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Oracle - Desolate Kings 2010


01. Passage Denied

02. Harlots Destiny

03. Witches & Warlocks

04. Purging Fire, The

05. Desolate Kings

06. Legion

07. Rebecca

08. Look Away

09. Willful Death

10. Desolate Kings

11. Spirit of Egypt, The

12. Wolves of the Cloth

13. Apathy's Slumber

14. Look Away [Alternate Version]

15. Willful Death [Alternate Version]

16. Desolate Kings [Alternate Version]

17. Spirit of Egypt [Alternate Version



Shawn Pelata – Lead Vocals

Robert Kearns – Guitars & Lead Vocals

Jimmy Weaver – Guitars

Thomas Marshall – Bass

Jay Denny - Drums

Just in time for the long-awaited second Line of Fire release, Divebomb Records has made available an anthology of Line of Fire vocalist Shawn Pelata's early band Oracle. The North Carolina cult heavy metal band was active in the early `90s and quickly made a name for themselves, particularly in Christian metal circles. The band's debut EP Selah was very well received, but didn't propel Oracle to the next level.

Desolate Kings - The Oracle Anthology collects all of the available Oracle recordings on one disc. Comparisons to other Christian metal bands like Barren Cross, Saint and Sacred Warrior are inevitable, and entirely appropriate. Oracle also drew obvious inspiration from classic bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and to some extent Queensryche.

Their hard-hitting, traditional heavy metal sound emphasized high speed riffs, intricate solos and of course Shawn Pelata's powerful, high-octave vocals. After hearing Pelata's smooth delivery on the Line of Fire albums it's a bit of a shock to hear him doing the "screaming for vengeance" thing here, but I think he pulls it off quite well. Oracle also had a good degree of technicality that suggests they could have made a very effective progressive metal band.

As I mentioned earlier, Oracle was a Christian band, and their lyrics reflect that faith. This is not Stryper-style, vague and ambiguous stuff, but rather evangelical "hellfire and brimstone" material. As such, it has the potential to alienate those of us who might care more for the band's music than their message. Of course, the band's music is powerful enough that even the most strident non-believers may be willing to look past the songs' religious content.

While Selah was originally released on CD, Desolate Kings is the first widely available, and most comprehensive, collection of Oracle material. It includes the full Selah EP, several early alternate demo recordings, and a pair of songs recorded after Pelata's departure that featured guitarist Robert Kerns on vocals. The songs have all been remastered as best as possible given the source material, and sound fantastic.

If you're a fan of classic, `80s era Christian metal, Desolate Kings - The Oracle Anthology is a must-have collection. It should also appeal to fans of classic heavy metal bands like Sanctuary and Metal Church, as well as Pelata's current band Line of Fire (though the bands' styles differ greatly). It's limited to 1000 copies.


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