I had no idea what to expect from one of the greatest Christian Rock/Metal vocalists of our time. But whatever I had conjured up in my head pales in comparison to what we actually received. We knew what Bloodgood was capable of, however, Les did the unthinkable. You actually might want to crucify me after I say this (pun intended), but this album just might be better than anything Bloodgood ever released. It's absolutely heavier and without a doubt, Les did not miss his chance to prove that he has the vocals, the tenacity, and the courage to make not just a really good album but also an album that will forever leave its mark. I can't begin to express to you how impressive this album is with a rock-star line-up of Paul Jackson, Oz Fox, Craig Church, and David Zaffiro. As for this one, for certain, they left nothing on the table.
He's Coming starts off with I Wanna Know You. It's full of driving guitars with twists and turns and a really solid chorus. Scars, the second song on the album, is a fully-loaded guitar masterclass with 80's shredding. Then comes Oz Fox (Stryper) on Judas Is Dead. You hear a heavy influence with darkened tones, and a song titled Judas Is Dead should be dark. I really think every song is great but this song has something really special and feels like a mix of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, but I think you get it. The fourth song, Jesus Freak Show was written in the hopes of the next Bloodgood album. It's a really freakishly great song. So great in fact that it should have been on the album twice.
Moving on to Faith Is Tested and then How Long, heavy with an abrupt interruption at the end of the song that I personally love. I especially love it because the next song is such a contrast. River is about challenges and inspiration that Les received from his granddaughter whose name is River, but it obviously contains a double meaning as well. You can call it a ballad if you want, but I call it a Holy Spirit bliss-of-emotion. Four minutes and twenty seconds into the song you'll see why... something happens here that is magical. The entire weight of this album sits at the heart of this moment. I encourage you to listen to this with earphones and just take this moment in. It's as if something spiritual took over leading into the last two songs. He's Coming (the title track) comes out screaming with lyrics such as "the touch you desire will be replaced with Holy Fire." He's Coming, as great as it is musically, sums up all the reasons that this music has meant so much to believers. It's more than just Les' signature scream, although we are thankful it wasn't left out, it's the music that intentionally gets overshadowed with the message that resounds so loudly on this album that in fact He's coming.
Okay, now to a really important question? How does one end an album this great? Well, with an encore, of course. There's a saying "behind every good man is a great woman." Enter Joyce Carlsen. Just when you thought that Les was "in the studio" doing all the work, we've come to find out that Joyce was a mastermind behind the soundboard making a lot of the calls and giving a lot of direction, pushing for quality and producing clarity like there was no other option Just like a master conductor of an orchestra, Joyce Carlsen was carefully and methodically guiding this project to the end.
So, there is no better way to end an album than with... Return Me to the Fire with Joyce on vocals. Powerful, riveting vocal prowess with distinguished bravery. This song just feels effortless sung by a seasoned pro. I can't be prouder of these two. It feels like the beginning of something really special. Thank you, Les and Joyce. Your inspiration just simply leaves us with chills. (Greg Hayes - Girder Records)
1. I WANNA KNOW YOU
3. JUDAS IS DEAD (Featuring Oz Fox)
4. THE JESUS FREAK SHOW
5. FAITH IS TESTED
6. HOW LONG
8. HE’S COMING
9. RETURN ME TO THE FIRE (Bonus track featuring Joyce Carlsen)
Les Carlsen - Lead & Background Vocals, Guitar, Synth
Paul Jackson - Guitar
Craig Church - Guitar
Ricky B. Rogers - Bass
Oz Fox - All Instruments & Production on “Judas Is Dead”
David Zaffiro - Rhythm Guitar on “River” and Solo on “He’s Coming”
Dan Needham - Drums
Nathan DiGesare II - Strings on “How Long”
Joyce Carlsen - Background & Harmony Vocals, Synth