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Living Sacrifice

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  • Years Active: 1990s, 2000s


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All Music Guide:

Living Sacrifice's long and impressive history stretches back over a decade. The Arkansas-based metal band has evolved from their early death metal-inspired rumblings into a crushing, staccato-driven, heavily percussive metallic behemoth that pummels listeners with intense riffage and a decidedly personal, though nevertheless, often evangelical lyrical viewpoint. Founding members Bruce Fitzhugh (guitars/vocals) and Lance Garvin (drums) have survived from the band's original incarnation, refocusing their vision at every turn into something even tastier with each step in their evolution. Living Sacrifice formed in 1990, releasing their self-titled debut through the Christian-oriented R.E.X. Music the following year. They were originally fronted by vocalist/bassist DJ, who also went on to sing on 1992's Non-Existent and 1994's Inhabit. All three albums were heavily influenced by the members' favorite bands: groups like thrash metal titans Metallica, Slayer, and Testament; and then-newer death metal acts such as Obituary and Malevolent Creation.

In 1995, their Nashville-based label folded, leaving Living Sacrifice label-less. The band was able to negotiate a deal that left them with the rights to their recordings and free to pursue a new home. DJ exited the group as they pondered their next move, with Fitzhugh stepping up to the vocalist position, as Living Sacrifice began writing new material with a more stripped-down, almost punk/hardcore-infused (though still decidedly very heavy metal) direction and making demos. In 1996, the band became re-energized, thanks to a multi-album deal with Seattle, WA's Tooth and Nail and their newly formed Solid State imprint, which focused on heavier bands. The aptly titled Reborn album surfaced in 1997, redefining the band's musical focus and garnering them a slew of new fans -- and probably some of their first outside of the Christian music market. Though the music was decidedly more straightforward, the lyrical focus stayed the same, and the melodic guitar solos and fast-paced galloping drums remained. Despite the underground success of the album, with Living Sacrifice quickly becoming a cornerstone band on the new imprint's roster, further lineup changes happened. Founding guitarist Jason Truby and his only recently introduced brother, bassist Chris Truby, exited the band. They were replaced by guitarist Rocky Gray, and bassist Arthur Green, late of the Arkansas band Eso-Charis. Green was not the only member of Eso-Charis to join up -- drummer Matthew Putman soon followed. Putman was instrumental in fleshing out Living Sacrifice's sound with additional percussion alongside Garvin, with a two-drummer approach unique to heavy music; different even from Sepultura, Neurosis, and Slipknot, who have all experimented with extra percussion.

This lineup recorded an album called The Hammering Process, further streamlining the band's sound, decimating it into its base elements, driven by rhythm and heavy guitar crunch without being tantamount to any kind of musical "sellout." Further touring ensued throughout 2000 (a year that also saw the reissuing of the band's first three albums via Solid State) and 2001, including several dates with the band's friends and former labelmates, P.O.D. Living Sacrifice spent the latter-half of 2001 holed up in the practice room composing new material. Garvin and Gray, meanwhile, released an album called This Is My Blood with their side project, Soul Embraced, through Solid State, who also reissued an Eso-Charis album.


For the Swedish punk band, see Livin' Sacrifice.

Living Sacrifice is a Christian death metal band that formed in September 1989 in Little Rock, Arkansas, United States. The band has released eight studio albums, out of which the first three were recorded under R.E.X. Records with their original vocalist Darren Johnson as a more thrash metal and death metal oriented band. The band evolved into a groove metal/metalcore style beginning with Reborn (1997) under Solid State Records with the original guitarist Bruce Fitzhugh on vocals. In 2003, the group split up, due to other projects (such as Rocky Gray joining Evanescence and Lance Garvin joining Soul Embraced) and later their label, Solid State, released their best-of album, In Memoriam (2005). In 2008, Living Sacrifice reformed and released a two-song digital only single called Death Machine. They then began working on The Infinite Order which was released on January 26, 2010. Lance Garvin and Bruce Fitzhugh are the two remaining original members

^ Anderson, Jason. "Nonexistent - Living Sacrifice". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-16. ^ Downey, Ryan. "Living Sacrifice". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-16. ^ "Living Sacrifice, 'Living Sacrifice' 1999 Review". Jesusfreakhideout.com. 1999-06-15. Retrieved 2011-11-18. 


Early material (1989–2002)[edit]

Living Sacrifice was one of the first Christian death metal bands. The band, whose name is derived from Romans 12:1, formed in 1989 by Darren "D.J." Johnson (bass/vocals), Bruce Fitzhugh (guitar) and Lance Garvin (drums). Later Jason Truby joined in on guitar. They recorded a demo, Not Yielding to Ungodly, which got into the hands of Kurt Bachman and Joey Daub from Believer, who signed them to R.E.X. Records.

In 1991, Living Sacrifice's self-titled debut was released on R.E.X. Records. The album received much comparison to thrash metal groups of the time, especially Slayer. In 1992, Living Sacrifice released their second album, Nonexistent. In this album, Living Sacrifice switched from thrash metal to down-tuned death metal, and D.J. started experimenting with a death growl in his vocal approach. The members have said that they were disappointed with the experience of making this album and that the producer was to blame.

In 1994, the band released a third album, Inhabit, which is considered by some to be the heaviest of all Living Sacrifice albums. On Inhabit, D.J. returned to a more thrash-oriented vocal approach, deeper and lower in tone than his vocals on the band's debut. After this recording R.E.X. went bankrupt, and Living Sacrifice signed onto Solid State Records seeking to widen their audience.

After this, D.J. left the band to follow non-musical ministry, and Bruce took over vocals. Jason's brother, Chris, also joined on bass. With this new lineup, Living Sacrifice recorded Reborn, their Solid State debut, in 1997. The band started to play a mix of groove metal and metalcore. Reborn is considered the most influential of all Living Sacrifice records and earned them a larger non-Christian fanbase. After this record, Chris and Jason left the band and Jay Stacy filled in on bass, but was later replaced by Arthur Green, formerly of Eso-Charis. Cory Brandan played guitar for a tour through Norway and Sweden but was then replaced by Rocky Gray (who would go on to play drums in Evanescence and We Are the Fallen and guitar in Soul Embraced.)

At the end of 1999, Matthew Putman joined Living Sacrifice as a percussionist. In 2000, Living Sacrifice recorded their fifth full-length album, The Hammering Process, with a more rhythmical sound—more oriented towards groove metal. Bruce also sang in one Evanescence song, "Lies". In 2001, A Tribute to Living Sacrifice was released. The album contains covers of many Living Sacrifice songs by other metal bands and former members, and a Living Sacrifice song from a split album called Metamorphosis, released in 1993. In 2002, Living Sacrifice entered the studio again, resulting in the album Conceived in Fire.

Disbanding and following projects (2003–present)[edit]

In 2003, Living Sacrifice cancelled the rest of one of their tours and announced that Living Sacrifice was disbanding. Each of the band members had other duties that had to be committed to (Such as Lance Garvin and Rocky Gray's Soul Embraced) and felt it was time to move on. In March 2005, In Memoriam was released by Solid State Records. It is a "best of" album, containing three "newly written and recorded songs by Lance Garvin, Rocky Gray and Bruce Fitzhugh", two songs from each Living Sacrifice album, plus "Enthroned", a 1998 cover of a song originally released on 1992's Nonexistent. The three new songs are "In Christ", "Killers", and "The Power of God". In 2007, Bruce Fitzhugh was featured on the song "Sixteen", on Demon Hunter's fourth album Storm the Gates of Hell.

On February 4, 2008, a newly created official MySpace page was updated to announce the reformation of the band. They also announced their support of Demon Hunter in the "Stronger Than Hell" tour from May 26 through July 5, 2008. On June 10, 2008, Living Sacrifice released a two-song online only sampler called "Death Machine" which can be purchased at their Myspace page, Amazonmp3, and iTunes. On the same day at the Dallas, Texas date of the "Stronger Than Hell" tour, Bruce Fitzhugh announced that the band was working on a new CD which they hoped to release in 2009. The album release was delayed by Solid State and eventually came out on January 26, 2010. A music video for their lead single off The Infinite Order, "Rules of Engagement", was aired December 22.

The band's seventh studio album, The Infinite Order, was released January 26, 2010 via Solid State Records. The album features the voices of David Bunton from The Showdown, Joe Musten from Advent and Beloved, and guitarist Jason Truby. The album was mixed and mastered by Andy Sneap, Hell guitarist. Track three references the phrase "God is dead" by Friedrich Nietzsche. Released in November, the deluxe edition contained three additional tracks, two live songs and a new track.

In 2013, after three years of touring, Living Sacrifice recorded their eighth album, Ghost Thief, released November 12, 2013 on Solid State Records. The first song named "The Reaping" was premiered on October 17, 2013 on the Solid State YouTube page. The album features the guest voices of Ryan Clark from Demon Hunter on "Screwtape", and Dave Peters from Throwdown on "Despair". The title song, "Ghost Thief", premiered November 6, 2013 on Revolver magazine website. Living Sacrifice is featured on the Killing Floor 2 Soundtrack.

^ Macintosh, Dan (July–August 1997). "Living Sacrifice". HM Magazine (66). Archived from the original on 2000-09-18. Retrieved 2007-04-30. ^ "Living Sacrifice, 'Reborn' 2004 Re-release Review". Jesusfreakhideout.com. 2004-01-27. Retrieved 2011-11-18. ^ "Living Sacrifice, 'Rules of Engagement' - Video Premiere". Noisecreep. 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2011-11-18. ^ "Living Sacrifice, 'Ghost Thief'". ThePRP. October 9, 2013. ^ http://www.revolvermag.com/news/exclusive-living-sacrifice-premiere-new-song-ghost-thief.html
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