Sunday, July 19, 2009

Church Music For People Who Listen to Metal

It always  surprises people that Christian hardcore/metal exists.  I do recognize the disconnect there and I don't blame anyone for being scared off by screaming in music. I also won't sugarcoat the fact that I love it when it is done well.

This post is for those friends of mine who would keep screaming to a minimum in music. Compiled here are my top 5 favorite songs with religious themes. Often a hardcore Christian band will include a worship or praise song at the end of the record, these are the songs I would like to highlight today. These are in order of my preference and I hope you take the time to listen to them and really hear the words and feel what the band is trying to express.

5. Underoath - Some Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape
This song is off of their first release of any real consequence "They're Only Chasing Safety."  I still remember the contrast between the song and the usual tone of the music.  This song demonstrates a musical understanding unmatched by many bands in their genre.  They are able to convey their beliefs lyrically in a prayer of sorts that came across to me as nothing if not sincere.

4. Life In Your Way - Threads of Sincerity
I'm not going to lie, this song does not keep screaming to a minimum in the first half but if you can make it through the payoff is huge.  I always describe this as a primary song shoved inside a metal song. If you can't handle the screaming skip to the 2:30 mark of the song.  This lyric always resonates with me,  

"There are days where I'm right where I'm supposed to be
  But mostly I am far away
  Learning to live the way I should
  Learning to love the way you would"

3. Sons of God - Caution
Some songs grab you, inexplicably, and will not let you go.  Songs that you can listen to 80 times in a row and not get sick of.  Caution is one of those songs.  The harmonies give me chills every time I listen to them and I feel a closeness to God through music like this. 

2. Haste The Day - Autumn
A song about leaving and how desolate a place this earth can be as the earth dies every year in autumn. I love the haunting melodies that are expressed in this stripped down acoustic offering from Haste The Day.

1. Underoath - Too Bright To See, Too Loud To Hear
This is my favorite song in any genre of all time.  Hyperbole is not uncommon for me but I mean that sincerely.  If there is one song you listen to on this list, make it this one because no other song holds so much love and faith as far as i'm concerned.  The song builds so beautifully and takes me to another place.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Best Of '08 (for paul)

Top Ten Favorite CD's of 2008

10)  Destroy The Runner - "I, Lucifer"
This disc is not nearly as scary as it sounds.  DTR are a christian post hardcore band who picked up an amazing singer before this album and he has transformed them from a run of the mill metalcore outfit to a very complex and talented group.

Check out the songs: Crumbs For the Murder, On Falling Leaf 

9)    Emery - "While Broken Hearts Prevail"
Emery followed up an unremarkable LP with this fantastic EP which to me embodies everything distinct and wonderful about Emery.

Check out: The Smile The Face, Ten Talents

8) Greg Laswell - "Three Flights From Alto Nido"
This makes very strong case for album of the year.  Greg Laswell crafts brilliant pop songs and gives them the depth and substance most artists only dream of.   I was hooked in one listen and I haven't stopped listening to it.  It gets better each listen.  

Check out: That It Moves, I'd Be Lying

7) The Glorious Unseen - "Tonight the Stars Speak"
This CD actually came out in 2007 but I didn't find it until 2008 so I think it counts. Tonight the Stars Speak is praise music but with the songs to keep you interested.  I love lyrics that sound like they could be a prayer and this to me is the best i've found.

Check out: Burn In Me, Embracing The Call, Meet Us Here

6) T.I. - "Paper Trail"
I am a sucker for guilty pleasure radio rap and I openly admit that.  Even my friends who listen to obscure hip hop admit that Paper Trail is an achievement in the genre.  T.I. delivers a strikingly personal disc that for me, is the best rap album I have ever owned.

Check out: Dead and Gone, Ready For Whatever, Swagger Like Us

5) Haste The Day - "Dreamer"
Haste The Day gets no respect in the music world yet they consistently churn out some of the best metalcore out there.  I love the harder approach on this album yet they retain their mainstream viability with beautiful clean vocals on many songs.

Check out: Autumn, Haunting

4) Kanye West - "808's and Heartbreak"
Despite the negative criticism this album has received, I agree with Kanye when he says that he created art on this album.  If you haven't properly listened to it, give it two or three listens and you will start to see what Kanye is trying to do on this album.  I hope he keeps doing it.

Check out: See You In My Nightmares, Amazing

3) August Burns Red - "Messengers"
Definitely one of the heaviest additions to my Ipod this year, August Burns Red is doing christian metal better than almost anyone else.  The guitar players are so good and so technical that it makes me want to give up.

Check out: Composure, Back Burner

2) Akissforjersey - "Victims"
This band exceeded all of my expectations on this record which followed up their entirely forgettable debut.  I think they listened to their producer and tried to stick to one direction.

Check out: Devices, Salus Suas Extanderealas Concedit

1) Underoath - "Lost In the Sound of Separation"
This is the best CD that came out this year. Underoath have earned their enormous following with non stop touring and creating records that will last when so many artists will become jokes in the future.  I can't say enough about what this record means to me and how impressed I am with the career that Underoath has made.

Check out: Too Bright To See Too Loud To Hear, Desperate Times Desperate Measures, Emergency Broadcast ::  The End Is Near

As always, please check out these bands and let me know what you think.  You can listen to any of these songs in their entirety at

Thursday, October 30, 2008

While Broken Hearts Prevail

Emery is a band  I had to come around on, I can admit that.  That being said however, for those of you who aren't familiar with them, Emery are musical geniuses.  They are so talented and uniquely blend their two singers gorgeous voices (sprinkled with their keyboardist's guttural screams) they have crafted a style that is all their own.  

At the risk of sounding trite the opening song "The Smile, The Face" will bring a smile to the face of any Emery fan, especially after the disappointment that was 2007/2008's I'm Only A Man. In my eyes Emery is back and better than ever.  The breakdown at the 2:10 mark of the song elicits memories of their earlier works.

My favorite song on the CD is called "Ten Talents."  The keys in the intro remind me of bad TV shows from the 1980s (but in a good way), listen and I think you will see what I mean.  The vocals are so emotive, and the song effective demonstrates the amazing range of emotion that Emery can convey.  I really get the feeling that they weren't satisfied with their last album and offered up this wonderful EP as penance.  I can't speak for everyone but I'm back on board.

As always you can listen to this album all the way through for free at  It is a great website that I use often to find and listen to new music.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Silver Never Sounded So Good

For those of you who don't dig screaming listen up, this one's for you.  The Classic Crime's previous Tooth and Nail release, Albatross, had wonderful moments but it was terribly uneven. It seemed they suffered from not knowing whether or not they wanted to be a heavy band or fodder for top 40 radio. With their new album The Silver Chord they prove that you don't really have to choose, as long as you do all of it well.

The album begins with a gorgeous watery intro that's only a minute and a half long but it's really haunting.  It proves to me that The Classic Crime really hits the mark when they write about pain and loss which happen to be some of my favorite musical themes.  The two best songs on the album are R and R and God and Drugs.  It really gives their singer, Matt MacDonald room to shine.  

As talented as MacDonald is he often takes the easy road lyrically, which is actually extremely frustrating because at times his lyrics are beautiful poetry.  God and Drugs is the stand out track and an example of MacDonald achieving his potential.  The verses float along and pull you in and the chorus does not disappoint.  

The Silver Chord  at first listen comes across as a new guilty pleasure, but feel no guilt, the more you listen the more you will see the soul in the music.

For Fans Of: Anberlin, Emery and the Almost

Friday, July 18, 2008

Old and New

AKISSFORJERSEY is one of my new favorite bands.  Have you ever listened to a young band that showed a lot of promise but they didn't know who they were?  Their first cd was a mess, too many styles and they just tried to do too much.  But I could tell that they just needed a concept, something more tangible to write about than simply girls and whatever else.  They have outdone themselves with Victims.  I would go so far as to say that Victims is a Christian post-hardcore masterpiece and with this album AKISSFORJERSEY defines who they are as a band.

Devices is the first single off of the album and it has everything a hardcore fan could ask for while maintaining a melodic sensibility.  Searing vocals fill the verses with shouts and growls worthy of inner struggle while the chorus's soar with a melody that feels like it is coming straight from heaven.  I know that sounds cheesy but the chorus to devices is one of the most beautiful melodies I have ever heard.  Another high point on the album is Salus Suas Extanderealus Conce, simply a beautiful praise song.  If you aren't a fan of screaming then this is the song for you but be careful, AKISSFORJERSEY is posed to become the new gateway drug for hardcore.  Just a fantastic achievement.

For Fans Of: Underoath, The Glorious Unseen, Haste The Day (New)

One last note, I mentioned in my last post that Emarosa lost it's talent when the lead singer left.  Well just as a preview, that talent is returning August 19th when the debut CD from AGRACEFUL comes out.  This is heavy stuff but if you are into new Underoath and Oh Sleeper, this is the stuff for you. They have two new songs on their myspace: "A Prophecy In Reverie" and "The Messengers Are Winds Pt 1".  Check it out

Friday, July 11, 2008


I can't even tell you how excited I was for this album to come out.  Emarosa put out an EP called "This Is Your Way Out" int 2007 with a different vocalist.  That cd was really heavy but showed so much promise, with the right producer and some growth they could have created a cd that would really impact the music environment.  Well their vocalist left and so went all the talent and originality.  Don't get me wrong, they inherited a fantastic vocalist from Dance Gavin Dance, there is no denying his ability but every song on this record sounds exactly the same. Most of the melodies are stale and the ability to pace an album just isn't there.  

To make matters worse, there is one song that is unbelievably good.  Seriously you should download "Heads or Tails? Real or Not" right now, I don't care who you are you will love it.  The melody in the first 20 seconds of the song is gorgeous and Emarosa are able to sustain that for the length of the song.  However, this song still doesn't atone for the musical atrocities that are present on this cd. It isn't that is really so bad but considering what it could have been they should really get their old singer on the phone.

Overall, I am extremely disappointed in this cd.  Their is no doubting their talent but either a producer led them astray or they just phoned this one in.  

For fans of: Saosin and Circa Survive 

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lowered Expectations...

I know it won't inspire confidence when I tell you that you can stream this album at, but I feel like it is information worth sharing nonetheless.  I had almost no expectations when it came to Lower Definition's new Ferret release "The Greatest of All Lost Arts," all I knew was that they were touring with Destroy The Runner who happen to hold a special place in my heart.  The first track that I heard from the album is actually the last song, "Namaskar." It begins brooding yet melodic, and grows into a fury of post hardcore aggression while still maintaining the melody and it stays with you all day.

The stand out track for me is "Versus Versace," the first 30 seconds of which makes me feel like I have been thrown into a den of wolves.  But it is their understanding of effective melody that really makes "The Greatest of All Lost Arts" memorable.  The vocalist, Matt Geise has great range and a perfect scream for what they are trying to do and for what appeals to me.  He deftly avoids the temptation to push his high range too often which seems to be the new black in post hardcore. 

I can't say enough about how impressed I am with this effort and it only gets better the more you listen to it.  It probably won't change your life but it might change your mind about the possibilities surrounding post hardcore.

For Fans Of: Circa Survive, Underoath and Akissforjersey