Metal Saint – Choose
Culled from his forthcoming full length album Things Foretold, “Choose” is an excellent example of what Metal Saint is capable of. Metal Saint is the pseudonym of multi-instrumentalist and composer James Tunnell and his performance on this track speaks volumes about the imagination and commitment informing his art. He’s an ambitious guy whose artistic travels have carried him far from the music world – so far, in fact, that his fascination with the work that goes into making a television show prompted him to form his own production company in 2012. He’s logged meaningful time as an actor, appearing on hit television shows like Law & Order, and appeared in theatrical productions, but his first love of music has remained undimmed since he began learning how to play at the tender age of thirteen. He has dealt with the inevitable setbacks and disappointments of his chosen profession with grace strengthened by faith and you can hear much of that in this single.
Power and beauty rarely come together so well. Tunnell has obviously studied his musical masters quite closely and exhibits a clear capability of bring his own personality to bear on passages reminiscent of what one hears from bands like Iron Maiden or later Metallica. It’s a classic epic metal sound that doesn’t take short cuts or cheat the listener. Tunnell is quite content developing his ideas one passage at a time, gradually dialing up the intensity, and delaying the song’s knockout explosion until the listener can barely stand further suspense. He undoubtedly entered the studio with a sure sense of what he wanted this song to sound like and do – there doesn’t appear to be a single misstep to be heard throughout its four minute plus running time. Instead, confidence glows through every line and bar. It makes for a rousing, fist-pumping listen no matter if you are a passionate fan of metal music or not. He carries off the epic sound quite nicely and it is very befitting his serious subject matter.
Tunnell never plays evangelist or throws righteous thunder bolts down on the infidels and sinners from his ivory tower. Instead, he makes the choice of the title quite clear and doesn’t elaborate much. There’s no need. The lyrics are the equivalent of a literary gut punch. Tunnell never uses even one word too many and focuses on his message with laser beam intensity. Much like the musical arrangement, Tunnell takes his time with the lyric and makes sure his voice is heard above the occasionally powerful din. It’s as near to a perfect marriage of music, lyric, and vocal as one could hope for from this form. His blazing lead guitar work puts an emphatic exclamation point on “Choose” and adds the final dollop of aural intensity to a song where the quality of drama is not in short supply. Metal Saint will turn heads and ears alike with this song and it’s worth the ride.