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Faith Factor - Against A Darkened Sky (CD)

Faith Factor
Against A Darkened Sky
by Grigoris Chronis at 02 February 2009, 12:46 AM

Once I was taught - being a teenager - Metal music is all that deals with the devil and darkness and magic and gloom and everything like this. Then, getting familiar with American bands like BARREN CROSS, BLOODGOOD, SAINT, STRYPER, BRIDE, LEVITICUS and a whole clan of marvelous acts it was time to reconsider and (eventually) believe in the supremacy of music itself with the lyrics' volume upon consideration at case. Weird to become, even Death Metal or Black(?!?) Metal provided such creators like MORTIFICATION or ADMONISH. Music unites, huh?
First fact you can't escape with FAITH FACTOR is the man behind the mic. Norm Ski Kiersznowski is some kind of legend for devotees of the epic/power path of US Metal music in the 80s. Being the frontman of the Turnersville, New Jersey based metallers DEADLY BLESSING his ultra high-pitched throat is partially responsible for the myth behind this band's one and only Ascend From The Cauldron studio LP in 1988. A real candy for 80s US Metal followers, this album still delivers lessons of standing tall Metal majesty and Ski has since then been left with the stigma of a more-than-shrieking unbelievable lead singer. Enough with DEADLY BLESSING, of course; whoever's fan of the metallum created back then in the States must listen to Ascend From The Cauldron.
Even from the DEADLY BLESSING days there were some excerpts leaning towards the Christian side. In FAITH FACTOR this is the whole deal, lyrics wise. FAITH FACTOR formed in 2006, have inked deal with Retroactive Records (not a surprise for those knowing much the label's roster) and also featured DEADLY BLESSING guitarist Jim Alessi in an early incarnation. In 2007 they offered a first taste of their aim via the 07-07-07 3-track EP; whoever got the message back then surely knew what to expect from a further full-length effort. Yeap, Against A Darkened Sky showcases a blend of traditional Metal played the US way, enough complex songparts with immense confidence in avoiding the 'Prog Metal' trap and sufficient atmosphere/melodies in instrumentation/grooves in order to match up with the lyrics content. Do they succeed in this tryout, someone may wonder?
Indeed, the albums very good and kinda one small step before being called essential. Against A Darkened Sky's main drawback seems to be the production; some fatter volume would be crucial to upgrade the songs' value even more; the drums, in specific, should have a more 'intense' presence. Letting this shortcoming aside, there we have one intro, one outro and eight songs of well-written Metal splendor. Two of these eight normal tracks do bear the 'opus' attribute: In Rememberance and Ascend Unto Heaven (does the title relate to the DEADLY BLESSING quote?) utilize - I assume - everything FAITH FACTOR wants to focus on in this album, meaning serenity, ascendancy, reliance and - why not? - insight. Along with the rest of the tracklist, be sure you'll get a music blend relevant to the deeds of (pre-O.M.) QUEENSRYCHE, SACRED WARRIOR, the mild - in regards - times of DEADLY BLESSING, (pre-90s) FATES WARNING, CRIMSON GLORY, 'terminal' IRON MAIDEN and SANCTUARY (or NEVERMORE at short times?).
You'll surely wonder does Ski provide his familiar vocals? Well, yes he does, and this time he does not over-do it, to be honest, since he equally focuses on the 'ritual' side of the songs' parts. For those not common to the vocalist's range, let's just say Ski easily overdoes what Geoff Tate or Bruce Dickinson or Midnight became (to a degree) famous for. To be frank, there were times - in The Rapture or Armor Of God or the last part in Ascend Unto Heaven- the fist was raised itself high in honor of the glorious 80s Metal sake…
I could go on forever and write 'bout the guitars sharpness and the bass/drums pounding etc etc. Against A Darkened Sky should be considered as a near-must album for fans of American traditional Metal. Ski and co. deliver an excellent CD with variety, class and neat metallic faith. This is truly powerful Power Metal music with melodies, to my ears at least. Don't pass by.

We come across the sea, God's Metal Ministry
From the land of the home and the brave
Flying the Spirit, in more ways than one
Flag for Metal, and the Holy Son…

(Keep It True)

4 Star Rating

Evila Si Eh
Keep It True
The Rapture
In God's Shadow
In Rememberance
Light Replaces Darkness
Armor Of God
Divine Temptation
Ascend Unto Heaven
Sinner's Prayer
Norm Ski Kiersznowski - Vocals
Blaine Booth - Guitar
Chris Matusieski - Guitar, Keyboards
Joe Manghan - Bass
Dan Jefferson - Drums
Record Label: Retroactive Records


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