MISSION OF CHRIST - Silence In Grave
July 17, 2019, a year ago
Very cool slice of Canadian metal history here, Victoria’s Mission Of Christ one of Canuck metal’s great coulda-beens, the band ending up on Metal Blade but never releasing an album on the label, living on in infamy on the back of a Metal Blade/Death Records roster T-shirt (alongside Goo Goo Dolls!). The band is also known for being an early musical stomping ground for Steve McBean, who would go on to play in bands such as Black Mountain and Jerk With a Bomb. But here, the sounds—which have been remixed by Kurt Ballou, although they decidedly do not get over-Balloued—are pure metal, and this archival release shows a young band with tons of promise.
Silence In Grave collects much of MOC’s output, the LP proper containing demo tracks from 1987 to 1989 with the band's five-piece lineup, and the included four-song flexi featuring four thrashier songs from a rehearsal demo by the original four-piece lineup in 1986. The LP material is fast and furious crossover that brings to mind The Accüsed pretty quick, but with a more prominent metal edge; the songs still sound great, are played perfectly, and the production, amazingly, still delivers big and punchy. “Lovelust” shows the band’s great skill at navigating more mid-paced material when they want to, and “Crypts Of Darkness” proves MOC’s incredible adeptness at songwriting. “Nightmare Beyond” is pure thrash metal glory, the band crafting a five-minute epic that could hold its own with any of the Big Four (and also nods to fellow Canadian travellers Voivod). The flexi dips in sound quality and sounds more like young guys thrashin’ hard; the spirit is there but it serves more as curio and extreme metal history piece than something you’ll want to spin regularly. The LP, however, stands up excellently. As an interesting aside, when Supreme Echo compiled the songs on the LP together from demos, the intent was to create the MOC album that never was, an admirable goal that here has been accomplished, with metalheads worldwide now able to enjoy it. Also, check the great booklet, which includes interviews, the original Metal Blade contract, and much more.