Saturday February 11, the walls of the Marshall Road Church of God shook before the Sunday sermon was delivered. The power of metal filled the room and was welcomed by those assembled. Though some of the seated, dearly beloved wore earplugs, the presumably unfamiliar sites and sounds of stacked speakers, light rigs, drum kits, keyboards and loud guitars were captured on phones as the piano and pulpit were pushed back to the corner so the gospel of rock and metal could be delivered under the cross. The hymn book and bibles stayed put while loud guitars preached the gospel.
Historically speaking churches and power chords don’t get along. Though the church became the house of the holy and heavy as hard rock and metal belted out past the witching hour, the holy water didn’t boil but plenty of bass and decibels bounced off the walls and the pews were comfortable.
It was Four Star Revivals release of The Underdog EP. The show also delivered Weapons of God, Samuel Day, Biogenesis, and the longtime reunion of WarMinister.
Weapons of God brought the heavy chords and power of the trinity (Christian, positive, power) metal to the stage for a nine song set, opening the show and doors to the loud booming message within. Starting in ’09 as Dreams of Serenity with a few different members and name change in 2012 to the current moniker, they play music under the inspiration of Psalms 150 and Ephesians 6:10-20.
The loud electricity hit asking Are you Ready? Names were called, written and recorded in the book of everlasting life and salvation. The night’s version of Glory and the Power was a few amp turns up from the usual Hallelujah.
With a hint or two of a ’80s metal vibe, Ghost whispered with astral heavy breath and ballad power. Heaven Can’t Wait rolled out rougher strings with tough love but promises of salvation. Weapons of God ended with plenty of riffs and firepower from the Almighty.
Skillet meets power pop, addictive hard rock and a bit of jazz as Samuel Day played a set walking the line, balancing radio friendly tunes and those pleasing to the pulpit. Day’s received airplay from various Cincinnati and internet stations. His band carries the youth into the future.
Igniter started with a pop, rock, grungy combo. Keys came out for iTunes single Look Forward. Walk with Fire started soft, ballad like and majestic with strings and keys, carrying a certain addictive melancholy.
Kingdoms was about knowing Jesus as keys came out for techno pop single Look Forward.
Dayton’s Biogenesis started in the mid ‘90s performing a hybrid mix of techno, prog, death and power metal with vocalist Chaz Bond providing the human hydraulics behind the pipes of the six person band.
The Mark Bleeds Through started with a stark warning. Bond warned of the lies in your head that try telling you you’re worthless. Their mental, emotional poison were spewed and spoken on Inside the Beast.
Guitarist Benny Bodine played the first set of back to back double duty, getting the most stage/alter time. All songs during WarMinister’s set were resurrected and played for the first time since 1990.
WarMinister played metal on the local scene between 1985 and 1990, featuring vocalist Scott Wallace, guitarists Bodine and Chris Weiser, drummer Deron Castle and bassist Matt O’Shaughnessy. They made their mark during the era of big hair and glam receiving airplay nationwide and featured in Circus, Cream, Hit Parader, Billboard and Metal Edge, also receiving short but hallowed attention from MTV. They released a four song EP Out of the Ashes in 1986, before calling it quits in ‘90.
The reunion, sporting more or less hair, depending on member started On the Roxx. The melodic winds of change blew in the era of Dokken and Kix when the hair was as wild and crazy as the guitar solos. Out of the Ashes reeked with ‘80s powered nostalgia.
We Rock to Rock had a Twisted Sister We’re Not Gonna Take It call to action party vibe. The Xtacy of playing classic tunes with old friends outweighed any artificial high. Guitars mellowed, with confessional lyrics singing along with hands in the air with symbolic lighters ablaze on With you all Along.
Bodine shares a story of accidental tragedy and band dedication from back in the day opening for Tesla at Hara Arena.
“Back in the day, we had a crazy stage show, including a drum riser with platforms that would lower and rise back up, along with massive amounts of pyro. We had a guy named Eddie that was in charge of setting up and then discharging all the pyrotechnics during the show. Before one show, as he was getting it all set up, some wires got crossed and a flash pot went off in his face, severely burning his face and neck. Our drummer Deron came flying out of the dressing room, picked Eddie up, threw him over his shoulder, kicked open the emergency exit door and flopped him down on the hood of a car. He ended up spending a good bit of time at the Miami Valley Burn Unit due to the severity of his burns, but they eventually let him out early so he could see us open for Tesla at Hara Arena!”
As it drew late Four Star Revival came out to celebrate The Underdog EP release playing each song along with classics and a special cover.
The 13 song set started with second and third EP track Liar and Rumors of War. The law of the land was laid down with a visit to The Garden of Good and Evil as The Underdog pulled out the chug and never say die fighting attitude.
Bodine took a tour of the room, going pew by pew, hanging out with the night owls. Drawing cheers and raised fists and horns from some with a few raised eyebrows, Black Sabbath was brought in house marching to Children of the Grave.
Images by Mike Ritchie