GALE FORCE "Subhuman"
(c) 2021 Independent Release
Crash & Burn
Never Say Goodnight
Where Am I Going?
Fire In The Hole
Michael Drive--All Vocals
Tracy G.--Lead Guitars
Paul Alfery--Rhythm Guitars, Keys
In the 1980s and early 1990s, there was likely no band in the Christian scene that waved the heavy metal flag higher than Barren Cross did. Not death metal, not speed metal, not thrash, hair, or doom metal. I'm talking just heavy metal. Albums such as Rock For The King and Rattle Your Cage, and most notably the band's two biggest, most well-known efforts, Atomic Arena and State Of Control, really showcased a heavy band that delivered with big, screaming guitars, pounding drums, deep, rumbling bass, and a front man who could wail with the best of them, Christian or secular. Michael Drive (then known as Mike Lee), was the epitome of a heavy metal front man, with a powerful, deep tenor that could shake the rafters if necessary, or drop to a menacing snarl, whatever it took to command your attention. When Barren Cross was no more, Drive (Lee) could be heard fronting bands such as Bare Bones and Sanxtion, and even trying his hand at a more pop-oriented sound as a solo artist, but never did he really find his musical voice again, in my opinion (although Bare Bones was close).
During a slightly later period, Tracy G was the screaming guitar voice of Dio, which of course featured one of the most lauded singers in heavy metal history, Ronnie James Dio. Tracy G (real name Tracy Grijalva) brought to the band a heavy-yet-still-melodic style and helped to forge the sound on what are considered to be two of Dio's heaviest records, Strange Highways and Angry Machines, and he served as the guitar player for the band from 1993-1999. Much like Drive, however, once his stint with that band was over, the guitar player found himself drifting from project to project, with none of these really catching on in a way that seemed to suit his style or talent level.
It seems things have perhaps changed for both men with Gale Force!
Gale Force has been together as a band for not even two years, yet they have put together a powerful album of metallic hard rock that completely sideswiped me. Having been a massive fan of both Barren Cross and Dio since...well, since forever, it seems...I was intrigued by the pairing of Drive (who I am certain I will call "Lee" at some point in this review) and Tracy G, and I hoped the results would be a solid start for a new band. There is no way I was prepared for Subhuman in its totality, however.
The record kicks off in a big, aggressive way, with "Crash & Burn", which was actually the first song the band wrote together, even before really being a "band".Read more