Song of the Day: Vengeance Rising - Human Sacrifice

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The first time I heard this band, I was completely blown away. The year was 1988. I was about 14 years old, and I had just started getting into Christian metal via bands like Jerusalem, Whitecross, and Barren Cross. Sacred Warrior was probably the heaviest I’d heard at the time. Then one night I was listening to KOKF 91FM out of Oklahoma City, a Christian radio station that had a late night metal show. I heard the most intense, loud, gnarly thing I’d ever heard in my life. I couldn’t believe this was a Christian band! In fact, I was pretty skeptical.

A few weeks later I was at my local Christian bookstore sampling the demo tapes (anyone here old enough to remember those?) when I saw one for Vengeance’s debut Human Sacrifice. I was just as blown away this time as when I first heard them, but this time for another reason altogether. As I listened, I was reading through the lyrics. Every song lyric was virtually straight from the Bible! I kept listening, and eventually got a taste for this new (to me) music called thrash metal. They quickly became my favorite band, and I got to see them live about a year or two later with the classic lineup on the Once Dead tour. This was before the major upheaval that occurred with massive lineup changes, and eventually the bizarre, tragic, and well-known departure of lead vocalist Roger Martinez from the Christian faith altogether.

To this day, I think Human Sacrifice is probably the greatest Christian metal album ever released. Not only is it incredibly heavy, it’s also innovative. The way they fused intense thrash metal–at times heavy enough to be classified as death metal–with bluesy guitar leads has rarely been done (if at all). It’s raw, intense, heavy, fast, technical, and just downright amazing. Despite hundreds of other high-quality Christian metal releases over the past 6 decades, I don’t think anything else can top it.

I chose “Human Sacrifice” specifically today because I wanted a song that would represent today as Good Friday, and would speak to the Passion events surrounding our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May we all remember his Human Sacrifice and all that it accomplished for us, and for all who believe.

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dan druff
dan druff
April 7, 2023 8:26 am

fantastic song. too bad their vocalist took a hard turn away from the faith, even actively campaigning against it.

if you havent yet, check out “envision evangelene” by mortification. it’s the events of Holy Friday/the Passion from the point of view of the angels, who dont have any inclination of what God is planning with the events.

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