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Believer biography
BELIEVER is a technical/ progressive thrash metal act formed in Colebrook, Pennsylvania in 1986 by Joey Daub ( Drums) and Kurt Bachman ( vocals, guitar). They were joined by Howe Kraft ( Bass) and David Baddorf (guitar) and started playing melodic metal. They released the demo cassette The Return in 1987. BELIEVER started moving towards heavier territories after that and began playing technical thrash metal. An important ingredient in BELIEVER`s music thatīs worthy of notice is Scott Lairdīs orchestral string parts which became more and more integrated into their music with each album. Scott Laird was one of Bachmanīs old high school friend. Many of the progressive elements in BELIEVER`s music come from his involvement.

Right from the start the bandīs lyrics about philosophy and theology have put them on the forefront of the Christian metal movement and the aggressive sound on the debut album Extraction from Mortality (1989) gave them an identity as one of the most heavy Christian metal bands around. Extraction from Mortality was released through R.E.X. Records and was mostly distributed through Christian bookstores. Howe Kraft was replaced by new bassist Wyatt Robertson in 1990. Roadrunner Records signed BELIEVER for the release of of their second album Sanity Obscure (1991). The album was still distributed to the Christian market by R.E.X. Records though. Sanity Obscure greatly increased the bandīs success and they toured with BOLT THROWER and SACRIFICE.

Wyatt Robertson and David Baddorf left BELIEVER before the recording of the bandīs third album Dimensions (1993). Jim Winters joined as the new bassist. Dimensions was distributed in a similar way to how Sanity Obscure was. R.E.X. Records distributed the album to the Christian market while Roadrunner Records distributed the album to the secular audience. Dimensions is generally considered BELIEVER`s most progressive album with both technical thrash metal, industrial ( samples) and orchestral string parts as well as some sophisticated lyrics that deal with philosophical questions about the existence of GOD. The album features a 20 minute three part epic suite called Trilogy of Knowledge.

BELIEVER disbanded in 1994 and in the following years Bachman and Daub worked in sound production at their Trauma Studios in Pennsylvania. Bachman then went on to pursue a career in biomedical research ( cancer genetics and therapy) while Daub started his female led progressive metal act FOUNTAIN ...
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BELIEVER discography

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BELIEVER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.84 | 9 ratings
Extraction from Mortality
3.12 | 11 ratings
Sanity Obscure
4.06 | 16 ratings
3.22 | 12 ratings
3.67 | 8 ratings

BELIEVER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
The Chosen Live

BELIEVER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Ultimate Collectors Video:Home Video

BELIEVER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

BELIEVER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Return
0.00 | 0 ratings
Stop the Madness


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Extraction from Mortality by BELIEVER album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.84 | 9 ratings

Extraction from Mortality
Believer Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars I was really never a thrash metal fan. I was attracted to extreme music, but my favorite bands were the likes of Sabbat (UK), Slayer and Celtic Frost at that time. Not the thrash metal bands and not the many Metallica clones. Not to mention the many German speed metal bands.

So I have set out my stall here to start with. Believer plays a pretty derative type of thrash metal. It has tonnes of speed and the usual thrash metal vocals. There are also the usual guitar solos too. In short, pretty standard stuff.

The quality is not bad. Not bad at all. But the sound quality could had been better. But I have heard better and I have heard worse thrash metal albums than this album. It is a respectable album, but nothing more than that.

2 stars

 Transhuman by BELIEVER album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 8 ratings

Believer Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Transhuman" is the 5th full-length studio album by US thrash/metalcore/ progressive metal act Believer. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in April 2011 as number two album out of a three album deal the band inked with the label upon their return to the scene (Believer were split-up from 1994 to 2005).

"Gabriel (2009)" Was a strong return to the scene. A mix of thrash metal, progressive metal and a slight metalcore element worked really well. "Transhuman" is a rather different beast though and upon first listen Iīll admit I was a bit shocked. The thrash metal elements which have always been the basis of the bandīs sound are not very dominant on "Transhuman". Instead itīs the progressive metal and the melodic metalcore elements of the bandīs sound that are now in focus. "Transhuman" is as a consequence less harsh than any of the previous releases by the band. Keyboards are now an integrated and rather dominant part of the sound. That was to some degree also the case with "Gabriel", but much more on "Transhuman". Lead vocalist Kurt Bachmanīs usually caustic vocal delivery is now much more melodic. He has maintained a raw tone though so donīt expect angelic singing.

The tracks vary between melodic metalcore and melodic progressive metal, which means that most of the songs are vers/chorus based with a strong emphasis on hook laden chorus lines (not completely unlike an act like Killswitch Engage), while a few have more intricate progressive structures (examples are "Ego Machine" and "Mindsteps"). The focus is always on accessebility and memorability though.

The sound production is very professional and detailed. I think the album lacks the warmer more full sound that "Gabriel" had, but the sound production suits the new musical direction very well.

"Transhuman" doesnīt exactly go down well with my personal tastes, and I really do miss the thrashy riffs, but personal tastes aside, "Transhuman" is a very professional and at times quite intriguing progressive metalcore album that Iīm sure will appeal to a great deal of listeners. Fortunately after my shock reaction had passed upon my initial listen, Iīve found that the album has grown on me considerably and I wonīt rule out the possibility that "Transhuman" might even grow on me to a degree where Iīll end up being really fond of the album. For now a 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted. I think Believer lost just a slight bit of their trademark sound on this album, but they are still a very unique sounding act and that always deserves praise.

 Transhuman by BELIEVER album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.67 | 8 ratings

Believer Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by sixpence-guy

5 stars Believer has created their magnum opus with Transhuman. From album artwork to lyrical content to musical approach, the band has created a prog metal tour de force wrapped up in a concept album that explores the evolution of the human species as we go down the road to integration with technology on a biological level.

The band still plays their unique style of technical thrash, but the guys manage to pull a few new tricks. First, there are melodic male vocals this time around. Vocalist Kurt Bachman still has his snarling growl, but he has added sustained notes and melody to his vocal arsenal, and he has never sounded better. Also, keyboardist Jeff King has a huge presence on the album, giving the music texture and a more melodic sheen. Make no mistake, this is still a metal album with double bass drum workouts by drummer Joey Daub, heavy guitars, and menacing vocals, but there is a welcome diversity this time around which stretches the band beyond the technical thrash genre. Transhuman sees the band at the intersection of Meshuggah (extreme technical metal) and OSI (heavy electronic prog). You'll just have to listen to hear what I mean.

 Gabriel by BELIEVER album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.22 | 12 ratings

Believer Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by dalekvilla

4 stars One of the lesser-known prog-tech groups from the later eighties/early nineties reform at a time when reunions in the genre are all the range. The Christian thrash metal outfit return after a long sixteen years out with one of the most addictive albums of the year that will interest fans of thrash and progressive metal. In a year where the likes of Megadeth, Dream Theater and Slayer release top selling albums, Believer would naturally have to produce a corker of a record if they wanted to even be noticed by anybody. I guess they would truly have to knuckle down and believe in themselves (sorry).

The atmospheric Medtwon sets things alight in style. A combination of fast riffage, peculiar synthesizers and anti-war lyrics is well executed. The guitars are heavy, each chord a mighty weighted chug that combines with some Rage Against the Machine-style vocals. A complex drumming pattern opens up A Moment in Prime which provides some variation concerning textures and time patterns. During the track brief switches from soft to heavy and time alternations led by the drums show off Believer's technical and progressive tendencies which finally provide room for a soft violin outro. It's this unusual combination that makes this band beg for your attention.

A honky-tonk piano is smashed aside during the opening bars of Stoned as yet another fierce thrash riff is unleashed amongst a wave of insane drumming, Believer clearly mean business. Redshift is most developed track so far in the vein of progressive metal with extremes of light and dark experimented with perfectly, the synthesizers and pronounced bass almost giving a taste of Porcupine Tree. The next four tracks don't disappoint, more riffs are churned out and the thrash ferocity levels remain constant. The flow of riffs keeps coming yet as enjoyable as they are, none are immediately catchy. Shut Out the Sun includes some melodic vocals although the standard is another matter - that's not really the point of all this though. Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage) is one of a handful of guest musicians to make an appearance on this record. His voice is much welcomed in The Brave, the contrast between Bachman works well, although Bachman's shouting becomes rather outclassed.

Nonsense Mediated Decay is a lengthy instrumental. Nearing the nine minute mark, the frantic riffs and strange atmospherics unite and collide with sci-fi orientated voice-overs. This experimental break came at the right time; the thrash driven album takes another turn to the progressive side, strengthening the overall sound. As expected, the track is rather unusual to say the least and at times threatens to be a little too on the far-out side. Sudden tune changes are pulled off well although the finale of the track is a little anti-climatic, a shame because this had the potential to be mind-blowing.

Thankfully, the awe-inspiring album art (one of the best covers all year) isn't the only good thing about this record. Gabriel is a solid monument that contains a healthy mix of musical styles. Venturing from technical thrash to prog metal with the help of synthesized layering can be a hefty task for many. Here Believer does a fine job of it. The power on show is exceptional and the differentiation makes this record thoroughly enjoyable. Does it stand out amongst the big boys? The answer is yes it does, but whether or not it will get the gratification it deserves is sadly an unlikely eventuation.

Rating: [8]

TTT: 1) Redshift 2) Medwton 3) The Brave

 Gabriel by BELIEVER album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.22 | 12 ratings

Believer Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Errors and Omissions Team

2 stars I really don't believe my eyes. This sounds like crossover of some average trash group combined with AFI. Offering riffs (but not smart ones, rather simple and head-banging ones) with guitar solos from time to time. It's simple and it's even simply horrible (no, I'm not proud of this pun). And I don't think that nor trash, nor this prog trash is genre, where prog can grow. If there's something like that, I don't hear it. At least there are no death-metal vocals. And I'm either missing something, or there's not much good things to be heard. Only think that I find satisfying are these calmer parts (when noise ends, because in noise, what can be good about it when you don't hear anything clearly, every interesting idea that can be here is hidden inside it). But that's sadly just occasionally happening. So

2(+) for nothing. This extreme metal failed to please me. Anyway, some guitar solos are interesting.

 Extraction from Mortality by BELIEVER album cover Studio Album, 1989
2.84 | 9 ratings

Extraction from Mortality
Believer Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Believer's debut album begins with a radio transmission broadcast about a murder case, then a chaotic piano improv clunks along until finally the distorted guitar strings sound in. This signifies the launch of one of the most innovative Christian thrash metal bands. It is a joy for this reviewer to return to this album to review it as it impacted my life during the late 80s and is still not outdated. I had played this many times during my metal obsessed years on cassette but it sounds phenomenal on CD. On 'Unite' the rumbling riff thunders in at 1:50 and it relentlessly breaks into a speedy thrash with gravelly vocals that are impossible to decipher without the lyrics sheet. Daub's drums are always pounding to catch up with the chunky guitars. The vocals are positive but aggressive:

Rise up so you can take a stand the wicked schemes of evil.

I love the instrumental section and the lead break overlayed using twice the guitar power. It is extreme and the sound seems to buzz with a low bass hum, Kraft on bass - difficult to play, easy to listen to for the metal head.

'Vile Hypocrisy' explodes with a technical riff, a very cool rhythm that feels like dadadadum, dadadadum, dadadadum, dah dah daaah. It is so precise and sharp yet manages to scratch the wallpaper off the wall with its brutal riffing. There are more lyrics about legalism in the church:

You blind the eyes that seek to see, deceiving humanity, denying God by deeds, yet claiming intimacy.

A killer riff locks in at 3:20 with lots of breaks and bass. Then a crawl buzzing breakneck riff with pounding speed kickdrums.

'D.O.S. (Desolation of Sodom)' has a stop-start riff that crashes throughout. More of the same vocal style that now grates on me, but the hammer-smashed-face-riffing is to die for. There's no denying the power of technical thrash. The track is about Sodom and Gomorrah of course, the liner notes point to where the scripture references can be found in the Bible so that you can indulge in your own Believer Bible Study if that's what you prefer.

'Tormented' begins with an intricate deep complex riff and picks up the pace before lurching into a solid speed death style. It becomes a bit sameish for me and the growelling vocals are still grinding out and some chorus vocals that sound a bit overkill now as the band scream: Pain, mental torment.

'Shadow of Death' has an acoustic intro which is a nice change from all the thrashing. But it is not long before Bachman and Baddorf's distorted guitars fire up. The riff is once again very good, the drums pound incessantly, and this begins to grow on you after a while. Believer creates a brutal wall of sound that penetrates the very marrow of your bones. The lead break is excellent on this track, almost off kilter, out of tune, and at the same time it all gels together.

'Blemished Sacrifices' features another blistering riff that moves in different metrical patterns before settling on the familiar chugga-chug-chugga-chug speed. This time the speed is breakneck and unrelenting, absolutely ballistic - almost overkill and guaranteed to scare the average Spice Girls fan. At 2:00 in it moves into half time speed but it's still enough to keep the metronome swinging wildly.

'Not Even One' begins with chaotic Slayer-esque riffs and an infectious hook locks in with the usual pass- the-Butter-Menthol vocal treatment. Baddorf screams:

No one is righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, the anointed one of God they shun, NO ONE.

It is all Bible based but its difficult to tell it's Christian listening to the music alone, that's why this band has a wide appeal - not just for the Christian fan but for those who like speed and thrash in general. It would be easy to mistake them for Sodom, Sepultura or Morbid Angel. The scorching lead break on this track is a killer.

The title track is next beginning with a slow melancholy acoustic sound, and then unusual violins soar over the top giving it an ethereal quality. The orchestral treatment would be further used in a greater sense on their next album on the awesome track 'Dies Irae (Day of Wrath)'. This is the first truly progressive track that blends violin strings with metal distortion and it works admirably, and its well in advance of the likes of Therion, Symphony X or Nightwish. The riff that follows is definitely one of the best Believer riffs, it jumps all over the place with frenetic pace and chaotic pentameter. This highlight is further augmented by the screaming lead break. It is not Steve Vai or Petrucci or Malmsteen, but it works in context with the guitar distortion.

The CD concludes with the off beat quirky 'Stress', an actual song structure based on Luke 12: 22-31. The vocals are different on this one, almost punk like and humorous. There is a strange Reggae funk breakdown midway through and even some vinyl rap effects thrown into the mix. It is apparent that Believer were not trying to be all that serious.

Overall this is a great debut full of speed and thrash and is given an original treatment with Christian lyrics. This was as heavy as it got during the huge reign of Christian thrash. Other bands that came close were Mortification and Tourniquet, but Believer set the bar, and it was a high setting at that. Try them if you are into speed metal, other prog fans beware - this is killer metal at its most extreme.

 Gabriel by BELIEVER album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.22 | 12 ratings

Believer Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Gabriel" is the 4th full-length studio album by US technical/progressive thrash metal act Believer. Itīs been 16 years since the release of the predecessor "Dimensions (1993)" and I think most fans at this point thought Believer was history. Fortunately lead vocalist/guitarist Kurt Bachman and drummer Joey Daub, who were also the core members on the first three albums by the band, started rehearsing and writing new material in 2005. Believer then signed a three-album deal with Metal Blade Records and "Gabriel" is the first of those three to appear. The album was released in March 2009.

16 years is a long recording break but the music on "Gabriel" is unmistakably the sound of Believer. Their trademark aggressive and technical/progressive thrash metal style is very much intact on the album. "Dimensions (1993)" was their most progressive album out of the first three and while "Gabriel" features quite a few progressive moments Iīd only call it semi-progressive compared to "Dimensions (1993)". Personally itīs of little importance to me and the quality of the music is so extremely high, with lots of intriguing moments and adventurous ideas, that the more direct and less progressive sound on the album is easily forgiven. Tracks like "Stoned", "Redshift" and the wonderful ending track "Nonsense Mediated Decay" do feature a lot of progressive moments though. The latter contains samples of someone talking about alien abductions and UFOs but with the twist that those might be actions of GOD. An interesting theory for sure and another take on the UFO myth. Believerīs lyrics are still written from a christian point of view, but they are not of the preachy kind. Itīs a matter of how you communicate your point and I think Believer do a great job communicating theirīs.

The tracks are generally more mid-paced than the case were on earlier releases by the band but there are still furiously fast-paced technical thrash metal tracks on the album like "The Need For Conflict" and "Focused Lethality". The album is actually pretty varied and there are also some melodic clean singing on the album which is a new thing in Believerīs universe. "Shut Out The Sun" features a semi-melodic chorus and "The Brave" features real clean and melodic singing. Kurt Bachmanīs vocas are even more caustic and fiercely aggressive than on earlier releases though so the few clean vocals on the album shouldnīt be a cause for alarm, for those who donīt enjoy clean singing.

The level of musicianship is high on all posts. Tight rhythmic interplay, powerful vocals, and great guitar solos make this a raw yet sophisticated and intriguing listening experience. The sound production by The Trauma Team (Kurt Bachman and Joey Daub) is powerful and dark. Seldom have I heard a more heavy and brutal guitar sound. Itīs very balanced though and you can hear everything thatīs being played. A very successful production to these ears.

Upon conclusion "Gabriel" is a strong technical/progressive thrash metal album. I find it highly recommendable to those who enjoy technical/progressive thrash metal with 90s sensibilities (spiced up with some contemporary ideas). A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved. A welcome return to a band who deserve much more recognition than theyīve gotten so far in their career.

 Sanity Obscure by BELIEVER album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.12 | 11 ratings

Sanity Obscure
Believer Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars First of all I was stunned and pleasantly surprised to see Believer here on the progarchives as they are certainly one of the most innovative thrash acts of the late 80s and 90s. Their Christian/Bible based lyrics put them in that huge Christian metal category of the 80s when metal was king and everyone was into it.

Believer are a definitive blend of Morbid Angel meets Kreator with Slayer-esque riffs and dominating pounding drums throughout from Daub. But unlike those bands, rather than glorify and hail Satan, Believer are the opposite, featuring themes of turning to Christ and celebrating Satan's demise as told in Revelation. Bachman's lead vocals are the traditional gravelly tones as found in Morbid Angel, Obituary and Sepultura and the guitar riffing of Bachman and Baddorf is breakneck speed all out thrash with very little lead work, though notably there are some catchy melodies in each track.

Sanity Obscure is the title track that begins with a strange musical box effect that seems broken and edited. It's a weird way to begin a thrash album. Then the brutal riff crunches in, broken and jagged, with a beat missing. Then it stops suddenly with a brief acoustic flourish - welcome to Believer! The double lead break is divine. The lyrics point to the themes and concepts of Biblical principles as is evident in the scripture references. All the lyrics are featured in the liner notes of the CD, backed by scriptures, and worthy of quoting here to get a feel for the type of themes Believer are relaying:

The birth pains have begun, These omens of sanity are obscured, Hidden from the insane minds, Though seeing they do not see, They hear but understanding can't find, This people's heart has become calloused, Their eyes they willfuly seal, Otherwise their eyes might see, And in turn become healed, Blurred visions, Sanity obscure, [Matthew 13:39; Mark 13; I Corinthians 2:7; Romans 16:25; Revelation]

Wisdom's Call has a beautiful acoustic intro that is almost customary for the 80s metal machine. Of course the distorted wall of sound soon breaks in and the band launch into a memorable riff that chugs along with a strange time signature that is unsettling to the ears. The mighty power riff is ever present and a hallmark of the band. At 3:05 the riff breaks again into an uneven complex metrical shift, with stops and starts and off beat sections before the double lead guitar squeal in.

Idols of Ignorance has a really low grumbling riff that builds in pace and then settles into a standard fare speed lick. One of the fastest you will hear, the track pummels the ears. Daub's drums are frenetic double kick throughout. At 2:25 one of the most infectious grooves locks in. So precise and technical. It reminds one of Tourniquet (surely as deserved a place on the progarchives as Believer) and Deliverance, but Believer do it with such conviction and relentless speed.

The rapid fire riffing continues on Stop The Madness that begins with a hearbeat and a voice of a subject snorting coke then the heartbeat flatlines. Message: don't do drugs. The riff spins wildly out of control at 3:15 at shattering speed where time sigs are off the scale 7/8 3/4 8/6 I can't keep up.

Their second album features perhaps Believer's best and most progressive track Dies Irae (Day of Wrath) featuring beautiful orchestral arrangements from Scott Laird, the progressive links are due moreover to his vision. This is the track that peaked my interest in particular and it is very memorable and engaging. The female operatic singing of Julianne Laird Hoge is gorgeous and sung in the foreign opera tongue:

Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna in die illa tremenda Quendo coeli movendi sunt et terra Dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem (Deliver me, Lord from the eternal death On that dreadful day when heavens and earth Shall move, when you come to judge the world through fire) It is moving and features amazing violin and strings. It feels like some Therion or Nightwish in its operatic style but this was way ahead of its time before this type of fusion existed! The rest of the album is virtually full blown wall to wall thrash with blistering guitar licks that blaze at 100 miles an hour. It is not for the blessed meak and only the most open minded Christian need apply, but this music goes beyond the Christian fan as it has a lot to offer for any metal head who enjoys their thrash turned up to 11 and ultra-aggressive. Some of the tracks are positively brutal such as Idols of Ignorance with great lyrics:

Dreamers, enticed to turn away, Kneeling, to gods born from clay, Praying, to images carved to stone, Bowing, though sins are not atoned, Hearing, only silence through your cries, Seeing, nothing with lifeless eyes, Worthless, are the objects idolized, Blinded, men fall to their demise, Unholy, lovers of themselves, Money, the lust of which compels, Brutal, without self control, Defying, the Redeemer of their soul, I am the first and the last, Yahweh, Creator of ages past,

It all ends on the weird U2 cover version of Like a Song that is as out of place here as the last song on the previous album. It seems that Believer do not want us to take them too seriously, but this is a great cover version with some cool melodies and guitar motifs from a mainstream band hyped to the max with Believer's own inimitable style.

Overall, this is my favourite Believer album featuring some of their best work (Dies Irae (Day of Wrath)) and I recommend it to any one into the heavier more extreme technical metal with a progressive edge.

 Dimensions by BELIEVER album cover Studio Album, 1993
4.06 | 16 ratings

Believer Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars "Dimensions" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US technical/progressive thrash metal act Believer. It would also be their last album in 16 years as Believer disbanded in 1994 and wouldnīt release their next album "Gabriel" before 2009. The album was distributed by R.E.X. Records for the christian market (Believer write lyrics based on their christian beliefs) while Roadrunner Records distributed the album to the secular audience. "Dimensions" was re-released by Retroactive Records in December 2004 with 3 bonus tracks which were recorded live on the 31th of October 1989. The re-release is limited to 1000 copies. A few lineup changes have taken place since the release of their last album "Sanity Obscure (1990)" as guitarist Dave Baddorf and bassist Wyatt Robertson have left the band and Jim Winters has replaced them and handles both the bass and some of the guitars on "Dimensions". The core of the band, guitarist/lead vocalist Kurt Bachman and drummer Joey Daub are still present in the lineup.

The basis in the music on "Dimensions" is still aggressive technical thrash metal like Believer also played on their two previous albums but the music on "Dimensions" is far more sophisticated and varied than the case was on the predecessors. Believer venture into progressive territory more than once during the playing time and listeners who found their previous albums too simple should try this one out. There are lots of interesting time signature changes, samples, female soprano vocals and a far more integrated use of orchestral string arrangements on this one than what weīre used to from the band. The pace is generally a bit slower than the predominanly frantic pace of their earlier releases but there are still very fast paced sections on the album. The string arrangements are heard on "What is but cannot not be" but are fully integrated in the four chapter 20 minutes long suite (the songs are seperated. This is not one long track) "Trilogy of Knowledge". A powerful mix of technical thrash metal and classical string arrangements with both aggressive raspy vocals and female soprano vocal parts. This is the centerpiece, highlight, and the most progressive moment of the album. The other tracks on the album are quality material too.

The musicianship are on a high level throughout. Challenging compositional structures and tight playing make "Dimensions" an intriguing listening experience. The sound production by The Trauma Team (Kurt Bachman and Joey Daub) and Ted Hermanson is dark and powerful. An excellent sound that suits the music well. While Believer never received the attention they deserved I personally think "Dimensions" is a seminal technical/progressive thrash metal album from the 90s and mandatory listening if youīre a fan of the style. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

 Sanity Obscure by BELIEVER album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.12 | 11 ratings

Sanity Obscure
Believer Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Sanity Obscure" is the 2nd full-length studio album by US thrash metal act Believer. The album was first released through R.E.X. Records in 1990 and then again in 1991 through Roadrunner Records. Thereīs been a change in the lineup since "Extraction from Mortality (1989)" as Howe Kraft has been replaced by new bassist Wyatt Robertson.

The technical and aggressive thrash metal style from the debut album is continued here and references to bands like Coroner and Kreator are still pretty obvious. The music is generally a bit more sophisticated than on the debut album though and thereīs even a progressive tinged track on the album in "Dies Irae (Day of Wrath)". That song features orchestral string parts composed by Kurt Bachmanīs high school friend Scott Laird as well as female soprano vocals courtesy of Lairdīs sister Julianne Laird Hoge. A really innovative and quite interesting mix of thrash metal and classical music that was ahead of itīs time in 1990. The rest of the tracks on the album are in a more "regular" technical and aggressive thrash metal style with Kurt Bachmanīs raw and fiercely aggressive vocals in front, spitting out lyrics which are still written from a christian point of view. "Stop the Madness" is an anti drug song though. Believer also play a U2 cover track in "Like a Song". Itīs placed as the last song on "Sanity Obscure", which was probably a good idea as it does break the flow of the album.

The musicianship are on a high level. Believer are a very tight playing unit. Sharp, edgy, and fast precision playing. The sound production is a bit darker than on the debut which provides the music a harder edge and slightly more atmosphere too. "Sanity Obscure" is in all departments a great second album by Believer and a step up from the otherwise promising debut album "Extraction from Mortality (1989)". As mentioned above this is also the album where Believer start toying with semi-progressive ideas which was something they would explore further on subsequent releases. "Sanity Obscure" is however still first and foremost a technically well played thrash metal album. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

Thanks to UMUR for the artist addition.

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