|Immortal Confessions | Posted June 11, 2012
Christian hardcore band For Today is releasing their fourth studio effort just in time for it to fuel their momentum as they head out on the intensely popular summer Warped Tour circuit. Immortal is a worthy addition to the band's heavy, intensely theological discography.
From the first crunchy barrage of the first full track "Fearless," the strength of this album lies in its unashamed, upfront statements--both in the music and the lyrics. Frontman Mattie Montgomery belts out statements about the character and kingdom of God framed with his rich, growled vocals. Ryan Leitru's guitar work is equally searing, providing a fitting backdrop for the rock solid lyrics.
The chorus of the title track roots the album firmly in one of its primary themes: "Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives." This track also brings one of For Today's primary musical devices to the front line, employing some spoken word vocals layered over the guitar foundation. Although most of the drumming and guitar tone stays true to basic hardcore conventions, there are some beautiful and perhaps more widely accessible guitar hooks on songs such as closing track "My Confession"--which is, like much of the album, a confession in the more traditional sense of a statement of belief.
Thematically, the lyrics throughout the album deal with themes of who God is and what it looks like to be a part of His kingdom. Songs like "Set Apart" and "Stand Defiant" emphasize the necessity for followers of Christ to stand strong and accept their identity from God, not from the world. "I was made for this battle. The only threat is my apathy," Montgomery declares in "Stand Defiant."
These complementary themes are expressed beautifully in the two most unique musical moments on the album, "The Call" and "The King." Both tracks are beautifully crafted, the usual guitars and drums overlaid with haunting strings. The vocals are replaced with slightly distorted sound bites of a variety of voices. The sound clips in "The Call" focuses on our reactions to Christ and what it looks like to follow Him. Opening track "The King" leans more towards exploring who God is. These two brief interludes provide some of the most unique and beautiful musicianship on the album.
For Today is gaining more and more momentum in the hardcore world, and Immortal uses that platform beautifully to pummel the airwaves with truth delivered by hard edged guitar riffs and in-your-face vocals. This album encourages listeners to drink deep from the only source of hope while challenging them to move beyond apathy and embrace a deeper form of service. This is definitely an album that will serve to put For Today on the map of any hardcore fan, with a message that begs to be heard and the raw musical power to back it up.
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|For Today: Immortal | Posted July 18, 2012
For Today is a band that needs no introduction. Along with Demon Hunter, August Burns Red, and The Devil Wears Prada, they are probably the most popular Christian metal band today. Immortal is probably the band's most well-rounded album to date, with great preaching tracks, super heavy songs, and great call-to-action songs all throughout the album. The first and only single from the album, "Fearless," made me fall in love with the album and made me even more excited for the album than I already was. Then a few weeks after releasing the single I got the chance to interview vocalist, Mattie Montgomery, in which he talked a little bit about the album - making me even more excited. Needless to say, this was my most anticipated metal release of the year.
The album begins with "The King," one of two instrumental tracks with some preaching on it. Not only is the preaching really good, but it does a perfect job of building anticipation for "Fearless." The song transitions perfectly into "Fearless" in what is one of my favorite beginnings to a metal album. "Fearless" is such an explosive song, and they really capitalized on that with such a sweet intro. The song is a call-to-action for Christians, saying that we have nothing to fear because Christ is on our side, therefore we have no reason not to be out sharing Christ with everyone. If you want to be encouraged and be extremely on fire for Christ at the same time, then "Fearless" is the song for you.
"Stand Defiant" perfectly follows up "Fearless" with a more battle-line mentality, telling us to stand defiant, unwavering on what we believe. The song is one of the heaviest on the album, and one that I believe would be amazing live and in concert. "Immortal" then begins with my favorite lines on the record, "Everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives. Everyone dies, but the faithful will live on to rule the kingdom." The song basically says that since we are going to live forever in Heaven, why not give everything we have to make His name known here on earth? It is definitely one of those things that is easier said than done, but it is also something to think about.
"The Call" is my favorite of the two 'preaching tracks' on the record. The song has soundbites from the likes of Billy Graham, John Piper, and K.P. Yohanan, all calling us to be sold-out followers of Christ. This song is powerful. "Foundation," because of "The Call," then becomes one of the most impassioned songs on the album. The song talks about us how as Christians we have a solid foundation in Christ, and because of that we should never be moved from His word. I love the song, and I love what it talks about. The song also happens to be one of the heaviest songs on the record, but is at the same one of the most melodic. "Open Eyes" talks about us not being our own, but bought by Christ; and because of this, Montgomery says, "And You demand every part of me!" Everything about us Christ's; we should technically not even have a choice to follow Him, but He gives us the opportunity to make our own decisions.
"Under God" then starts off the string of three straight tracks with guest vocals. The song features Tommy Green, vocalist for Sleeping Giant. I got the privilege to see Sleeping Giant on the Scream The Prayer tour and fell in love with them, so now going back and listening to this song it makes it that much better. "Under God" is one of those songs that I like to just sit back and let it all soak in, because it is truly just great music. "Set Apart" features Jake Luhrs of August Burns Red - one of the first metal bands I listened to. The song talks about how we as Christians are set apart and should be different than the rest of the world. Having Montgomery and Luhrs on one track is truly amazing, and this song quickly turned into another of my many favorites on Immortal. "The Only Name" talks about how only one name - Christ - has the power to save us and do all these amazing things. Sonny Sandoval did a great job on the track, and really added another layer to the song that could not have been accomplished without him. The song also has some cool old-school moments on it that really surprised me and made me love the song that much more.
"My Confession" closes out the album with the best track on the album. The song is a very emotional and personal one that gets me pumped and really touches my heart whenever I listen to it. The chorus to the song gets to me every time, "Call me a fool for this stand, but I would die for that man! My king is alive! Call me a fool for this stand, but I would die for that man! My king is alive! And He is worthy of everything!" Every time I listen to this song it makes me wonder why I ever sin, and why I ever live less than completely sold-out out for Him. For Today definitely saved the best for last.
For Today proved with Immortal they are a force to be reckoned with in the metal world. I do not listen to mainstream metal at all, but I have a feeling this will rival anything mainstream metal acts put out. The album is screaming of truth, and is a call-to-action for us Christians to get up off our butts and be on the front lines of the spiritual battle going on all around us. If this album does not get you pumped up to go share the Gospel with everyone you know, then I have no clue what will! Immortal never gets old, no matter how many times I listen to it. This has been a great year so far for Christian metal, and Immortal is another one of the amazing albums that has been released this year.
Favorite Song: My Confession
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