By JAY ROBERTS
The Cassette Chronicles is a continuing series of mini reviews and reflections on albums from the 1980’s and 1990’s. The aim of this series is to highlight both known and underappreciated albums from rock, pop and metal genres from this time period through the cassette editions of their releases. Some of the albums I have known about and loved for years, while others are new to me and were music I’ve always wanted to hear. There will be some review analysis and my own personal stories about my connection with various albums. These opinions are strictly my own and do not reflect the views of anyone else at Limelight Magazine.
REVEREND – REVEREND (1989)
For those that don’t know or perhaps have forgotten, the story behind the formation of Reverend is a bit of musical chair theater. When singer David Wayne left Metal Church in the late 80’s, he was eventually replaced by singer Mike Howe.
Before joining up with Metal Church, Howe was the frontman for the band Heretic. They released an excellent album called The Breaking Point in 1988 just before Howe left and the band split up.
But as luck would have it, the other ex-members of Heretic ended up asking David Wayne to check out their material and after some initial hemming and hawing Wayne signed on with them and thus came the newly formed Reverend.
Calling the process by which Metal Church and Heretic essentially swapped singers a bit incestuous might be a little too much like an episode of Game of Thrones but it certainly was a bit odd when it first happened.
Reverend’s self-titled debut EP contained just four songs but it laid the foundation for what was to come on the band’s first two full length albums.
The band’s sound is one of classic heavy metal power and thunder. Wayne’s vocals were still powerful and intensely delivered. Musically the band delivered the goods as well.
With only four songs, there’s a definite feel that this is just a sampling for listeners. The songs are all pretty fast paced here.
At first listen, I was somewhat unimpressed with the first two songs on the album. “Powers of Persuasion” didn’t persuade and “Dimensional Confusion” provided plenty of that second word. But that was more due to me being unfamiliar with the music rather than the actual quality of the tracks. After I listened to the songs a couple more times, I started realizing the songs had more going for it than I realized the first time around.
Still, the last two tracks were my favorite. “Wretched Excess” was the most vocally aggressive song. David Wayne’s vocals were at times spit out like machine gun fire which made me think of the same time of song construction that Overkill does on some of their material (I’m thinking of songs like “E.N.D.” from that band’s album The Years Of Decay.
As for the closing song “Ritual”, that is what I would call the band’s first GREAT song. The song craft is amazing as the music and lyrics merge perfectly. It’s a song that makes the EP for me and makes the release that much stronger for its inclusion.
Pure heavy metal played straight up fast and furious is the best way to describe Reverend the band and the EP. It certainly whets the appetite for seeking out the band’s two full-length albums World Won’t Miss You (1990) and Play God (1991).
NOTES OF INTEREST – David Wayne died after a car crash in 2005.
Reverend guitarist Brian Korban, who was a member the original lineup of Heretic, reformed Heretic in 2011. They’ve released two albums, A Time Of Crisis (2012) and A Game You Cannot Win (2017).