Vengeance Rising has one of the most entertaining and bizarre stories in the realm of heavy metal. Formed in 1987 by singer Roger Martinez, guitarists Larry Farkes and Doug Theime, bassist Roger Dale Martin, and drummer Glenn Mancaruso, the band was a Christian variation on the emerging death metal scene.
This lineup produced two albums that were huge successes in the world of Christian music, making them one of the few bands in the genre to cross over into the secular music scene. They played both religious and non-religious festivals and tried to spread their message as far as possible. Martinez became very involved in the lifestyle, producing video tapes about Christianity and forming alliances with other big-name Christian leaders. Unfortunately, when they checked their bank account after the Once Dead tour, they discovered that they had mismanaged their funds and were hopelessly in debt. Everyone but Martinez bailed and formed Die Happy, and he scrambled to form another lineup. He found drummer Chris Hyde and guitarist Derek Sean and continued forward with himself on bass. Despite releasing two more albums and selling a respectable amount of copies, he was nowhere near to clearing his financial woes and the band fell apart in the early 90s. Struggling with his faith and the strain of his situation, he vehemently broke from the religious environment he had surrounded himself with and began the second half of his career by announcing his atheism. He began to make tapes counteracting the tapes he made during his Christian career, and re-formed Vengeance Rising with a new lineup and a decidedly angrier message. He formed a website that renounced his previous output and posted articles about Christian leaders that were aimed at making them look foolish. His previous associates in the religious world were outraged and his name became synonymous with "falling from grace," something Martinez reveled in and emphasized. He released the Satanic Realms of Blasthemy on Halloween of 2000, while he continued his efforts through a hilarious and somewhat disturbing interview in the magazine Mean, where he provided a counterpoint to the opinions of Christian leader Bob Larson. When the tragic terrorist hijackings of 2001 happened, Martinez offered a free album from his site for military personal only to encourage the holy war he constantly talked about. Providing endlessly entertaining fodder for interviews, Martinez managed to re-create his own career in such a unique way that his story continues to be interesting years after the most significant part of his musical career. ~ Bradley Torreano, Rovi