“Don’t stop, rock the flock!” With that chorus, there was no mistaking Messiah Prophet’s statement of purpose on the band’s debut release. Rock the Flock also featured a memorable album cover: a larger-than life guitar player with a “V”-shaped guitar at the edge of giant stage, playing to the masses below. Cool!
The band didn’t fail to disappoint when it came to the cover art for its sophomore release. On Master of the Metal, the band went with a bare-chested, long-haired, medieval-looking warrior forging a red-hot guitar on a giant anvil. The album covers, though, may be where the similarities end. Master of the Metal was a far superior release, a verifiable heavy metal classic for the Pure Metal-label band that didn’t wear out its welcome. The Internet says the band dissolved shortly after the album, although a one-time guitarist got the group back together in the ’90s to record Colors (Yup, just like the title of Resurrection Band’s 1980 classic, albeit with a slight spelling difference).
Nevertheless, The Messiah Prophet Band, as the group was originally known, went out with a bang. Even today, Master of the Metal bears the telltale signs of a band at the peak of its power. There are only eight tracks on the record, but it clocks in at 42:36 with three songs that stretch beyond the six-minute mark. Hit and Run kicks the album off, with a drums/bass intro. When the electric guitars kick in, so does the sound of an ambulance siren. Heavy Metal Thunder, the first track on side two, packed a powerful punch and asked the question, “Who are you going to choose? LIVE or DIE!” It closes with a nice galloping beat and a hearty “Huh!”
The Friend has always been a favorite, with gang vocals in the chorus and what is possibly the best guitar solo on the record. The title track, Master of the Metal, isn’t all that memorable, but there’s some great guitar shredding after the first chorus and a cool tempo change that gives it some life. For Whom the Bell Tolls, with lyrics straight out of Psalm 23, begins with, yup, the clanging of church bells, while Fear No Evil gets downright Kiss-like two-thirds of the way through the song when the guitars pull out and the drums continue as the band shouts “Fear! No! Evil!” in unison. The album closes with Battle Cry and Voice That’s Calling, two longer tracks that are passable but don’t provide much excitement.
Today, Master of the Metal sounds somewhat dated, but for a teenager growing up in the Eighties with a taste for hard music, the album didn’t disappoint. I still think Messiah Prophet may have been the Christian answer to Manowar, perhaps not as explicitly as the X-Sinner’s-AC/DC comparisons. For sure, Messiah Prophet kind of embodied the imagery and sound of the headbanger’s genre, a genre in which the band’s music pointed to the Master of the Metal.
1.Hit And Run
2.Master Of The Metal
3.For Whom Does The Bell Toll (Ps. 23)
4.Fear No Evil
5.Heavy Metal Thunder
8.Voice That’s Calling