At the beginning of 2010, death metal group In the Midst of Lions became the next band to graduate from the training grounds called Strike First Records and officially sign to Facedown Records. It was in 2009, while still on Strike First's roster, that they released their debut album for the world to hear. Ten tracks of heavy and raw, yet worshipful, death metal collectively called Out of Darkness.
When you see that Out of Darkness is only twenty-four minutes and some change in length, and that three of the tracks are either under or approximately one minute long, you may think that it's not a good introduction to the band. But despite the album's brevity, the seven full songs definitely give the listener a good look into who they are, musically and lyrically. Between the music and the lyrics, the lyrics are the highlight. When they aren't quoting directly from Scripture, they're reciting their own lyrics based on Scripture. "Out of Darkness" recalls the search for purpose ("Where is my meaning? A voice calls out bringing sight to my eyes. 'Follow Me and I will show you the light'"). "The Field of Blood" brings to mind what might have possibly been Judas' last thoughts before he hung himself (and Matt Janssen turns it around and puts himself into the place of Judas, recognizing his own betrayal of Jesus, yet he's asked for His forgiveness). If you're looking for poetry, you won't be satisfied here, but Out of Darkness keeps God at the forefront at all times, with a lyrical style that fits well within their genre. With that genre being death metal, you'll get a lot of barked out lyrics with very guttural growls and some shrill shrieks. It's all layered atop some gritty, dirty-sounding guitars and pounding drums. Sometimes it doesn't work very well, like the almost hesitant vocals in "The Field of Blood," but otherwise they seem to have a good grasp of their sound. The musicians are well-accomplished though, with times of blistering guitar work and the quick drums to match. A little better production could've helped the album quite a bit, but the sound is still fairly well done.
Though death metal is some of the least accessible music in existence, there are still those that can pull it off. In the Midst of Lions have only produced one album in their time with the Facedown Records family of labels, but it's not bad, and I think their move from Strike First to Facedown will be good for them, and I anticipate their next album, due out late Summer this year, to be even better.- Review date: 4/27/10, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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