not trying to hide that fact whatsoever. Their lyrics are straight-forward pleas for salvation to the unbeliever. As a matter of fact, the CD finishes off with guitarist Corey Newton preaching a simple salvation message and prayer. Unfortunately the live bonus track after this message is on the same track, so you cannot get to those songs without hearing the message.

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