Mystical Dominion Messiah - Final Warning (Retroactive) 1984/2010

1. "Who's To Blame" (3:02)
2. "Outta Control" (4:25)
3. "Where Are You" (4:03)
4. "The Choice" (3:37)
5. "Heavenly Metal" (5:42)
6. "Mistaken Identity" (4:50)
7. "Keep Searching" (4:17)
8. "Keep Searching" (4:17)
9. "Lucifer" (6:04)
10. "Final Warning" (5:46)

Messiah's "Final Warning" was one of the earliest Christian heavy metal albums, only pre-dated by the likes of Rez and Jerusalem. 1984 was the year that Stryper's first EP had just been released, as well as independent releases from bands like Leviticus and Saint. Unfortunately "Final Warning" didn't have wide distribution and quickly became a collector's item. For many years it was one of the rarest and most sought after Christian metal collectibles. Copies of the original Viniculum Records LP were valued at approximately Euro 150 ($120 US). CD bootlegs copies have been floating around for years, but even those were pretty rare and sold for hefty sums on auction sites. Finally in 2010, Retroactive Records picked up "Final Warning" for an official CD release.

Messiah are old school heavy metal with a lot of 1970's influences. While they are often compared to bands like Saint, Philadelphia, Messiah Prophet and Warlord, there is also a bit of Uriah Heep and Nazareth in their sound as well. They blend a heavy, dark, melodic sound with an almost ethereal atmosphere. The album is nearly evenly split between the more melodic numbers such as "Who’s To Blame", "Outta Control" and the ultra catchy "Heavenly Metal" and the more classic heavy metal numbers such as "Mistaken Identity", "Final Warning" and the epic, apocalyptic warning of "Lucifer". As might be expected from an early 80's, independent band, the production leaves a bit to be desired. Even with modern mastering techniques, the overall sound is still a bit muddy with the rhythm guitars hiding behind the drums and some ethereal keys. Despite that fact, the production is part of the charm of the album. It has that dark, early 80's feel. Bands like Raven and Venom had horrid production values in the early 80's, but the raw sound was part of the attraction to those bands, and I think that applies to Messiah as well. "Final Warning" is an album for those longing for the days of classic Christian heavy metal and hard rock, especially for those into the more obscure bands.

The Retroactive Records reissue is remastered, though not mastered so loud that it sounds bad like a lot of recent remasters. The insert features a six panel insert with photos of the band and the original cover art which has been only slightly modified.

This is not the same Messiah that is the Swedish death metal band.

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