|New Horizons | Posted October 31, 2012
Barely over a week ago Flyleaf dropped a bomb on the world; that lead singer Lacey Sturm would be leaving the band to be replaced by Kristen May. While many fans were shocked by the announcement, even more questioned the timing of the announcement? How would this affect Lacey’s last album with Flyleaf?
For one, you can hear the passion on every track as Lacey’s voice cracks and whines with raw emotion. Her vocals have never been better, as evidenced on the opening track Fire Fire. The song opens with brief acoustic guitar which quickly vanishes to make way for the aggressive, but poppy chorus that’s one of the biggest Flyleaf has ever written. Lacey rebukes the recent YOLO trend with perhaps the boldest line on the album; “We can’t die because we’re young. At least that’s what we heard in a song.”
The first single New Horizons is next. Flyleaf delves even deeper into alternative pop/rock that only slightly resembles any music they’ve done before. Fans don’t have to wait much longer for more rock music as Call You Out kicks in. It’s a track that’s impossible not to headbang or pump your fist to.
The next few tracks are much softer, but with no less power. Cage On the Ground speaks about the dangers and problems that come with fame and power. “Welcome to the machine. It’s a currency generator, and then it’s a guillotine.”
Aptly titled Great Love is a pure love song written to God. Transparency and innocence exude forth on this track, and it feels as if you’re looking through a window into Lacey’s soul. It’s a beautiful and introspective moment. Bury Your Heart continues the theme of power and corruption found in Cage On The Ground, and musically it’s one of the strongest moments on the album.
Freedom, formerly titled “Blankets of Words”, comes crashing in next. The track is chaotic and feels almost cataclysmic at times. In a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, Lacey even unleashes a few welcome guttural screams towards the end. An assault to the senses, the song fails to make any sort of memorable impact, and as a result, pales in comparison to the other rockers on the album.
Unlike some of the other veiled lyrics on New Horizons, Saving Grace’s message is blatantly clear, with Lacey belting out, “Save me grace, I'm sick of saving face. Will You hold me close? You're all I want to know”. For anyone doubting how Flyleaf’s faith impacts their music, they need look no further.
Stand is boring both lyrically and musically. There’s good intention behind it, but it’s nothing special and feels like nothing more than a filler track. That's probably because of Green Heart, the heaviest song Flyleaf has ever written. Guitarists Sameer Bhattacharya and Jared Hartmann really outdo themselves, and for once, Lacey’s vocals take a backseat to their intense riffs.
Broken Wings, one of the first Flyleaf songs ever written, finally finds itself onto New Horizons. It ends the album on a positive note, but doesn’t hold a candle to previous closers “So I Thought” and “Arise”. It’s worthy effort, though, and when it’s all said and done will leave you wanting more.
All in all, New Horizons is arguably Flyleaf’s best album to date. Almost every song has a place, and the music and vocals have never been stronger. It’s hard to look past this being Lacey Sturm’s swan song, but if you do, you’ll find a truly special piece of art. This may be the end of a chapter for Flyleaf, but a bright future for the band is evident. I, for one, will be excited to follow them wherever they go next.
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