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Commandment - Engraved in Stone review - remastered

Arkeyn Steel Records

Yeah… right.. a Commandment review? Now I got to sit down and write about one of my top 10 favorite US Metal bands ever, and I got to sit down and explain why someone should buy this masterpiece… yeah right… and I got to analyze the re issue and write words and words…. Well it is hard to be a reviewer after all… because in normal circumstances I would point just this: “Commandment’s Engraved By Stone is able to bring down the entire Metal universe, crushing it into small pieces”. All those little bands that pretend to play and be Metal –and their fans as well- can now have their skulls crushed into two pieces by the music of the Metal machine called Commandment. Yeah folks this is skull crushing, storm taking, US POWER METAL especially NOT for the weak ones. Commandment take no prisoners, you have been warned. Ok let's focus on some info about the band, time for some history lessons: Commandment, together with Slauter Xstroyes (fellows from the same city), were one of Chicago's premier power metal bands although they were only playing for four years, from 1986 to 1990. Their story begins when Johnny and Mike Michael Anthony Putignano meet Dave Marshall (the original first singer before Dave Nava). The bass player Kevin Clayton is in no time found as he is playing with Dave Marshall in the group before joining Commandment. They start working on their own songs and so they record one demo tape called “Law of the Streets” containing 6 tracks. With this line-up Commandment work for about a year. The next change of the band is on the 18th of September 1987 when Dave Nava takes Dave Marshall’s place as a singer. The songs come together quickly and they become the winners of the Z-Rock radio demo contest in the end of 1987. This earns them free air play rotation for a month on Z-Rock. This leads to Commandment signing with Amethyst Records just to release “Engraved in Stone” in the fall of 1988. Company’s goal is to put on the market a forerunner of an oncoming album so as to promote the band and be known to the audience. So, a 7” EP with 2 tracks (Oriental Maiden, Engraved in Stone) and without cover is released in the early 1989 (with a small delay as it was supposed to be out in the end of 1988). While Amethyst Records has not released not even the first album of Commandment, they are supposed to give their money to record the follow up recording called “No Mercy” in the fall of 1989!! Of course this never happens and the band gets tired of waiting, so they start spending their own money for the record. They are real tight on money at the time. They have their cassette “Engraved in Stone” for sale at all of the shows....but that's why they want to sign to a label to get that extra support they need. They get to the mixing part before they ran out of money. At this point Amethyst Records goes out of business. “No Mercy” album is tracked and rough mixed but never finished. The musical climate starts to change in 1990 and Commandment can’t find another label to release their work something that leads to the demise of Commandment in 1990. In 1999 OPM Records released Engraved In Stone on a limited edition of 500 LPs so this masterpiece have finally seen the light of the day in an official format. It was obvious that the record should be released on CD someday and the band had some plans for a CD release. Initially, the band’s project was to release this CD private somewhere in the late 2007 but right after Arkeyn Steel’s suggestion for totally digital re-master, new artwork and worldwide distribution, Commandment change their view and trust this gem to company’s hands. So here it is: digitally re mastered from the scratch and with new artwork –as agreed- “Engraved In Stone” is presented on CD by Arkeyn Steel Records. Ok let’s go to the music now. Well this record is the HEAVEN of the US Power Metal fan. First of all the vocals which is the ultimate trademark of Commandment, just hear Dave Nava’s voc on hymns like “Oriental Maiden”, “Crystal Ball”, “Never Be Afraid”, “Light In The Dark” and you going to have a clear opinion of how a US Power Metal VOICE –yes with capitals- should sound. Everything is here is built upon a pounding, still technical and complex rhythm section –just hear the filling bass lines on “Never Be Afraid” if you want an example, but of course the guitar has the first and the last word in here: simply Commandment has released some of the best riffs and melodies in the US Power Metal pantheon and they are inspired and talented enough to fill those riffs and melodies with wonderful lead guitar themes. Well all those features are making the fast Power Metal of Commandmet, a must. Yes their music is in fast tempos, able to take you by storm, so prepare your heads for some serious bang, even if you have forgotten how to do it, you will be physically driven in unstoppable head banging even with the first tunes of tracks like “Scream In The Night” or the same titled “Engraved In Stone” which is one of the best instrumentals I have ever heard, (yeah ok I have pointed almost the entire record…). Please let point that all this stuff comes in a crystal clear production thanks to the remaster of Mr Skandalis although I got to point that the original recordings were good produced enough so the remaster just offered to the stuff the final touch of perfection. Well enough written. Commandment are one of the 10 most important bands of US Power Metal scene. If you have missed the first re issue on vinyl by OPM back in 1999 do not do the same mistake ten years later (you have now grown up enough right?). SIMPLY WORSHIP COMMANDMENT!!!



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