LAYTON & MARTIN: Roxology: Majestic Hymns from the Catacombs

You’ve read Jeff McCormack’s great review and synopsis of this album. I thought I’d share my perspective, too, since I was planning on reviewing it as well. We like to do that at Heaven’s Metal – especially for important, big releases. Let it be known that this is also an important, big release.

My first impression was not important or big at all. For some reason (why am I so judgmental?), I figured this would feature some old, monotone singer running these old hymns into the ground. I’ve heard way too many bad blues rock tunes in my day, I guess. Anyway, I put off listening for awhile due to my preconceived ill notion. When I first started listening, I was put off that I was wrong.

What? An instrumental? Maybe the next tune will include vocals. I was battling myself inside, but then I just shut the argument up and started listening – loud and in my car. There’s nothing like full volume treatment to put yourself face-to-face, so to speak, with music. I was impressed. My impression turned into joy. My joy started salivating like a happy dog.

This collection of 10 tunes is a fantastic listen. The guitar tones are so full and sweet. Nothing old or dated about them. Crisp, clean and tasty they are. Nick Layton’s guitar playing is simply outstanding here. Even old familiar tunes that are loaded with pre-conceived, I’ve-heard-this-a-million-times notions (like “A Might Fortress” or “I’ll Fly Away”) are pushed back with melody and feeling in his fretted fingertips. Even the old ’70s standard, “They’ll Know We are Christians” is on here, which sounds great.

I was wrong about this album. I’m so glad I gave it a chance (and who wouldn’t, with Roger Dale Martin’s musical pedigree and all?). Play these tunes loud and see if you haven’t found a new best worshipping friend.

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