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TRYTAN - CELESTIAL MESSENGER + 3 Bonus: GOLD DISC EDITION with Trading Card (*NEW-CD, 2020, Retroactive)

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 TRYTAN - CELESTIAL MESSENGER + 3 Bonus: GOLD DISC EDITION with Trading Card (*NEW-CD, 2020, Retroactive)

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  • #25 on Angelic Warlord's Top Christian 50 albums of the 80's
  • 85% Review from AngelicWarlord.com
  • Limited Edition Gold Disc Edition CD
  • 3 previous unreleased, thunderous, must-hear demo bonus tracks 
  • 16 page booklet / jewel case with lyrics
  • Includes interview with lead singer, Lary Dean
  • 2020 remaster by Rob Colwell of Bombworks Sound
  • Enhanced artwork by Scott Waters of NoLifeTilMetal
  • Full sized panel with all-new cover by NLTM Scott Waters
  • Gold Disc Edition front cover features the original classic cover


Trytan represents one of the first Christian bands to explore progressive metal but with a front man in Lary Dean who is a dead ringer for Geddy Lee (Rush). I never get tired of listening to “It’s War” and “Mr. Electric."
                                                          Angelic Warlord Reviews

The eight-song R.E.X. version is revered as a masterpiece by Christian metal fans.
                                     Mark Allan Powell / Encyclopedia of CCM

Let us take you back in time to the 80's. Open the wardrobe and grab your spandex trousers, look in the mirror and get the spray ready to make that hair big! Trust us - just close your eyes and take a super-charged spaceship back to the glory days of hard rock and heavy metal smack-dab in the middle of 1987! The music on Celestial Messenger is exquisite - featuring thundering bass lines, wickedly righteous guitar riffing, and drumming perfection while all being tied together with the silky-sweet Geddy Lee inspired vocals of Lary Dean.  One listen to the remastered magic of this classic album and we were instantly hooked just like 30+ years ago when we bought the cassette at our local Christian bookstore!  The Rush-inspired synthesizers cannot be overlooked as they continue to be a critical part of Trytan's progressive rock masterpiece that has aged like a fine wine over time.  As an added treat, Retroactive Records worked with the band to come up with three must-hear bonus tracks from Trytan demos and wow - wow - and more wow are they progressive rock round-house kicks - one after the other.  While they are demo tape tracks, the music is top-shelf elite and the kind of songs you want to listen to repeatedly.  Tryan proves this band knows how to balance melody, musicianship, jams, complexity and hooks with progressive rock finesse.  The 2021 Gold Disc Remaster is the quintessential CD reissue of this revered classic.  This CD reissues comes with the strongest recommendation possible.  It is elite in every way and comes with a Trytan foil-stamped trading card.  For fans of Kansas, Rush, Balance of Power, Threshold, Jacobs Dream, Veni Domine.


1 Gettin' Ready 3:44
2 Don't Turn Away 4:08
3 Mr. Electric 5:14
4 It's War 5:19
5 Rip Van Winkle 4:22
6 Chains 4:47
7 Nowhere To Run 4:57
8 Genesis 7:07
9. In the Distance (demo) (bonus track)
10. The Goat (demo) (bonus track)
11.  Waiting Forever (demo) (bonus track)


Trytan’s 1987 R.E.X. Records debut full length Celestial Messenger won over plenty of fans with its critically acclaimed ‘Rush influenced progressive metal’ sound.  No doubt, Trytan imbues its songwriting with some intricate and at times lengthy nuances and features a front man in Lary Dean with a vocal range a near dead ringer for Geddy Lee.  In taking a closer look, however, I identify with Trytan less as ‘artsy Rush style progressive rock’ and more as eighties metal reflective of trends at the time but with a progressive edge.  One reviewer that accordingly describes Trytan as a heavier version to mid-eighties Rush (think Grace Under Pressure & Power Windows) has the right idea.

With its name an acronym for To Reach Youth Through the Almighty Nazarene, Trytan came together in the early eighties prior to placing the track “Rip Van Winkle” on the Chicago Metal Works compilation and recording a nine song demo.  A deal with R.E.X. subsequently followed, which led to Celestial Messenger and 1990 sophomore effort Sylentiger, both of which went out of print and turned into hard to find collectors items.  Enter Retroactive Records, whom re-issued Sylentiger in February of 2020 and Celestial Messenger in April the following year on Limited Edition Gold Disc CD.

In addition to re-mastering courtesy of Rob Colwell of Bombworks Sound (improving upon what was already very fine Celestial Messenger production), Retroactive re-release comes with an alternate version to cover art and a 16-page mini booklet home to vintage band photos, interview with Lary Dean, lyrics and detailed song descriptions (crediting Scott Waters of No Life Til Metal graphics).  Three previously unreleased demo tracks and a cool Trytan trading card round things out.

“Getting’ Ready” is a good indicator of the progressive influenced Trytan sound.  Yes, the song manifests heaviness to put it within the metal category (production reinforces a strong guitar focal point) but also the type of intricate underpinnings leaning towards the progressive (Steve Robinson delivers a creative bass flair).  One also cannot help notice the vocal comparison of Dean to Geddy Lee.

“Don’t Turn Away” backs from the heavier progressive nuances of its predecessor in favor of an eighties based melodic hard rock approach.  It is still good, with front to back upbeat propensity and type of alluring hooks to reach for the commercial, albeit not to a fault.  The creative drum presence of Scotty Blackman equally stands out.  Song talks about finding God’s love:

I don’t know what you’re going through
Are you wondering what to do?
I’m not the one who will see you through
But let me point Him out to you

Someone really cares for you
The One that I know is true
And when you find His love
You’ll never be the same

Ensuing is one of the finest two song runs in Christian hard music history, only rivaled by “If You Will” and “The Call” off the 1989 Deliverance self-titled debut.  It begins with “Mr. Electric”, a return to a heavier and more technical form to highlight some of the most engaging riffs you will hear (for the minute and half instrumental opening) and refrain for all the ages (with its bombastic form):

Electric man reaching for the stars
Slightly eccentric, you know who you are
Mr. Electric, we love the way, you play air guitar

Lengthy instrumental run gives prominence to Dean’s ample guitar abilities.

It also includes subsequent cut “It’s War” with its brilliant semi-ballad flair.  Song begins to an opening keyboard run underscoring vocals for the initial verse sections, with force escalating as rhythm guitar cuts in to make an accelerated statement and leads the grandiose way to the every bit manifest Christian battle cry refrain:

You know Who it is we are fighting for
Oh, please see it’s war
Before He closes the door

Another extended instrumental run highlights the above the line Trytan musicianship.  “It’s War” delivers spiritual warfare themes:

There’s a battle raging
On outside these doors
The enemy is making his moves like never before
There’s people dying, get ready
Because you know it’s war

The King has called His soldiers of light
To take the cross out into the night
The battle is raging in the hearts of men

Those Rush influences best reveal on “Rip Van Winkle”, a keyboard based and complex drum roll specific progressive rocker with a pensive demeanor.  Said keyboards uphold the first minute and half until initiative picks up as elevated guitars take the song in a more assured direction, with similar slower to faster transitions made the remaining distance only interrupted by a spicy lead guitar run.

“Chains” is lone Celestial Messenger track in which I pass.  It has nothing to do with guest vocalist Scotty Blackman, whom does a fine job with his classic tenor voice.  Rather, it points toward manner in which song traverses keyboard heavy AOR to melodic rock territory, which I find not the best fit for Trytan.  Group commands a bit more muscle… 

.. which is delivered on following cut “Nowhere To Run”.  Begins with how it manifests a heavier direction, almost touching upon power metal, and places a strong emphasis on instrumental execution, noting the lengthy instrumental opening and Dean’s hammer on driven soloing.  It also encompasses an accenting keyboard role without coming across overriding.  I interpret lyrics as finding the right path:

I was walking down streets I’ve seen before
No mercy’s to be found
I thought I knocked on every door
Searching the night
And it’s nowhere in sight and I feel like I’ve got

A new life begins today
Surrender to His call to your heart and say

Nowhere to go, nowhere to run
Nowhere to stay, the struggles begun

Celestial Messenger closes to seven-minute epic magnum opus “Genesis”.  Song initiates to keyboards and narration from Genesis 1:1-3 prior to breaking out after a minute to a crescendo of emotion as a composite direction reveals moving forward.  As a catchy keyboard line carries over a foundation of restive guitars, intricate instrumental territory is periodically traversed to see a spacey keyboard cameo appearance (at the mid-way point) alongside brazen guitar soloing (at the end).  A deep melody rises to the surface in the process.  Subject matter is self-explanatory:

Create the world in six days
Behold the creatures of the earth
The universe unfolds with His light
At the dawning of the age

From the dust man’s to rule
The earthly hosts are placed
Cast out of Paradise
In the darkness lurks the snake…

Demo tracks, as one might imagine, are a bit rough production wise but are solid musically.  Highlighting the Trytan progressive sound is “In The Distance”, six minutes of mid-tempo keyboard driven time signatures (sort of like “Rip Van Winkle”), and “The Goat”, a non-stop jam session with length instrumental opening (two minutes) and closing (three) runs.  “Waiting Forever” comes across as an eighties style hard rocker with upbeat proclivity and energy to spare.

The Trytan comparison to Rush might be overstated outside of Geddy Lee influenced vocalist Dean, but one cannot deny the progressive nuances to the groups sound.  No, not Rush style progressive rock but better described as eighties metal with a progressive edge.  Celestial Messenger separates with some classic material in the process, including epic showstopper “Genesis” and catchy riffs and hooks to “Mr. Electric” and “It’s War”.  The musicianship of Dean, Blackman and Robinson likewise is well up to the standards of the progressive genre.  Credit to Retroactive Records for releasing Celestial Messenger in such a highly upgraded (in terms of re-mastering) and professionally packaged (mini booklet) format.

Review by Andrew Rockwell

Track Listing: "Gettin’ Ready" (3:47), "Don’t Turn Away" (4:10), "Mr. Electric" (5:15), "It’s War" (5:22), "Rip Van Winkle" (4:24), "Chains" (4:47), "Nowhere To Run" (4:58), "Genesis" (7:10), “The Distance” (bonus track) (6:13), “The Goat” (bonus track) 7:08), “Waiting Forever” (bonus track) (5:05), 

Larry Dean - Lead Vocals & Guitars
Steve Robinson - Bass & Keyboards
Scotty Blackman - Drums