Let’s face it. Anyone who was alive in the 80s, and still is in to music, listens to bands now that they wrote off in the 80s. What is a hidden treasure today was often just dross at the time. So it is that I find myself searching for bands I "missed" to get my hit of 80s songwriting and production. Sure, lots of new bands recreate the 80s scene, but there’s something more authentic and cool about finding an obscure CD and giving it a spin.
There’s another dynamic going on in my case. As any regulars are probably aware, I am a Christian, and have my own website giving away my own Christian heavy metal songs ( www.jesusmetal.com.au ). So, when I travel the world for obscure bands, I am also interested to hear old Christian bands. There are definitely bands I love now, that I heard and hated in the 80s, both secular and Christian.
While doing some online reading, I read that Wicked Generation by Sacred Warrior was a must have album for any fan of Queensryche. I am used to such claims. Most Christian bands back then sold themselves as the "Godly" alternative to some mainstream band or another. Usually it’s all hot air, and the band simply fails to be original in any way, without ever coming close to the sound they were
aiming to copy. I always have a mental image of some poor kid in the Bible Belt being told that Dad burned his AC/DC tapes, because now he can listen to X-Sinner instead, it’s just as good. But, I digress.
So, I am reviewing Wicked Generation, by Sacred Warrior. I love Queensryche. I bought Operation: Mindcrime from a record club, having never heard of them, and played it non-stop for a year. I still love it. Seeing it live in it’s entirely is one of my favorite Rocklahoma memories (although not entirely for the right reasons, I admit).
Rey Parra is the singer in Sacred Warrior. Wicked Generation came out in 1990. Mindcrime came out in 1988 and Empire came out in 1990. I’ve been trying to work out a relationship between the names Rey Parra and Geoff Tate, because this CD sounds like it’s Queensryche, singing and playing the songs they rejected when working on Mindcrime.
It’s clear to me that these guys saw Mindcrime go massive, found a singer who sounded the same, copped the licks, and did everything they could to sound exactly like them. It’s really uncanny. Some of the songs are perhaps a little heavier than Queensryche, but the operatic Geoff Tate vocals are there, the proggy riffing is there, the slower choruses are there, it’s actually quite brilliant in its own, artistically bankrupt way.
The overall message as far as I can tell, is summed up in the quote in the booklet "they are not the children of Satan, they are who we make them." This seems to me like a response to the hysteria in the 80s over metal being satanic. I actually had someone ask me in church in 1989 if the music I played on guitar contained "that satanic beat that makes children kill themselves." I hope such ignorance died in the 80s. I’ve always felt that blaming metal was a hiding place for bad parents who couldn’t see that their kids ended up lost because their parents never related to them.
I am aware that, for reasons I don’t understand, some people hate Christian music because of the message in the lyrics, although I assume they listen to Guns n' Roses without participating in orgies or taking drugs, and may even listen to Slayer without worshiping the devil. However, if you’re not amongst that number, I honestly recommend this CD if you can get it cheap and like Queensryche. I think it’s a better Queensryche album than the last few they’ve put out, for sure. It’s certainly worth a giggle.