Archive for the ‘Album Review’ Category

Album Review: Backdraft by Fallstar

By Alex Berger | June 18th, 2013

{April 16, 2013}

FACEDOWN

I’ll be the first to admit, if somewhat begrudgingly, that I am a very biased heavy metal listener. I try to be open minded as often as I can, but constantly find myself judging albums and artists for not being “metal” enough. Maybe I have an overly intense love for the genre, or maybe deep down I’m just a jerk. I’m working on it.
One of my biggest gripes with “Christian Metal” as an entity is that it seems to consistently associate itself with the most (in my opinion) banal and safe styles within the larger umbrella of “metal.” I am slowly coming to grips with the fact that, as much I would love it, most heavy Christian bands (I’m sure there are exceptions, that I have yet to find) are not interested in putting forth molten slabs of droning doom metal, or blazing, lo-fi, blackened thrash. I’ll get over it eventually, but this it is the lens through which I view a lot of Christian bands. I say all of that to say this, Fallstar, for reasons still somewhat unknown to me, have rubbed some of the grime off my “Christian Metal” looking glass.
On paper, Fallstar really isn’t something that I should like, essentially being another of the melodic hardcore/metalcore band that labels like Rise Records and Solid State gobble up and churn out in assembly line fashion. The band has all the cliché boxes checked, aggressive, fast verses with throaty growls and screaming highs, choruses overflowing with clean vocals, and breakdowns aplenty. Despite all this Fallstar has a few things that some of their peers lack, namely…

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Album Review: Road Trip by Hippos Of Doom

By Alex Berger | June 1st, 2013

{April 23, 2013}

Thumper Punk

What makes a good EP? When executed well the EP can pack the perfect punch, providing a platform for more progressive and sprawling bands to deliver their material in a concise, to the point package.  At its most potent, the EP allows a band to go for the throat, throwing everything,…

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Album Review: Electric Delta
by Sean Michel

By Mike Gibson | May 3rd, 2013

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{April 2, 2013}

Independent

Sean Michel’s “Electric Delta” comes rasping out of the speakers like a rattlesnake on desert sand. The familiar themes of southern spirituals find an electric expression in place of the traditional acoustic instruments commonly heard in this genre. The result is a lively and raw set of tunes.
Fans of ZZ Top and Kaiser/Mansfield will have another artist to add to their gritty southern rock collection. Below is a track list with the crank-it-loud suggestions…

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Album Review: True Defiance
By Demon Hunter

By Paul Gibson | May 29th, 2012

{April 12, 2012}

Solid State

You’ve got to hand it to the boys of Demon Hunter. Plying their trade in a genre that can easily reward the mundane and derivative, the metalcore act celebrates10 years since its self-titled debut by releasing one of its strongest, most exciting releases ever in the thrashy, aggressive, technically impressive True Defiance.
True Defiance is the band’s sixth studio album in the decade (eighth overall when we include the documentary soundtrack 45 Days and Live in Nashville), and unlike much of modern Christian rock and metal, no album can be confused for any other. Demon Hunter always experiments, always pushes the boundaries – is always, ahem, defiant in refusing to be boxed in to the comfort of consistency.
There’s been a price to that experimentation. Sometimes albums fall a little flat (Summer of Darkness), or branch out into areas to which fans and critics object (Storm the Gates of Hell). But fans and critics alike rightly seem to be in agreement on True Defiance: It’s a sterling example of the genre, from the opening aggression of “Crucifix” to the haunting plucking of “Means to an End” to the closing pathos of “Dead Flowers.”
The album opens, like many Demon Hunter records, with a full-on sonic assault. “Crucifix,” like “Storm the Gates of Hell” in 2007, features vocalist Ryan Clark in full-on screamer mode, with nary a clean note to be found. The lyrics arguably are Demon Hunter’s most overtly Christian-themed; indeed, one of the more remarkable aspects of the band’s maturity over 10 years has been…

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Album Review: Dangerous by KJ-52

By Paul Gibson | April 22nd, 2012

{April 3, 2012}

BEC Recordings

KJ-52 is one of those artists who has undeniable talent and a track record longer than most. You can always count on a fair share of party tunes, serious messages and occasional goofy goodness and Dangerous isn’t breaking the trend.

KJ’s 2009 release Five-Two Television had some of the best songs of his career. However, as an album it’s downfall was all of the interludes/news breaks that forced this reviewer to ride the skip button.

This album does follow a theme, but is able to avoid annoying pitfalls that plagues most concept or theme albums. Dangerous carries the theme of danger that comes with living a Christian life. Believing in Christ after all was never meant to be easy or safe.

The album starts off with one of album’s upbeat party jams “It’s Going Down,”

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Album Review: Now By Fireflight

By Paul Gibson | March 11th, 2012

Fireflight Now - coverMarch 6, 2012

{Flicker}

The title of Fireflight’s album is Now, implying a question of time.
It’s something of a misnomer, considering the band spends nearly the entire CD asking: “Where?” As in, “Where is God?”
That is both Now’s greatest strength and greatest weakness: In it, Fireflight tackles some weighty subjects well worth addressing – but in the end it does not seem to realize it has done so.
First, Fireflight fans will like this album. Musically, it is essentially indistinguishable from the band’s two previous hit records, Unbreakable and For Those Who Wait. It’s not quite as heavy as those two, which could be a disappointment for some of us metalheads, but Fireflight has never had problems composing mid- and up-tempo rockers.

Songs like “Stay Close,” “Stronger Than You Think” and the title track fit well within the vein established by radio hits like “Unbreakable” and “Desperate.” Fireflight has a good formula going, but like any band with a good formula, the question is rapidly approaching: Will the band progress or stagnate? Time will tell.

Lyrically, on the other hand, Fireflight has never been…

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Album Review: World We View
By Nine Lashes

By Paul Gibson | February 17th, 2012

February 14, 2012

{Tooth And Nail}

 

I feel a special kind of bond with Jeremy and the rest of the guys from Nine Lashes, because they were the first independent band to ever contact me to talk about getting on The Christian Rock 20. That being said, I’ll try not to be biased as I write this review.
World We View is already one of my favorites of 2012. The guys from Nine Lashes had already made me a fan with their solid indie release Escape, but now with their Tooth and Nail debut they have taken it to the next level.
The album kicks off with their #1 single “Anthem For The Lonely,” which opens with an industrial inspired intro and then slams into great guitars. While this song is heavy it is still very accessible for the average rock listener, it’s easily one of the best songs on the radio today.
“The Intervention” continues the musical vibes of electronics and crunchy guitars and while it doesn’t fit the typical mold of aggressive rock, it still rocks.
For longtime fans of the band you will recognize…

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Album Review: Absolved/This One Goes To Seven
By Absolved

By Paul Gibson | February 17th, 2012

 

December 11, 2011

(Thumper Punk Records)

Ah this is music to my ears! On today’s review docket is Ventura, CA hardcore punks Absolved and their self-titled debut album re released with their This One Goes To Seven EP.
A note to readers: If you have no taste for punk rock bands like Minor Threat, Bad Brains, Poison Idea etc. you can stop reading now and find another review, because this is some seriously in your face punk rock mayhem.
Absolved are what I have been wanting to hear in a Christian punk rock band for a long time. They truly channel the spirit of the hardcore punk legends of yore, something I have not really heard…

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Album Review: Live In Concert
By Manafest

By Paul Gibson | September 24th, 2011

{June 7, 2011}

BEC

White, Canadian, skater dude doesn’t sound like your typical rap artist, but Manafest has a way of making it look easy. Now since he has donned the rock and roll frontman hat he has made it look good too. Manafest’s The Chase has turned heads like never before and now he is bringing his live concert experience to CD and DVD in this cool combo pack.

Mannafest’s Live In Concert is fun to listen to or watch on your TV at home, featuring mostly songs from The Chase it also features more classic tunes like “4-3-2-1,” “Bounce,” and “Impossible.” With the full band he even ads more rock flair to songs that started off as hip-hop. I do wish that…

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Album Review: Live At The Masquerade
By Thousand Foot Krutch

By Paul Gibson | September 24th, 2011

{June 7, 2011}

Tooth And Nail

Thousand Foot Krutch has been near the top of the heap in Christian Rock for a good while now and it is kind of baffling that a live album hasn’t come sooner. They have had their share of hits and have recently done quite well with their latest album Welcome To The Masquerade, so maybe the timing is good.

The CD of this CD/DVD combo overall outshines the DVD in my mind. They both have the same songs, recorded at the same concert but I enjoyed listening more than I did watching. Which when it comes down to it is probably better, because how many times am I likely to watch a concert as apposed to listening to it? I mean really.

The collection of songs hits on most of their hits with just a couple of glaring omissions, “Phenomenon” and “Supafly” were missed by this reviewer. But overall the song selection works well. Not too many of their mellow tracks and plenty of their…

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