Album Review :
Debtor - Deliverance

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Band: Debtor
Title: Deliverance (Reissue)
Label: Blood & Ink Records
Release Date: 2009
Review By: Steve


  1. Escape
  2. Salvaged
  3. None Righteous
  4. Failure
  5. Hope For Death
  6. Radiant
  7. Witness

All I have to say about Debtor is “powerful”! Anytime the CD booklet has the description of the lead singer as “Prayers, Offensive Statements, Acoustic Guitar” you know you are in for something special. Debtor claims their name from the parable in Matthew 18:21-35 about the debtor who is forgiven millions of dollars of debt, yet would not forgive the debts of another for only a few bucks.

The first release of Deliverance was released in September of 2008 from five-piece hardcore band out of Pennsylvania. Debtor puts a new spin on hardcore; they label it as “Grime/Concrete/Gospel” on their MySpace page. Whatever you call it, I like it. Debtor has signed with Blood & Ink for this re-release and will release future albums with Blood and Ink even though those details have not been finalized yet.  While Debtor’s songs may not be long (Only one is over 2:30) they pack a full Sunday service in each song. To quote lead vocalist Alan Popoli, “Our lyrics are frequently prayers of frustration and personal struggle, or diatribes against the evil of the world.”

Musically, Debtor has all that you can and would expect from a hardcore band. They remind me an awful lot of Strongarm, which is a good thing. To me where they make their mark and offer something different is lyrically. Popoli speaks a lot more than your average hardcore vocalist but don’t worry the majority of lyrics have some excellent hardcore passionate screams. I believe it is an excellent combination and drives home Debtor’s message that much more.

My favorite song is “Hope For Death” because it really spoke to me. I am dealing with a lot of personal issues right now and this song has really encouraged me. It was as if God brought this song to me personally. In it Popoli speaks and screams, “I’m just a worthless waste of space.  / Nothing goes right and it never will.  / The world I built has turned to dust.  / Despair and misery are all I can feel.  / Who am I?  / What’s the point of this life?  / My groans are pouring out like water from this wretched, weak, and pitiful frame.  / I know I have no future here, but I will hold onto you.  / When everything I worked for withers up and collapses, / and all my best endeavors are worthless defeats, / and all they would have gotten me anyway is empty vanity that rots to nothing – / everything I do washed away by the waves, / building sand castles with the tide coming in; / the one pure thing that lasts is service to you; / I wanna make this count.  / So give me love, / make me whole.  Let my time be worth something at all.  / Give me love, / make me whole.  / Restore my hope.”

Overall: Debtor puts out a unique and special flavor to the hardcore genre you are probably not used to. Their hardcore is bold and inspiring to the spirit. I would recommend this to any fan of Strongarm or old school hardcore. Because this album touched me personally I would rate it a 10, but I know it may not impact everyone the way it did me so I considering all other factors I gave it a high 7.