First band out on this new exciting section is the progressive metallers in Test of Faith. Recently I had the opportunity to do the following interview with Jason R. Callahan, the bands spokeman.

First would you like to introduce yourselves to our readers, who you are and the history so far for Test of Faith.

I'm Jason R. Callahan, guitarist for Test of Faith. The inception for Test of Faith began in 1996. Darrell Wilson, who played drums on the TOF demo, and myself had a desire and passion to play, create and perform music that related to Christians and focused on Jesus Christ. From 1996 until 1998 it was just Darrell and I writing songs, practicing and believing God for more musicians to complete the band. In 1998 God answered our prayers and sent Mike Katz on bass and Jeremy Sparling on vocals and rythum guitar. We spent almost another year practicing and then started playing out in 1999. At the current moment I'm the only "offical" band member. Jeremy, Mike and Darrell have moved on to answer other calls in their lives, but will continue to work with me in the studio on the upcoming full length release. If the new release does well and creates a demand for shows, then we'll see what the future holds.

You have released an EP with 3 tunes. Tell me about it.

The three song demo actually was never intended to be distributed to the public, but just a demo to promote the band to festivals, clubs, etc. The plan was to release those songs as sort of a "rough cut", and then go back to the studio, redo the songs and make a full length CD with those three songs included. Because of the demand, we decided to go ahead and release it as our first demo. We love the demo, but again do not feel it is a reflection of the type of excellence we wanted to let people hear. We did the whole demo in about 15 hours and spent around $250.00. So overall I believe it has served it's purpose, but I'm very excited to see what happens on the next studio release.

How has the response been?

The response has actually been very encouraging overall. Like I said, we really never intended for it to be something someone would listen to and critique, but the reviews have been great! We are still offering the CD on our website, so if your interested in hearing Test of Faith's first works, order a copy.

Do you play much live? Tell me about a memorable event at one of your liveshows.

Right now I'm just writing. With three guys in the band gone, it's somewhat hard to play a live gig (ha,ha)! Last year we played quite a bit live. The most memorable moment's was playing at the Cafe Express in Nashville, TN. for Pastor Bob Beeman and the Sanctuary Live night. We were playing the Barren Cross song, "Stage of Intensity", and Jim Laverde, the bass player for Barren Cross, sat it on the song. It was awesome!!! It's something you dream about.

I really like your sound and your combination of progressive metal and thrash. Will you continue on in this direction?

I believe so. I have no idea how to describe the new material. You become so close to it, it's hard to say it sounds like this or that. But I really like your definition Johannes, Progressive Metal/Thrash. I think that is a good definition of what the new material sounds like.

I have heard that you have a fullength on the way. In which way will that differ or remind of your EP?

Well, most likely it will be the same members you heard on the Demo, but this time I'll be writing 90% the material, so that will be different for sure. The other thing that will be different is that there will be a standard of excellence regarding the whole CD that you would not hear on the demo. Again, I think the demo is pretty good sonic wise, in fact I think it is better that most demo recording you hear. But this time it will be the best possible quality of recording I can put out for the money. I believe the overall style will be the same.

Tell me about some tunes on the new album and what they are about.

  • Burning Desire: A song about sexual lust. God has called us to live a holy life, not one filled with lust.

  • More of You: How we need less of us and more of God. this songs deals with total surrender to God.

  • So Far Away: How we drift away from God, but yet Jesus is there every moment, like a lighthouse, to bring us back to Him.

These are just a few. I think one of the overall theme's on the new release is about just having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Giving our flesh, will, emotions and lives totally to Jesus.

One thing that I like with your band is your biblical lyrics. Are lyrics very important to you?

Totally! The goal of the new album is to present Jesus to not only the Christian community, but more importantely to the secular community in a way that they can relate to. If you check out our demo, the lyrics are full on in my opinion. The Bible says that the power of life and death are in the tongue, in the lyrics of the songs. That's pretty heavy! It is my desire that the lyrics on the new material are so annoited that as soon as someone picks up a copy they are draw to it, like a magnet. It's the annointing that changes people's lives. Not Test of Faith, but Jesus! So please join with me in prayer and believe that God will totally give me the lyrics and music that's from his heart, not mine on the upcoming release.

Many people don't believe in God just because they can't see Him. What would you like to say to them?

I would encourage them to have faith! I can't see my heart inside my body, but it's there! I can't see my brain inside my head, but it's there. We come to a understanding of Jesus by faith. We are saved by faith. So although you may not see God, He is there! In fact, he's just waiting to show himself to you. Have a little faith, and you will find out for yourself!

Which are your favourite bands, musicians etc?

You hit it on the head earlier. My favorite bands play Progressive Metal and I love Thrash also. Bands like Dream Theater, Fates Warning, early Queensryche, etc. Some of my favorite Thrash influences were bands like Powermad, Apocrapha, Sacrament, etc.

Have you any plans to tour outside the US?

Currently, no. But possibly in the future?

Tell our readers something you have on your heart and want to share.

Jesus Christ has changed my life from the inside out! He is the best thing that has ever happened to me! There have been times in my life where I have drifted back and fourth, but let me tell you straight up, Satan has nothing to offer! If you have never experienced a relationship with Jesus, please email me at jason@testoffaith.com and I'll be glad to share with you. In fact we offer a little book that I'll be glad to send you and no charge that talks about a relationship with Jesus. Email me your address and I'll mail it out. I've included our contact information so please feel free to check out the site, order a demo or t-shirt, or just send us an email saying "Hello". I would also like to offer my thanks to Johannes and consider it an honor to share with you! Thank you!

Test of Faith
PO Box 433
Charleston, IL 61920

Website: http://www.myspace.com/testoffaithmusic

Discography: Test of Faith - Selftitled (3 tune CD)

Jason R. Callahan - Lead and Rhythm Guitar
Jeremy R. Sparling - Vocals and Rhythm Guitar
Rev. Mike Katz - Bass Guitar
Darrel Wilson - Drums

Both pictures of Test of Faith are from Intense Radio's great site.

TEST OF FAITH - Selftitled

Independent release
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Test of faith is a Progressive Metal band from the US. The cd contains of 3 tunes with crunchy progressive metal. Yeah, that's right it's not just progressive but it's crunchy too! They even have some thrash influences. I like that, more crunch and thrash to the people! It's the crunch and thrash-influences that makes this band to stick out from the rest in the progressive metal genre. On the negative side there are some annoying background sounds on the first tune. The music is also too slow and boring in the beginning of the third tune. But besides that the music is both happening and crunchy. Lyrics are totally biblical and full on for Christ. Great to see lyrics that are this bold and evangelical!

All in all a very promising debut. I'm really looking forward to hear a fullength with this Christ-centered band. Check'em out, they might be the Christian Dream Theater we all have been waiting for.

References: A most have if you are into Progressive Metal and thrash.

Orderinfo: Check out their webpage below and the mailorder companys listed here

Webpage: http://www.myspace.com/testoffaithmusic

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Johannes Jonsson 1997-2000  e-mail: johannes@metalforjesus.org