Many times, changing a band's lineup can be disastrous, just ask die-hard fans of Norma Jean. But after changing four of its members, Mortal Treason returns with their second release, Sunrise Over A Sea of Blood, an entirely different sound with a lot more emotion. The band's most noticeable addition is lead singer Seth Kimbrough's wife Elizabeth on the keyboards.
The opening track is a beautiful instrumental intro laced with synth strings, and leads nicely into the rest of the album. The keys do add to many of the songs, but they seem to fill every moment without taking a breath. As an accompaniment instrument, the keyboard seems overused, forcing a theme onto the album that it doesn't necessarily need, giving it a funerary, black metal feeling that in a few parts takes power away from the driving guitars.
Otherwise, Sunrise packs a bigger punch than A Call To Martyrs, while retaining the message of hope and salvation that is Mortal Treason's mission statement. The last track ends with, "Christ forgive me for running from you. I give you all my life. Take it away now. Take this broken man. Take this tired spirit and renew me now. Renew me Jesus, I love you." Lyrics like this make Mortal Treason stand out as one of the few metal bands in Christian music right now who put their beliefs and message somewhere other than the "Thank You" section.
Musically, the album is excellent, the title track unashamedly rocks, and Kimbrough's awesome vocals would scare the pants off of anyone's grandma. Sunrise shows an obvious development since the first release, both in the quality of the music and in the depth of emotion it achieves. Again, the addition of the keyboards was a brave step, and makes one think of groups such as Jethro Tull and Apocalyptica. However, some variety in the sound, and perhaps a bit less than all the time, would be better. The only other minor complaint is that the mix sounds a bit flattened in the mid-range.
Sunrise Over A Sea Of Blood is a strong second effort that rocks hard and is also capable of reaching youth with a great message. There is and always will be room for improvement, but we will continue to look forward to Mortal Treason releases in the future.- Review date: 7/6/05, written by Sean Lex
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