The original Vengeance lineup formed in 1986 in South Bay, CA and was made-up of Doug Thieme, Roger Dale Martin, Glen Mancaruso, Mike Betts (Neon Cross) and a girl singer named Sharon. The name of the band right up to their first gig was Sacrifice. Sacrifice was to perform their first gig with Barren Cross, Malacia and Neon Cross, but the name was changed to Vengeance a week before the gig. Glenn Rogers (Deliverance), who wrote much of the material on the band's first album came in later in 1986. In 1987 Pastor Bob Beeman brought together singer Roger Martinez and Vengeance. Guitarist Larry Farkas would replace Glenn Rogers well before their first album would be recorded. Farkas had also previously been with Deliverance, as well as Holy Soldier. The band was a Christian variation on the emerging thrash metal scene. They were one of the best thrash bands to come out of the Sanctuary Christian metal movement of the mid-80's. Shortly after their first album was released, they had a problem over the rights to the name as another band owned the rights to record under the name, but not to tour under it. They decided to change their name to Vengeance Rising to avoid confusion. Only one thousand copies of their first album were pressed to CD without the word "Rising" under the Vengeance logo. This lineup, considered by most to be the classic Vengeance Rising lineup, produced two successful albums that helped make them one of the few bands in the genre to cross over into the secular music scene. Band leader Roger Martinez became a pastor for Sanctuary, began producing teaching tapes about Christianity, as well as forming alliances with other big-name Christian leaders. After the "Once Dead" tour the band discovered that they were hopelessly in debt. Everyone but Martinez bailed and formed Die Happy, while Martinez scrambled to form another lineup and record a new album for Intense Records, as the band had already missed their deadline for a new CD. He found drummer Chris Hyde (Deliverance) and guitarist Derek Sean and continued forward with himself on guitar and bass. Roger released to more albums that sold relatively well, but did not do well enough to erase the huge debt he was left with from his former bandmates. Struggling with his faith, the strain of his situation, and feeling betrayed by his friends and former band mates, he vehemently turned from Christianity and the friends he had surrounded himself with and began announcing he was an atheist and began dabbling in the occult. He began to make tapes counteracting the tapes he made during his Christian career, and re-formed Vengeance Rising with a new lineup and a decidedly evil message. He built a website that renounced his previous output and posted articles about Christian leaders that were aimed at making them look foolish, but only proved to make Roger ridiculous. Roger began making death threats on people he claimed 'stabbed him in the back' including his friend Steve Rowe of Mortification, a band Roger helped get their first record contract. Roger claimed to release a CD called "Realms of Blasphemy" on Halloween of 2000, but this recording never actually happened and/or never surfaced. Former drummer Shannon Frye (Avenger of Blood) claims that Roger was impossible to work with and could not hold on to members long enough to even record a demo. When the tragic terrorist hijackings of 9/11/2001 happened, Martinez offered a free album from his site for military personal only to encourage the holy war against Christians he constantly talked about. Because of constant interviews and continued curiosity from metal fans and Christians alike, Martinez managed to keep the Vengeance Rising name alive years after the most significant part of his musical career despite not having released anything. All Music Guide lists two releases Realms of Blasphemy (2000) and Smoke Those Motherf**kers [EP] (2001), both of which I doubt ever existed.

Over the years the various Vengeance members have been involved in various projects. Larry Farkas along with with ex-Accept vocalist David Reece formed a band called Sircle of Silence that release a couple of CDs. In 2002, Glenn Mancaruso and Larry Farkas, together with ex-Deliverance/Recon guitarist George Ochoa formed a modern rock band called S.A.L.T. In August of 2004 the original Vengeance lineup of Roger Dale Martin, Glenn Mancaruso, Larry Farkas and Doug Thieme, along with Ultimatum vocalist Scott Waters performed their first show in Anaheim, CA under the name of Once Dead, performing songs from both of the first two Vengeance albums as well as debuting a new song. This show was recorded for a DVD release.

Human Sacrifice Vengeance Rising reissue
Vengeance - Human Sacrifice (Intense Records) 1988
Vengeance Rising - Human Sacrifice (Intense Millenium) 2010

1. Human Sacrifice (2:36)
2. Burn (3:49)
3. Mulligan's Stew (3:00)
4. Receive Him (:04)
5. I Love Hating Evil (3:55)
6. Fatal Delay (3:15)
7. White Throne (3:08)
8. Salvation (:13)
9. From the Dead (4:36)
10. Ascension [instrumental] (5:23)
11. He Is God (:50)
12. Fill this Place With Blood (2:49)
13. Beheaded (3:10)
14. Prodigal Son [live] (2:38)
15. White Throne [live] (2:15)
16. Salvation [live] (:13)
17. Interview: The Music of Vengeance (3:52)

1. White Throne [demo] (3:26)
2. He is God [demo] (1:03)
3. Salvation  [demo] (:17)
4. Beheaded  [demo] (3:46)
5. Human Sacrifice  [demo] (2:57)
Live At Cornerstone 1988
6. Intro [live] (1:33)
7. Fatal Delay [live] (2:42)
8. Fill This Place With Blood [live] (4:23)
9. White Throne [live] (3:05)
10. Human Sacrifice [live] (3:04)
11. From The Dead [live] (5:07)
12. Ascension [live] (6:14)
13. I Love Hating Evil [live] (3:37)
14. Burn Satan Burn [live] (5:16)
15. He Is God  [live] (1:18)
16. Mulligans Stew [live] (2:41)
17. Beheaded [live] (3:46)

THRASH! No mistake about it, Vengeance (Rising) were one of the heaviest bands to exist in the 1980's. "Human Sacrifice" took the speed of punk, the raw thrash sound of the early Bay Area bands like Metallica ("Kill 'Em All"), Slayer ("Show No Mercy") and Exodus ("Bonded by Blood") and added in the extreme aggression and raw vocals of bands like Venom. Actually, Vengeance Rising were one of the early precursors to death metal, with those extreme vocals of Roger Martinez. With the exception of Napalm Death from England, there were very few bands in the late 80's with vocals as extreme as Vengeance Rising. The sheer intensity, aggression and speed of "Human Sacrifice" quickly put Vengeance at the top of the thrash metal heap. The recording itself was a bit sloppy, but no one cared about seamless recordings in the early days of thrash metal. As a matter of fact, the raw recording worked in the band's favor and added to their overall appeal.

The big difference between Vengeance Rising and bands like Venom and Slayer were the lyrics, which screamed a message of Christianity. The disc took a lot of criticism from both Christians and non-Christians alike because people were saying that a message of Christianity couldn't be mixed with such extreme music. Obviously, it could be mixed with great success and decades later "Human Sacrifice" remains one of the most influential thrash albums to ever be released.

The original pressings of "Human Sacrifice" had been out of print for years with original pressings of the CD and vinyl selling for premium prices on auction sites. Finally in 2010, Intense Millenium Records re-released this classic album. The album has been digitally remastered, bringing out the dynamics of the music without sacrificing the raw sound that is Vengeance's trademark. The expanded edition also contains bonus live songs from 1987 and an early band interview. As well, the remaster includes both new cover art, and the classic cover art so that either cover can be displayed in the jewel case. The 8 page booklet contains liner notes, lyrics and classic photos of the band. Overall, a nice package for both old and new fans alike.

Those lucky enough to get in on the pre-orders also received a bonus disc of material. The "Human Sacrifice" bonus disc contains the band's entire 1987 demo tape and a live concert from Cornerstone 1988. Unfortunately the demo tracks were taken from a cassette copy of the demo rather than the original source tapes, so the quality isn't perfect. The end of "Human Sacrifice" is faded out due to tape corruption. Still, this rare bonus disc will most likely become one of the most sought after collector's discs. Pre-orders also received a sticker of the original cover art.

I originally bought the cassette tape of "Human Sacrifice" as a new release and wore it out very quickly. Soon after I purchased the CD. A year later Vengeance were forced to change their name because of a conflict with another band calling themselves Vengeance, so they added the "Rising" to the name. The original CD, cassette and vinyl pressings just says Vengeance, but subsequent pressings would add "R I S I N G" in small letter reissued "Human Sacrifice" along with "Once Dead" on a single disc. The KMG reprint has a single page insert void of any the liner notes, photos, and lyrics.

"Human Sacrifice" on vinyl.

Larry Farkas

White Throne Magazine
Larry Farkas on the cover of White Throne, 1987

Roger Dale Martin, Glenn Mancaruso, Larry Farkas, Roger Martinez, Doug Thieme

A couple of tidbits about the Human Sacrifice album:
1. The hand on the cover is the hand of Pastor Bob Beeman of Sanctuary International Ministries.

2. According to Roger Martinez, most of the guitar tracks on this record were recorded by Larry Farkas. However, speaking to Larry, he claims both guitarists played on this recording.

3. Glenn Rogers co-wrote some of the songs on "Human Sacrifice". Glenn was one of the original guitarists for the band Deliverance and later went on to join Steel Vengeance, Hirax and Heretic. Glenn also joined the reunited Vengeance Rising in Once Dead for a spell.

4. Larry Farkas had performed with Deliverance and Holy Soldier before joining Vengeance. Larry also recorded with Sircle of Silence.

5. Ultimatum covered "Burn" on their Mechanics of Perilous Times CD. Ultimatum performed a cover of this song live at the 2002 Extreme Martigras in California, in which Larry Farkas and Glen Mancaruso were also performing with their band S.A.L.T. Upon hearing it, Larry went backstage to meet Ultimatum and suggested that if Vengeance ever did a reunion that he should sing with him. In 2004 this reunion happened and Scott did indeed sing for them.

6. Faithbomb covered "Receive Him".

Once Dead Once Dead Once Dead reissue
Vengeance Rising - Once Dead
(Intense Records) 1989

Vengeance Rising - Once Dead (Intense Millennium) 2010

1.   Warfare (4:50)
2.   Can't Get Out (3:50)
3.   Cut Into Pieces (3:15)
4.   Frontal Lobotomy (4:05)
5.   Herod's Violent Death (3:07)
6.   The Whipping Post (8:40)
7.   The Wrath To Come (2:43)
8.   Space Truck'in (5:00)
9.   Out of the Will (2:04)
10. Arise (4:50)
11. Into the Abyss (8:18)
12. Among the Dead (3:03)
13. Interruption (:50)
14. Interview: Introduction
15. Interview: What Happened
16. Interview: It's Gonna Be A Good Show
17. Interview: Closing
(Return With A Vengeance, Live In Anaheim, 2004)
1. Intro/Warfare (3:50)
2. White Throne (3:12)
3. Mulligans Stew (3:36)
4. Receive Him (:06)
5. Cant Get Out  (3:53)
6. Frontal Lobotomy      (4:19)
7. Fatal Delay (3:17)
8. Into The Abyss (8:31)
9. He Is God / Salvation (1:15)
10. Burn (3:55)
11. Beheaded (4:21)
12. Human Sacrifice (3:18)
13. Unreleased (4:12)

On the strength of "Human Sacrifice" I was first in line to buy the band's sophomore recording on the day it was released in 1990. I snatched up a copy of the album from a local record store and laughed at the cover art. I'm not sure what was so funny about it, but at the time I found it humorous. (I know I have a weird sense of humor.) I didn't have a CD player in my car at that time, so I couldn't wait to get home to check it out. I quickly drove home, ripped off the cellophane, popped the CD in, cranked up the stereo and BAM! "Our Father who art in heaven, hollowed be thy name. . .", came the growly voice over the thumping bass, as the intro to "Warfare". From that point on I treated my ears to one of the most pummeling heavy metal experiences I had ever had. The speed and aggression matched and even surpassed the likes of Dark Angel and Slayer, and that's saying a lot. "Cut Into Pieces", "Herod's Violent Death" and "Among the Dead" are pure adrenaline fueled speed metal. Likewise "The Whipping Post" sports some blinding speed, though the song is quite dynamic, adding in bits of heavy groove to offset the faster thrash parts. The song has a slight blues vibe to it, which was quite unique for a thrash band at the time. This slight blues influence can be heard on several tracks on the album. "Into the Abyss" is an epic speed metal song. The introduction to the song features Larry Farkas using a violin bow on his guitar, giving it a unique, atmospheric sound. "Frontal Lobotomy" slows down the pace temporarily before bursting into another punk infused speed rush. "Space Truck'in" is a raw, heavy and humorous rendition of the Deep Purple classic. As with the band's debut, the lyrics were centered around Christian themes, with vocalist and preacher Roger Martinez making each one a personal sermon. All in all, "Once Dead" is a thrash metal classic.

Roger Martinez
Roger Martinez 1990

Larry Farkas performing the opening of "Into the Abyss".

After the demise of Intense Records and Frontline Records, "Once Dead" quickly went out of print and out of circulation. Despite a poor quality re-issue by KMG Records in the 1990's, original pressings of "Once Dead" were selling for premium prices on auction sites. Finally in 2010, the new Intense Millennium Records put out a proper re-release of "Once Dead". The album has been digitally remastered, bringing out the dynamics of the music without sacrificing the raw thrash metal sound. The expanded edition also contains bonus interview footage taken from the band's 2004 reunion show. As well, the remaster includes both new cover art and the original classic cover art so that either cover can be displayed in the jewel case. The 8 page booklet contains liner notes, lyrics and classic photos of the band.Overall, a nice package for both old and new fans alike.

The first 100 pre-orders received a 2-disc package that includes the entire 2004 reunion show recording in Anaheim, CA on the second disc. The show features one untitled song which the band has never recorded in the studio. Pre-orders also received a sticker of the original cover art.

I was privileged to see Vengeance Rising on this tour and they pulled off these technical songs perfectly while simultaneously doing windmills with their hair. My original CD pressing is autographed by Roger Martinez (vocals), Glenn Mancaruso (drums) and Larry Farkas (guitars).

Here is a bizarre story that happened during the tour for this album. I met the band on their tour in support of this disc and spent several hours locked inside of a club chatting with Roger Martinez. The band was scheduled to play the Sunshine Theater in Albuquerque with the Moshketeers opening the show. A local radio show called G-Rock had sponsored the show. However, on their way from their gig the night before, their van broke down. They didn't finally make it to the club until close to 1 AM. By the time they got there some of the fans had left, but many had stayed to watch a handful of local bands that played to fill in the time. (Combat Faith was one of the bands I remember.) By the time they got their equipment set up and Vengeance finally took the stage, they only had time to play about four songs. (One of which was a new song that was to be recorded for the next album, but never was.) Afterwards I stuck around to help the band break down and clear their equipment from the stage. In the meantime, the owner of the club decided he wanted 15% of the band's merchandise table sales and claimed he had a right to it. However, nothing in the band's contract stated this, so it became a big issue. The club owner locked us all in, waved a gun around, would not allow the band to take their equipment out of the club and called the police. It took several hours to clear up the issue, but in the meantime I got to spend the wee hours of the morning talking with Roger Martinez. I didn't hear all that happened with the situation, but in the end the club owner didn't get any of the band's table sales.'
Once Dead
"Once Dead" on vinyl, autographed.

A couple of tidbits about the Once Dead album:
1. Wal-Mart stores refused to carry this CD because of the cover art.

2. The original pressing of this disc has a song listed on the inside of the cover that never made it to disc called "K.K.L.A."" (Hmm, wonder if there is a bootleg floating around somewhere with that song?) The track was not listed on subsequent pressings.

3. Roger Dale Martin referring to Larry Farkas, "I have never seen anyone more serious about playing guitar as Larry Farkas. If he wasn't working, He was playing guitar. Every time that I went over to his house, even if I snuck over unannounced, He would be locked in his room playing guitar. Every time. The intro to "Can't Get Out" is a recording from that very room. 'Larry, there is somebody on the phone for you and I got to get my, I got to get my.........I Can't Get OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!" (quote taken from the Official Once Dead forum.)

4. According to Doug Theime, "Larry was recording himself while he was learning a couple riffs from Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Larry's brother Elmer was trying to leave, and Larry had someone on the phone for him, and he was parked behind Elmers van. I wrote the entire song based upon that tape, so it was fitting to have it start the song." (quote taken from the Official Once Dead forum.)

5. Step Cousin covered "Can't Get Out" on their "Experiments In Sound" CD. Ultimatum also recorded "Can't Get Out" on their "Lex Metalis" CD. (I also have a video bootleg of Extol doing "Warfare.")

6. "Once Dead" Promo Photo 1, "Once Dead" Promo Photo 2

Destruction Comes
Vengeance Rising - Destruction Come
s (Intense Records) 1991
Vengeance Rising - Destruction Comes (Intense Millenium) 2011

1.   You Can't Stop It (5:13)
2.   The Rising (5:11)
3.   Before the Time (2:57)
4.   The Sword (3:15)
5.   he don't own nothing (3:07)
6.   Countless Corpses (5:31)
7.   Thanatos (5:04)
8.   You Will Bow (4:09)
9.   Hyde Under Pressure (1:08)
10. Raegoul (6:51)

Vengeance sticker
2011 Intense Millennium sticker

Roger Martinez 1992

After the demise of the original line-up of Vengeance Rising many fans didn't know what to expect from Roger Martinez and his new band. Prior to it's release, Martinez was throwing out descriptions like "gnarly grindcore" to describe the style of "Destruction Comes". What he actually delivered was raw, speedy, thrash metal. It's all about speed, intensity and those raw, "gnarly" vocals of Martinez. Ok, I admit, when the album first came out I was a bit disappointed. There is a different feel to "Destruction Comes" than the previous two albums. Unlike the first two Vengeance Rising albums, "Destruction Comes" doesn't have any of the blues influences and rarely slows down. Also, having seen the band on their previous tour, they had played a couple new songs which sounded awesome but don't show up here. However, despite my initial disappointment, I couldn't stop playing this CD. There's something infectious about the songs. It wasn't long before I had the lyrics to "Before the Time" memorized and I was spewing forth verbal venom right along with Roger. 

"Follow me, let the dead bury their own dead. Have no fear, I am hear, this is what he said, when He had come unto the other side, they cried out gripped in fear, knowing the time line, swept away by the terror that a man should have, learn from demon forces this lesson and you will be, if you see, one among the wise, in the age we are in just before the time..."

Even decades later I can still spew out those lyrics without a second thought. Weird how that happens, huh? 

Ok, so "Destruction Comes" is not what fans were expecting. However, there is still much to digest here. "You Can't Stop It" is pure speed metal. The aforementioned "Before the Time" is another raging speed metal song and is one of the standout cuts on the album. A video for the song was recorded as well. (The video is included on the 2011 Intense Millenium Records remastered version of this CD.) Another standout cut is "You Will Bow". The song is one of the few slower moments on the album and is a mid-paced metal romp with an attitude-fueled, fiery vocal delivery from Martinez. Chris Hyde (ex-Deliverance) plays drums on this album and is the focus of the S.O.D.-inspired joke song "Hyde Under Pressure." The album finishes off with an odd, ethereal and poetic song titled "Raegoul".

The original CD pressing of "Destruction Comes" featured a cool package with a sticker of a body builder on the jewel case covering a partially disemboweled body builder on the cover. The sticker was obviously intended to hide the "offending" cover art so that conservative stores wouldn't refuse to carry the CD. In 2011, Intense Millennium Record re-released the album with the original cover art. They included a sticker reproduction of the original sticker from the original pressing. The 2011 re-issue was also completely remastered and includes the "Before the Time" video. Initial pre-orders of the album upon it's release also came with a promotional Vengeance Rising "You Will Bow" guitar pick (pictured above). Gnarly indeed!

A couple of tidbits about the Destruction Comes album:
1. The original lineup did a photo shoot in front of the Jim Jones temple for this album. Unfortunately the original lineup split before the recording of this CD. It was their last photo shoot together.

2. Two songs that were to be recorded for this album ("The Wailing" & "The Contract") were played on the "Once Dead" tour but never recorded. Both songs were written by Doug Thieme. There are several live bootleg copies of these songs floating around. "The Wailing" showed up on the Die Happy debut CD (1992) under the name "Cage" with completely different lyrics and vocal melodies. "The Contract" showed up many, many years later on Once Dead's "Visions of Hell" (2008) CD.

3. The original cover on "Destruction Comes" was censored so that you could not see the partially decaying body builder. On the outside of the jewel case there was a sticker placed of the same body builder with all his parts in tact. See photo above.

Unleashed Upon the Earth Released 2
Vengeance Rising - Released Upon the Earth
(Intense) 1992

Vengeance Rising - Released Upon the Earth Expanded & Remastered (Roxx Records) 2014

1. "Help Me" (6:17)
2. "The Damnation of Judas and the Salvation of the Thief" (3:14)
3. "Released Upon the Earth" (2:02)
4. "Human Dark Potential" (4:18)
5. "Instruments of Death" (3:46)
6. "Lest You Be Judged" (3:46)
7. "Out of Bounds" [instrumental] (3:27)
8. "Bishop of Souls" (5:24)
9. "Tion" (2:59)
10. "You Will Be Hated" (4:37)

11. Interview (Daniel Cordova & Johnny Vasquez 1992) (13:34)
12. Interview (George Ochoa 1992) (3:19)

Vengeance Rising, or dare I say, Roger Rising puts out their fourth CD titled "Released Upon The Earth." The music on this album is mostly full-throttle, up-tempo and freakin' fast. However despite what vocalist Roger Martinez was claiming, this is still not grindcore. Perhaps the vocals on some songs are a bit deeper and more gutteral, but the music is still vicious thrash with hints of death metal. The production on this album is a little thin, but raw, which tends to work in favor of what Vengeance were trying to do.

The album opens with a lengthy intro track that is mid-paced, dark and heavy with Roger's voice screaming out to "help me" in the background as if he is drowning in a sea of music. From that point on the thrash metal attack never lets up. Clearly the band were attempting to gain a new edge with this release with an influence from bands like Death and Possessed. Songs like "Released Upon the Earth" and "Instruments of Death" with their pummeling riffs and guttural vocals are a combination of thrash metal riffing and early death metal sounds. Though some songs tend to get a little repetitive there are also plenty of memorable hooks and head-banging riffs. As usual for Vengeance, the lyrics are mostly Biblically based with some songs being down-and-out doctrinal dissertations. Some stand-out tracks are "Human Dark Potential," "Released Upon the Earth," and "Bishop of Souls". Simon Dawg, who is listed as a guitarist on this album, is actually Jimmy Brown of Deliverance fame.

Inside photo autograph

click to enlarge

Vengeance Rising Tour Lineup 1992. (L to R): Mike Wagel (bass), Daniel Cordova (guitars), Roger Martinez (vocals), Johnny Vasquez (drums), George Ochoa (guitars).

Vengeance pick 1992

I saw Vengeance on this tour in Albuquerque with The Moshketeers opening. Roger and his new band tore it up with a nice mixture of older songs as well as some from the two albums he did after splitting with the rest of his band. I spoke with Roger  and had him sign my CD. I caught a guitar pick from George Ochoa. It was one of his old Deliverance guitar picks. Several years later I saw drummer Johnny Vasquez playing in a band at a show in California and had him sign my CD as well.

In 2014 "Released Upon the Earth" was finally re-released on CD by Roxx Records. The album contains two bonus tracks in the form of interviews with Vengeance Rising members George Ochoa, Daniel Cordova (guitars), Mike Wagel (bass) and Johnny Vasquez (drums). The album was remastered by Ysidro "Sid" Garcia at Sight 16 Studios. The cover art, as seen above is faithfully restored, though the logo has been slightly updated.  As well the new release contains an 8-page booklet with photos and memorabilia from the "Released Upon the Earth" tour. The George Ochoa and Daniel Cordova picks pictured in the booklet, as well as the autographed photo of Roger Martinez are from my own collection. 

Once Dead 2004
Former members of Vengeance performing as Once Dead, August 2004.
Left to right: Larry Farkas, Doug Thieme, Scott Waters, Roger Martin, Glen Mancaruso

Related Collections:
Die Happy
Sircle of Silence
Once Dead