It may get tired hauling out the word “classic” when listing 100 records that helped shape my musical experiences over the years, but boy, this fits the definition perfectly. I mean, think about. This was 1983 and Christian rock was still finding its sea legs in many ways, and along comes a band from Sweden that just blows the doors off our conceptions (and misconceptions) about Christian music.
Jerusalem played a raw form of guitar rock that was anything but pedestrian. The songwriting and song arrangements were top notch, and the band really had its own voice that stood out from other acts. Jerusalem also wasn’t afraid to venture into prog-rock length territory. On Warrior, the epic Sodom stretches beyond the 12-minute mark. That type of material may not go over well with some listeners, accustomed to radio-friendly formats. It was no Thick As A Brick, though, but I think it did harken back to the early’70s and the emergence of hard music and bands such as Black Sabbath.
Jerusalem was one of Christian earliest hard-rock bands, right in there with Resurrection Band. And boy, did they rock. The opening song on Warrior, Constantly Changing, sees the band’s raw power in full display. There’s a great guitar riff that grabs you from the start and the song never relents. While the band could rock hard, when they did tone it down, such as on Pilgrim, it’s just as listenable. (There’s a real Dire Straits guitar sound on that song.)
The title track Warrior has an absolutely sensational riff and a real good arrangement. It starts out real heavy, then gives way to some brooding, moody sounds, before kicking down again. In a word, brilliant. At 12:12 in length, Sodom experiments with the progressive rock formula and creates a song of epic proportions in the process. It may be long, but it’s very, very good. One of the most memorable songs on the record, It’s Mad, is owed to a catchy synth intro and interesting arrangement, while Ashes in Our Hands has a real Grand Funk Railroad feel to it.
I certainly have a better appreciation for Warrior now than I did back in the early ’80s. Jerusalem was anything than a run-of-the-mill heavy metal band that played ho-hum songs. There is a real craftsmanship that shines through on the record and for that, Warrior is indeed a Christian rock classic.
1. Constantly Changing
4. It’s Mad
5. Man Of The World
7. Ashes In Our Hands