The fun part about frequenting the Christian bookstore as a teenager was you never knew what you’d find. And more often than not, hard-earned cash was spent on CDs and cassettes that, quite frankly, weren’t that good. But every once in awhile you’d get lucky, and that was certainly the case with Lightforce’s Mystical Thieves, from the band that brought us Steve Rowe of Mortification (poster boys for Christian death metal) fame.
Lightforce, though, was less brutal than Mortification and Rowe’s trademark growl. The band had more in common with Iron Maiden than Slayer. The only caveat was whether you could get past Steve Johnson’s vocals, but nevertheless the music was good. The title track, which opens the record, clocks in at a whopping 8:05. That’s longer than Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, the opener on Paranoid. And it’s real good. Likewise, “Metal Missionary” and the closer “Babylon” (7+minutes!) are also great. “Crossfire” is among the record’s other must-hears.
It really makes you wonder where Lightforce would have ended up if things had played out differently. If Whitecross could pull off a fairly long-lived career with tired metal anthems, surely Lightforce would have made the genre proud for at least a few more records. For sure, they were a talented band, but then again, we wouldn’t have had Mortification, so what can ya do?
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