They say that nobody likes Christian rock and metal anymore, except for Christians themselves. Many people just assume that most CCM bands are nothing more than rip-offs who are trying to make a name for themselves while trying to portray a message about God in their music. True, some do have their all-too preachy lyrics and I don’t blame anybody for hating Christian music for that reason, but the one thing that I can say is that it gives them a reason to write their music, which in turn gives them the passion to perform their music. Take Shadow Puncher, the one man band by Max Kevin Oelstoeren for example, this is a Christian death metal band that contains the typical pro-Jesus lyrics, so you would expect to hate them because of it. However, there’s a surprise at the end of the tunnel, especially when it comes to the album “The Throne of Justice and Love”.
By all means, Shadow Puncher is not totally original, but what makes the project stand out is the ability to write and perform with feeling, as if Max had an ongoing mission that he needs to accomplish. He brings out the energy so amazingly well yet his sound provides a mature and enjoyable experience that never feels bland or tired throughout like the usual death metal stuff of late.
“The Throne of Justice and Love” flows so nicely and consistently that it was hard not to appreciate Shadow Puncher’s style and passion to his writing. However not only does he continue that flow, but he improves and expands upon it rather than change it with such integrity to create an even more complex yet focused record.
The blend of musicianship that Shadow Puncher shows is incredible. The growling vocals fit so perfectly within the instrumentation, as the harsher sounds give out that punch in the gut feeling such as in the starting song “The Creator” which shows the emotional depth that’s placed within the music. The vocals, work beautifully, creating an excellent mixture of contrast throughout.
The overall instrumentation is performed phenomenally with an overdriven aggressive sound that gives the album the energy it needs such as in “Herren Er Min Hyrde” and “The Messiah”. None of the songs feel forced or tired; instead they feel like they were made with purpose thanks to the lyrics. Yes they are preachy, but it adds to the charm and passion that gives Shadow Puncher the needed push that makes him stand out above other CCM bands.
Not only has Shadow Puncher delivered a wonderfully consistent record, but he has accomplished a relatively impossible task. The instrumentals on this album is magnificent. Considering it is all done in FL studio, the rhythm and lead guitars play a great role in every track. All aspects of this album has been created anew, and are made in a believable and emotional sense. Shadow Puncher doesn’t create a clichéd and overridden stereotype that most CCM bands deliver. He creates a beautifully crafted and amazingly structured album that is serious when it comes to Christianity.