Martin Simson has been a mainstay musician in the Christian metal scene for decades, having played bass in several bands in Southern California in the ’80s. One of those bands were Quiet Riot labelmates, Conzo Fury. This historical foundation is good, because the dude is a good songwriter, as proved by this single, “Destroyer of Death.”
The single’s infectious keyboard intro comes jumping out of whatever method of amplification you’re using (I chose my car stereo at max volume and then earbuds for repeated listens). Not far after comes some shredding guitars from CJ Grimmark (Narnia, Empire 21). If you have any affection towards melodic and neo-classical metal, the song will have you with this “hello.”
Forget having to wait for the chorus to get the real impact of what’s going on. It’s one of the most immediate songs you’ll hear. After the power chords and drums push you back like a couple of bodyguards shoving through a crowd, Grimmark’s neo-classical alternate picking comes flying straight at you. It climbs at breakneck speed and explodes like a flashy firework show.
The vocals jump right in with one of two voices you’ll hear in the song. It’s the king of melodic metal – Rob Rock. He kind of plays the seeker role with this voice. It sort of passively eases into the lyrics:
“Another day of pain. Another day of strife. Is there anything to gain? Is there any hope for life?”
Like a counter-voice, Rock, powers back thunderously like he doesn’t need a microphone to fill up a room with his voice with another question straight from the Bible: “Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
Soon after we are offered a melodic but powerful answer and solution: “Destroyer of Death. He’s the Destroyer of Death!”
The seeker voice becomes the believer: “I finally see the one true way. Christ the King has set me free. Unto a bright and shining day. No more debts to pay.”
Projected power vocals soar: “The spirit rejoices through His grace. My body no longer bound. I will see Him face to face in that most holy place.”
Oh my goodness! This is so good! It’s the perfect hybrid of joyous lyrics (i.e. praise) and powerful, emotionally-driven melodies (and blazing guitars, rumbling bass and drums (powerfully played by Eberhard Etzold), with that infectious keyboard never completely fading away).
This is why I fell deeply in love with melodic Christian metal several decades ago. The guitars are sweet, sophisticated and fast enough to melt your face and the infectious hook of a chorus is so triumphant and the embodiment of Truth.
It’s over in a flash of 3 minutes and 47 seconds. And that’s the only thing that sucks about this single – it’s only one song! Thank goodness for the conveniently-located play button. Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!
This collaboration between Simson and his uber-talented friends (Grimmark and Rock) was an idea of delight. This is easily on par with Rock’s best work with Joshua, Driver, and Impellitteri.
I can’t wait to hear what’s next on the horizon, which is rumored to be other guest musicians. Bring it, Martin!
Epilogue: like many of my contemporary rock journalists, I have kicked and screamed against the release of single tunes from artists and reviewing said releases as an entity of critique. Having grown up digesting full-length albums, it’s so hard to accept the future sometimes. But face it we must and thus I submit this review of … a … single … song. Enjoy [10/10].