Take one part traditional Church Hymns, and another part hard rocking musicians, blend well, and you end up with ROXOLOGY: Unearthing Majestic Hymns from the Catacombs. Featuring the bass expertise of Roger Dale Martin of Once Dead (formerly of Vengeance Rising and Die Happy), and the amazing guitar prowess of Nick Layton (Firewolf, Q5), this Sanctuary International associated project is a rocking, yet melodious trip through some of the great, classic hymns of the historic Church. Layton & Martin bring forth a new look into the traditional, well-known church hymns of yesteryear with ten instrumental tracks.
At times, a little shredding takes place, and other times, you can’t help but close your eyes and sing along the beautiful words of these classics. I found myself many times just closing my eyes, and raising my hands and singing loud in praise at these new renditions. Heavy riffing, double bass drums, thundering bass lines, overlaid with awesome classic “words” – guitar words, that is. With it being instrumental, it would make great background music for any Christian gathering, that is if you can control yourself and not break into singing along.
At the time when I was first told of this forthcoming project, it was slated to be more of an independent release. But shortly after that time, this project was snatched up to be a release on Roxx Records. Yeah, they knew a good thing when they heard it!
You’ve read Jeff McCormack’s great review and synopsis of this album. I thought I’d share my perspective, too, since I was planning on reviewing it as well. We like to do that at Heaven’s Metal – especially for important, big releases. Let it be known that this is also an important, big release.
My first impression was not important or big at all. For some reason (why am I so judgmental?), I figured this would feature some old, monotone singer running these old hymns into the ground. I’ve heard way too many bad blues rock tunes in my day, I guess. Anyway, I put off listening for awhile due to my preconceived ill notion. When I first started listening, I was put off that I was wrong.
What? An instrumental? Maybe the next tune will include vocals. I was battling myself inside, but then I just shut the argument up and started listening – loud and in my car. There’s nothing like full volume treatment to put yourself face-to-face, so to speak, with music. I was impressed. My impression turned into joy. My joy started salivating like a happy dog.
This collection of 10 tunes is a fantastic listen. The guitar tones are so full and sweet. Nothing old or dated about them. Crisp, clean and tasty they are. Nick Layton’s guitar playing is simply outstanding here. Even old familiar tunes that are loaded with pre-conceived, I’ve-heard-this-a-million-times notions (like “A Might Fortress” or “I’ll Fly Away”) are pushed back with melody and feeling in his fretted fingertips. Even the old ’70s standard, “They’ll Know We are Christians” is on here, which sounds great.
I was wrong about this album. I’m so glad I gave it a chance (and who wouldn’t, with Roger Dale Martin’s musical pedigree and all?). Play these tunes loud and see if you haven’t found a new best worshipping friend.
You may know guitarist Nick Layton of Firewolfe (mixed by John Payne of Asia) and you may know bassist Roger Dale Martin from Vengeance Rising…but you may not know that a powerful album of classic “Hymns” is coming out shortly that are metal tinged works of art!
I was honored to be the Mastering Engineer for this album and links to the album titled “Roxology” will be forthcoming. It’s great stuff folks!