Posts Tagged ‘Album Review’

While Attalus is new to the music scene, the North Carolina-based quintet proves to be a promising band. Their debut, The Greater Tide EP offers an appealing alternative rock sound that can best be described as Thrice meets House of Heroes.

Attalus will keep listeners on their toes with frequent change-ups in style and rhythm. Take the second track “The Rich and Poor.” On the verses, it encompasses a crisp, fast-paced drum beat, sizzling guitar riffs, and a faint piano motif that graces over top of it all. The chorus takes a slower rhythm and melancholy chord progressions, putting the focus on the hook-laden melody. Another musically intriguing track, “Behind Your Eyes” starts full but quickly strips down to a simple, piano chord progression and a driving kick drum. The song builds momentum as instruments are added back. During the bridge, vocalist Seth Davey shows off his upper range, which is strikingly similar to that of Matt MacDonald from The Classic Crime.

The lyrics are just as attention-grabbing as the music. The Greater Tide isn’t a concept album per se, but there are a few songs that have a “sea” theme. One such song, “Message In A Bottle” tells a metaphorical story of a man surviving a shipwreck to demonstrate the beauty of grace, “And I don’t know why I survived. I too deserved to die/But Providence has turned His eye/Grace has chosen me to stay.” The title-track is about people who have died for their faith. Seth explains in an interview that the song “represents [his] admiration for those individuals.”

The Greater Tide is as solid as debuts come. The production is a little rough, but this is a minor detail. From the impressive guitar work and complex rhythms to the thought-provoking lyrics, Attalus sound more like seasoned pros than newbies. This is definitely a band to watch.

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Grammy-nominated rock sensation Red return with their highly anticipated release, Until We Have Faces. The intriguing title, inspired in part by a C.S. Lewis work, does well to describe the album’s theme of searching for true identity. Sound-wise, their orchestral-infused nu-metal sound reaches new heights- the hard rockers are heavier and the ballads more delicate.

Unlike Red’s previous projects, that opened with beautiful yet haunting piano motifs, Faces rips right into meaty guitar riffs. “Feed The Machine” is without question Red’s heaviest song to date. Towards the end of the track, things calm down with strings and a choir. While the following track is less intense, “Faceless” still has moments of fury, as in the bridge when vocalist Mike Barnes unleashes his chaotic vocals. “Faceless” captures the album’s theme of feeling “hollow,” but offers a resolve for the emptiness- “We are the faceless/We are the nameless/We are the hopeless/Until we have faces.”

A few tracks sound a bit recycled, but on others Red pushes outside their norms. One such song, “Who We Are,” has a pop/punk-influenced rhythm. Another, “The Outside,” has a melody that stylistically differentiates itself from the rest. Yet both tracks still stay true to Red’s sound.

Faces certainly brings the rock, but it also offers contemplative ballads. Radio-ready “Not Alone” offers hope in dark world. The album’s epic closer is a poignant ballad titled “Hymn For The Missing.” The piano-based track begins somberly, laced with strings. Lyrically it’s cryptic and vague, “Where are you now?/Are you lost?/Will I find you again?” Assuming the song follows the album’s theme, it seems Barnes is singing about himself losing his way.

Until We Have Faces is Red’s most mature album to date. Not only will this album be pleasing to longtime fans, but is sure to expand their popularity in the mainstream arena- reaching people who need to hear Red’s message of hope the most.

During the short time-span of Come&Live!’s existence, they’ve acquired an impressive roster of “musicianaries.” I’m trying to keep up with all of Come&Live!’s releases, but I managed to overlook Sons of God’s The Genesis Prologue EP when it released early last year.

The Genesis Prologue is a collection of three tracks, all with simple, one-word titles- Doubt, Manipulate, Caution- yet each song is epic. The songs encompass moody, alternative-esque guitar riffs, blatantly spiritual lyrics, and intense, captivating vocals. But I must admit, I may be a teeny bit biased; my love for Sons of God’s music stems from their stylistic similarities to one of my all-time favorite bands, As Cities Burn.

The Genesis Prologue is melancholy indie rock at its best. I don’t think I’ve ever been so enamored with an EP before, especially one that contains only three songs. And I’m not the only one. Sons of God has created quite the buzz with The Genesis Prologue, as well as a demand for a full length. According to frontman Aaron Newberry, a full-length is on the horizon; in fact, Sons of God will be releasing one this year. It can’t come soon enough.

In the over saturated pop/rock market, it isn’t easy for new bands to garner attention. Many factors play into building a fan base, but solid music is a crucial part of the equation. For The Radiance Effect, this is a non-issue. The Missouri-based act’s second full-length record, Separate & Change, is nothing but solid, offering hook-laden pop/rock tunes and alternative rock anthems with meaningful lyrics to boot.

Separate & Change takes off with high-octane rock on “Bring Me Down.” The energy continues on the infectious “Nothing To Lose.” Both tracks offer lyrics of encouragement. “Make It Happen” sums up the band’s mission- to inspire change, “I know that we can make this happen, we can be the ones/To fight the fight that we believe in, be the change we’re looking for.”

The Radiance Effect goes for an edgier rock sound on “Out of Control” and “Prodigal,” similar in vein to This Beautiful Republic, before returning to a more mild-mannered rock on “Never Let Go” and “Tonight.” The two final tracks focus on break-ups, but the lyrics are refreshingly positive, refraining from wallowing in self-pity or tearing the other person down, “With all things considered, I suppose I should be bitter/But I just find my self fortunate to have loved at all” (“She Said”).

Separate & Change is an accessible, polished effort. More importantly though, it’s encouraging and inspiring. The Radiance Effect is destined to create a buzz with Separate & Change.

While Josh White may sound like an unfamiliar name, he is not new to Christian music. Once the frontman for Christian rock act, Telecast, White currently pastors and leads worship at Door of Hope, a church in Portland, Oregon. The singer/songwriter composed worship songs for his church and recently recorded these songs to form his first solo effort titled Achor.

Even though the music on Achor is rather mellow and understated, it’s an intriguing blend of instruments and styles. Songs like “He Who Feeds the Ravens” and “Holy Ghost Revival” are rootsy bluegrass. “You Amaze Me” is similar to John Mark McMillan’s folk acoustic style. “He Is Able” and “To Burn In You” incorporate brass, flutes, and other woodwind instruments. Other songs are more stripped down and simple such as the final track, “Be Still.” “Awake” is a musical highlight of the record, a beautiful praise tune sung by a choir and carried by a group of stringed instruments.

The lyrics on Achor are worshipful yet honest. One of the most lyrically potent is “Let Me See Your Hands,” “Jesus, let me see your hands/I want to see the holes where you felt Your Father’s plan.” Other songs are more stirring than potent. “Our God Is Present” reminds us that when we seek God, no matter what the circumstance, He is with us. “I Love My God” is another standout as a peaceful and intimate worship song.

Josh White has crafted a seemingly flawless album. Achor is a breath of fresh air in the over-saturated worship scene, not only because of its colorful musical style but also because of its striking authenticity.

A year after the release of their debut EP, indie rock outfit Abel brings fans their first full-length album, Lesser Men. According to vocalist Kevin Kneifel, “the album is about how we often lose focus on the things that are truly lasting and important in this life.”

There’s a certain musical freedom about Lesser Men. Instead of letting song structures define the direction of vocals and instruments, Abel allows the vocals and instruments to carry the songs, giving the album a rawness and authenticity that many albums lack.

Lyrically, Lesser Men is pretty straightforward; yet, clever metaphors are found on “Titanic” and “The Martyr.” One of my favorite lines on the album, though simple, is strikingly powerful, “There’s no greater love/There’s no greater call/than when You said, ‘Come, follow me.’” (“The Martyr”).

Lesser Men is one of those rare albums that offers the best of both worlds, great music and uplifting, honest lyrics. This is indie rock at its best.

After a short stint on the once infamous Forefront Records, pop/rock act Philmont finds itself independent once again. The band included its fans in their latest project, Transition EP, by allowing them to assist in funding the album through Kickstarter (a fundraising website that’s become popular among independent bands). Compelling hooks, bright melodies, polished production, and spirited lyrics make this release their best yet.

This six-song EP is catchy throughout, from the toe-tapping punk-infused rocker “I Am” to the sing-able “Ringing In My Head” to the melodically beautiful acoustic ballad “The Last Song I Sing.” The lyrics are just as captivating as the melodies. According to vocalist, Scott Taube, “The Alchemist” was “written as a metaphorical debate for creation,” certainly an interesting topic for a song. While Philmont’s songs don’t explicitly use “God” or “Jesus,” it’s pretty obvious that the songs have spiritual undertones with lyrics like, “Cause who am I/that You would die to prove/that the worthless are all worth it” (“Closer”).

Philmont matures its sound with Transition, while maintaining the spunky, high-octane rock that fans have come to love. Philmont is transitioning into a seemingly bright future…