Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Bruised Heel - Genesis 3:15
Musical Style: Melodic Rock Produced By:
Record Label: Independent Country Of Origin: USA
Year Released: 2006 Artist Website:
Tracks: 12 Rating: 55%
Running Time: 57:14
Bruised Heel - Genesis 3:15

Bruised Heel, a new Christian rock band from the beautiful Pacific Northwest, delivers a blend of eighties influenced metal and hard rock on its 2006 full length debut Genesis 3:15.  Fans of Legend/Legend 7, King James, Whitecross, Stryper, Neon Cross and Guardian will find a lot to like here as will those into Petra, Idle Cure, TriPart and White Heart.  The album, unfortunately, ends up being a somewhat erratic and inconsistent effort in that I find myself hitting the skip button a few too many times.  One of the problems with Genesis 3:15, for example, is the fact is suffers from a severe case of balladitis.  Balladitis?  This is an affliction in which a band feels it is necessary to imbue a recording with an inordinate number of ballads, “mellow” tracks and songs that stray towards the laid back side of things.  And such is the case here in that out of 12 compositions Genesis 3:15 features a total of five ballads; but out of those five only two – “One Answer” and “I Don’t Need Suicide” – I find to hold up under repeated play.  On top of that, there are several filler tracks in "I Won’t Let Go”, “Victory!” and “I’m On Fire” that fail the test of time no matter what light you shine them under.  Irregardless, when the band hits the nail on the head – and chooses to crank it up in the process – it can deliver a quality hard rocker in that “Live For Christ”, “Forgive One Another”, “The Red Light”, “Lost World” and “Come On Home” all shine.    

Mike Buchanan brings a high end but gritty vocal style that proves a near dead ringer for Andy Denton of Legend/Legend 7.  And that is a very good thing.  The guy proves a quality talent in that his delivery – at times tough as nails and at others clean and even quite emotional – brings out the best in “Come On Home” and the ballads “One Answer” and “I Don’t Need Suicide”.  If, at the same time, you are a fan of razor sharp lead guitar work entrenched in the influence of the eighties then look no further than the guitar team of Lonnie Bopp and Kent Holliday.  The soloing provided by the two on “Live For Christ”, “Forgive One Another”, “Red Light” and “Lost World” is nothing less than impressive.  So it is without a doubt that a lack of talent does not hold Bruised Heel back.

Production values are competent but would improve with a touch of big budget polish.  No, nothing distracting but I cannot help but get the feeling a crucial element of refinement is missing here.

The album gets off to a strong start with the edgy hard rocker “Live For Christ”.  Opening to a few brief seconds of vocal harmonies, the song advances in guitar driven fashion until culminating for a chorus carried at a spirited upbeat tempo.  “Live For Christ” is aptly named:

Don’t lose your freedom
Stand for what is right, Just
Do whatever it takes, to
Live for Christ

“Forgive One Another” slowly proceeds through its first verse to an acoustic guitar.  Once a bluesy rhythm guitar kicks in, however, the pace picks up as the song evenly flows to a melodic based chorus shored up by polished vocal harmonies.  As its title implies, “Forgive One Another” extols the virtues of forgiveness:

If we all would forgive one another
We would always unite as one, if
We all would love one another
We will always unite, in God’s love

“Promises Of God”, the first of three straight ballads, is fortified its entire length by an acoustic guitar.  A touch of rhythm guitar highlights the mix upon obtaining its steadfast chorus.  The overall feeling I get here is uneventful, particularly in light of the fact this one falls a bit flat when compared to the albums better ballads “One Answer” and “I Don’t Need Suicide”.

The emotional “One Answer” is as fine a power ballad as you will ever here.  The song is compelled through its first verse acoustically, the poignant setting upheld for a moving chorus in which a crisp rhythm guitar plays a prominent role.  An adeptly played acoustic guitar solo is added to a number talking about God's faithfulness:

Living, loving through Jesus
He’s always faithful, He’s sure to go
Now I’m steady inside my heart
I know the Answer
He is Jesus

“I Won’t Let Go” ranks with the albums least notable compositions.  Another acoustic based ballad, this one comes across a bit too laid back – and pedestrian – for my taste, lacking that extra element of creativity and inspiration that would put it over the top.  Next.

With my attention span starting to drift after three tracks on the mellower side of things, the album delivers a desperately needed hard rocker in “The Red Light”.  What we have here is a no-frills number in which a forward mix of rhythm guitar is joined with a driving chorus and stretch of grit flavored lead guitar work.  Very well done.

“Lost World” maintains the hard rocking initiative.  The song progresses through its first verse at a robust mid-tempo pace, gaining momentum as it obtains a sweeping chorus standing out as a result of its energy-laden appeal.  Another rollicking guitar solo brings out the best in a number that touches upon the issue of spiritual warfare:

We are the soldiers in
A lost world
We have come to bring you peace
We are the soldiers,
We are the soldiers,
We are the soldiers in
A lost world, A lost world!

“I Don’t Need Suicide” is an emotional ballad that brings to mind Bloodgood’s “Alone In Suicide” (off Detonation).  The song drifts ahead calmly from the start, an acoustic guitar leading the way until the rhythm guitar steps forward as impetus builds for an ardently charged chorus delivering an anti-suicide message:

He said I need some answers
I’ve got to change my life
I don’t need suicide to make it right
I need some answers
I’ve got to change my life
I don’t need suicide to make it right
Cause’ I need Jesus to change my life

I enjoy how “I Don’t Need Suicide” abruptly picks up in pace for a skillfully done stretch of lead guitar.

“Victory”, an up-tempo hard rocker dealing with the contest between David and Goliath, pushes the cheese factor rating to a level of ten.  I am sorry, but this is a mundane sounding piece that gives rise to way too much of an amateurish feel.  If you are looking for a track that does a better job capturing the emotion and moment of the confrontation in question then check out Martiria’s “The Giant And The Shepherd”.

I might describe “I’m On Fire” as the second filler track in a row.  Another number moving in a straightforward hard rock direction, “I’m On Fire” fails to hold up under its lackluster delivery and a chorus on the trite side of things.  There is simply not enough emotion and fire (no pun intended) here to maintain my full attention.  The songs lyrics, however, are quite good: 

You are the reason that I’m alive today
You give me hope, and I’m thankful each day
Keep pouring out Your love into my life
I’m overwhelmed, and I’m here to say

You’re love is so real
You’ve healed my broken heart
You are the reason I’m living for today
I call upon Your name
I give You all the praise!

“Psalm 23”, ballad number five, falls short of the mark due to its utter predictability.  The song, for example, delivers everything you would expect from a ballad: Moving environment?  Yes.  A nice touch of acoustic guitar?  Sure enough.  Emotionally played guitar solo?  You got it.  While not exactly bad musically, “Psalm 23” comes across a bit too formula in following the same patterns of the four ballads that precede it.  In other words, how many times do we need to hear this?

Bruised Heel saves perhaps its best for last with “Come On Home”.  The song slowly fades in before keyboards gently hold sway over its first verse, the pace not accelerating until a charging rhythm guitar leads the way to a stylish chorus in which Buchanan showcases the abundant range to his delivery.  Plenty of tasteful lead work as well.

I really hate to give these guys such a tough review because without a doubt there is a lot of talent here.  “Come On Home”, “Live For Christ”, “Forgive One Another” and “One Answer”, at the same time, prove without a doubt Bruised Heel can put together a quality composition.  That being said, it is not untypical to end up hitting the skip button a minimum of four or five times here.  In other words, an element of consistency and continuity is lacking throughout Genesis 3:15 that is desperately needed.  If you are looking for something influenced by the eighties my advice would be to first check out Letter 7, Mad Max or Unforsaken.  Until next time, I would like to encourage these guys to continue to develop their songwriting skills (and back off a bit from the ballads in the process!) and aptitude in the studio.

Review by: Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: “Live For Christ” (4:43), “Forgive One Another” (5:04), “Promises Of God” (5:27), “One Answer” (5:55), “I Won’t Let Go” (4:59), “The Red Light” (4:26), “Lost World” (4:25), “I Don’t Need Suicide” (4:30), “Victory!” (3:19), “I’m On Fire” (4:59), “Psalm 23” (4:18), “Come On Home” (5:12)

Mike Buchanan – Lead Vocals & Keyboards
Kent Holliday – Guitars
Lonnie Bopp – Guitars
Kevin Olds – Bass
Dan Bowser - Drums


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