The Greatest Story Ever Told is told to us from when we are children, the story of Jesus and the 12 Disciples. This story is handed down from mother to son and father to daughter and generation to generation, but what if there was more to the story that what we know? The Da Vinci Code has always put speculation on the story of the last supper and now S.I.N. have put together a story, together with German writer Ana Kugil, the story of the 13th Apostle Julian.
The band have enlisted the talents of not one but five vocalists to tell their story. Firstly Patrick Simonsen who takes the part of Julian, Carsten ‘Lizard’ Schulz who takes the role of Jesus, Renee Walker who plays Junia Jesus’s sister and Connie Andreszka as Judas and Boban Milojevic who adds backing vocals.
This album is not just a story but the music inspired by the story as the band build a concept album that will take the whole Melodic Metal fraternity by storm.
This truly massive album opens up with the ‘Prelude’ a gentle atmospheric keyboard intro before the Orson Wells style narrative ‘Signs of Doubt’ then it’s Melodic Metal all the way with ‘Awakening’ as Andler and Frank immerse you into an album of Biblical Proportions with Simonsen opening his account as Julian, as he listens to Jesus' sermon (sang by Schulz) on the mount and realizes his future lies as a follower of this new rabbi. Along with Schulz this sets the mood for the rest of the album.
‘Junia’s Eyes’ tells the story of how Julian met Jesus’ sister Junia and how she told him that Jesus was looking for 12 disciples to follow him and tell of his work and deeds. This one opens up with Simonsen and Walker singing an almost gentle ballad opening, then things pick up with the rampaging guitars of Frank and Andler, before the story is once again picked up with Walker and Simonsen dueting throughout as the story unfolds with a flurry of huge guitars and drums outlining the sub plot between the lines as Julian and Junia unite and become one.
‘Chosen Are Few’ is where Julian meets Jesus and finds out that the twelve have been chosen as told in the scriptures so Julian has failed in his pursuit of his destiny. The gentle flamenco guitars get this one underway, and then the intensity increases as Simonsen and Schulz unite vocally on this one with the soaring guitar work of Andler and Frank adding to the dynamics of the track.
The intense nature of this album only ignites the senses as the listener is drawn into the story, the nature of the story, the love, the passion, the guilt, the betrayal are all here in abundance. As the story continues with the magnificent ‘In Your Darkest Hour’ this powerful emotional track is built on the tremendous vocals of Simonsen as Julian, he tells of his devotion to Christ as he follows him and his disciples into Jerusalem, always in the background worshiping the man as his 13th Apostle, silent but always by his side.
'The Faithful Offer' is a narrative and choral piece that unfolds the story of Jesus’ betrayal. As Julian was dressed like the disciples and followed them around he was offered 30 pieces of silver by the chief priests to offer Jesus unto them, but Julian ran away without saying a word, although this then set the wheels in motion in his head and he began to think perhaps if there were to be a betrayer amongst the twelve, then he may be in with a chance to become one of the chosen twelve.
As the story unfolds this is where we come to the dramatic betrayal, but as this story tells of a meeting between Julian and Judas, as Judas tells of how at the last supper Jesus told Judas he would betray him. As Julian hears this tale the only thing on his mind is becoming one of the disciples and so he plots with Judas to drug the other disciples, so only he and Judas would be aware of what was going to happen. In Julian’s mind the Son of God would free himself from his captures but this wasn’t the case, so as Judas kissed his master, instead of freeing himself, Jesus gave into his captures and Julian saw his plan fail.
This dramatic tail is told with some excellent guitar work once again and with some moving vocals from both Simonson as Julian and Andreszka as Judas, who also provides the excellent guitar solo on the track.
The gentle soundings of ‘Tears of Gethsemane’ are a ballad with haunting female backing vocals as well as Simonson’s excellent portrayal of Julian, this one really stands out as one of the truly emotional tracks of the album.
The narrative ‘Failure’ tells of the how Julian looks upon the arrest of his master and on seeing he doesn’t resist, comes to understand that his plan to become one of the apostles has failed.
The plot thickens with ‘For Eternity And Beyond’, a haunting and powerful track as Junia tells Julian of the betrayal by Judas, but Julian consumed with guilt tells her it was he who betrayed her brother and he isn’t worthy of her love. Again featuring some fine vocals by Simonson alongside the strong female vocals of Walker and the tremendous backing of the rest of the band, all make this one of the highlights of the album for me.
But picking individual moments from this album doesn't do it justice, as each track tells its own story whilst keeping in flow with the album.
The story reaches its dramatic climax with ‘The 13th Apostle’ as Julian faces Jesus' body on the cross and begs forgiveness for what he has done. Sadly Jesus does not hear his words and his last sight on this world is of him looking down upon Julian his betrayer.
The ending is ranked up there with some of the most dramatic slices of Progressive Metal I’ve heard with Schulz leading the way with his flawless vocals and together with Simonson, they complete the story.
The ‘Circuit’ is another narrative that acts as an epilogue to the whole album and tells of how Junia became the first female apostle and how Julian disappeared from history.
This is an
album that has to be heard in its entirety from beginning to end without
breaks and followed with the booklet notes as the story unfolds to fully
appreciate what S.I.N and their cast have put together. This is
one of the finest examples of a concept album you will ever hear, no
matter what you believe or what you have heard before.
2 Signs Of Doubt
4 Junia's Eyes
5 Chosen Are Few
6 In Your Darkest Hour
7 The Faithful Offer
8 Sealed With A Kiss
9 Tears Of Gethsemane
11 For Eternity And Beyond
12 His 12th Apostle
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