Misery Season - Aggressively Spotlighting Abuse | Posted July-08-2021 What You Need To Know
Misery Season is a six-track EP from upcoming Christian-based deathcore band As Lions and Lambs. This is the eighth year of the band releasing music. Over 2020 and 2021, they have gathered over 150,000 streams on their two singles for this EP.
What It Sounds Like
The EP takes musical inspiration from the hardcore, deathcore, and beatdown music genres. It reaches brutal heights, both musically and vocally. Yet, there is a variation of extreme music sounds heard within it.
Misery Season is focused on domestic abuse and the dramatic effects it has in our lives, both externally and internally. As such, some songs and lyrics get quite dark–fitting for the genre. As Lion and Lambs does not shy away from their faith and hope. Songs like "F.F.F" and "Escape Artist" offer more optimism. Songs like "Hate Speech" and "No Return" are brutal in their depth of the topic tackled.
"Escape Artist" features everything Misery Season offers. The musicianship and vocals are intense and relentless. Breakdowns and layered guitars are in abundance in the EP and showcased in this song. The message highlights the struggles of abuse while being an outreach to God for healing and forgiveness. This is also a great closing song for Misery Season.
Misery Season achieves in just six tracks what many bands strive for in full albums. As Lions and Lambs can please every fan of the extreme music genre with this EP: vehement vocals, fierce music, and mature songwriting. The lyrics get pretty dark sometimes, which may be hard for some listeners. Misery Season is an outstanding metal EP that heavily handles abuse and offers hope and honesty.
Hopes Lives Here - Hope Filled Rock Music | Posted June-25-2021 What You Need To Know
Boiling Point's newest record, Hope Lives Here, is a rock project that's accompanied by a YouTube mini-series inspired primarily by a trip to Sierra Leone, Africa.
What It Sounds Like
Boiling Point utilizes modern rock as a vessel to communicate its message. Tight musicianship, evidently from years of live and studio experience, is found throughout the record. I like their guitar work, especially. The back-and-forth between captivating singing and soaring choruses helps build the momentum of the music.
Hope Lives Here explores what hope looks and feels like in our lives, even when it is tough to see hope in the hardest times of life. Through times of sacrifice, doubt, and legacy, Boiling Point sings about the significance of hope. The band's definition of hope for the record is, "Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness."
"Hope Lives Here," the title track, is an excellent rock song. The verses explore situations in life that seem hopeless which is in contrast to the truthful and anthemic chorus: "Hope's not giving up on us/Embrace the journey and move on/you have one life to live now."
Boiling Point's Hope Lives Here is perhaps their most cohesive and passionate record yet. If you watch their YouTube series, you'll experience the message behind the music. Hope Lives Here strikes hard with rock songs and touches the heart softly with their melodies to inject hope into the listener's mind.
Melancholy Machines - Hope in Sadness | Posted May-22-2021 What You Need To Know
Melancholy Machines is the metal band Death Therapy's third full-length album. It is one of the most personal records that lead singer and writer Jason Wisdom has ever created. The album, distributed through Tooth and Nail Records, though independently created, has two instrumental songs, as well as a cover of contemporary artist Andrew Peterson's "The Silence of God."
What It Sounds Like
At its core, Melancholy Machines is groovy, industrial music. It has a variety of unique sounds, ranging from chanting and gang vocals to rarely-used instruments, like saxophone and techno-beats. On the record, Jason does more singing than screaming than previous efforts. This gives the listener an opportunity to experience a more melodic side of his vocals.
From start to finish, the album's lyrical content is introspective and hopeful. It's apparent in the album opener, "Familiar Shadows": "Reach out/take my hand/and remember you are not alone." This line is a cry that echoes God's love for us. "Pls Snd Hlp" is a cry for help: "I don't want to stay the way I am.../Please send help." The album, from front to back, deals with the difficult struggles of life through a biblical foundation of hope.
Some songs, such as "Tension" and the title track, embrace funky sounds more than others. Still, some songs, such as "Pls Snd Hlp" and "Bullet Holes," have more aggressive features. "Pls Snd Help" is definitely the album standout. With its heavy elements, Melancholy Machines meets fan expectations, while improving on Death Therapy's groovy infusion of heavy music.
Melancholy Machines is Death Therapy at its true core. Since the first two records were leaning more to metalcore, fans may have subverted expectations with this one. However, Melancholy Machines is far more unique in its own right. The groovy, electronic elements combine with the bass, drums, and vocals to form an eccentric, yet distinct album.
Survival Stories Told Through Heavy Metal | Posted May-11-2021 What You Need To Know
Heavy metal band Convictions' newest record, I WON'T SURVIVE, is a new independent project. The six songs--plus one instrumental--are survival stories ranging from poss traumatic stress disorder, grief, addiction, cancer, and suicide. The band released their last independent record six years ago. The band's vocals include, Danyal Suchta, the lead singer, and Michael Felker, the screamer.
What It Sounds Like
I WON'T SURVIVE contains some of most intense, aggressive songs that the band has ever created. The band does an exemplary job of creating a metalcore record that showcases every strength of the band. Musically and vocally, this record is metalcore that oftentimes blends into deathcore. Mike's high shrieks and low growls are both powerful instruments added in well-placed and timed moments. Danyal's soaring vocals and catchy choruses empower where needed.
Michael, the band's lead screamer and lyricist, shares, "Our goal is to highlight positive mental health and share the hope we believe God has for our lives." I WON'T SURVIVE is truly that. There is a range of emotion that is covered, just like the range of mental struggles. You'll hear grief, anger, sadness, and more. But at the end of the day, you hear hope. Many biblical characters struggled with their faith and personal battles, yet many retained hope in God. So, it is with I WON'T SURVIVE.
An all-together standout song is "Wreckage." It has brutally-honest lyrics and aggressive music.
I WON'T SURVIVE meets the listener in the midst of the storm of life to offer both genuine sympathy and eternal hope. Through unyielding passion for the lost and hurting, Convictions has created possibly their best record yet. For those expecting more "preachy" lyrics from the band like in the past, you might be disappointed. Instead, the band tells stories through someone else's perspective. I WON'T SURVIVE is a fantastic metal record that gets messy, dark, and brutal. But Convictions' faith sees them through to the end.
The Struggles of the Earthly Ones - A Victory for Searching Serenity | Posted May-03-2021 What You Need To Know
Searching Serenity's sixth album, The Struggles of The Earthly Ones, is melodic deathcore at its finest. This is also one of several albums from the band now led by one member: musician Robert Manzone. The 13 tracks are full of intense death metal music and biblical lyrics.
What It Sounds Like
This melodic deathcore album has what any fan of death metal would want. On the musical side, there is nothing lacking. Maybe because it's a solo project, Robert is able to weave all the pieces together cohesively. I love his guitar work: catchy riffs, fun guitar solos, and crushing breakdowns.
Every song is based on scripture and is accompanied by life experiences. The majority of the lyrics deal with condemning ungodly behavior and people. The tone is much like a prophetic word found in the Old Testament and echoes in the New Testament. Songs like "The Doubting" and "The Brokenhearted" are different in style with `prayerful and personal outcries to God.
In "The Doubting," we hear a plea for God to come and remove doubts of His glory in our hearts and minds. Our enemy, Satan, is called out as the source of our doubts. The lyricism is captivating and relatable, plus Robert's vocal range is fantastic. Another album favorite is "The Brokenhearted" for its songwriting, but especially for the guitar work and great solo.
The Struggles of The Earthly Ones marries the intense emotions of life and judgments of the Bible with brutal, symphonic deathcore music with excellence. Robert displays impressive talent in everything, especially vocally. I think he could have taken more risks creatively and still come out on top. Any fan of extreme music needs to hear this album.
Tamed Tongues - a Fresh Take on a Familiar Taste | Posted April-29-2021 What You Need To Know:
Dens' new record Tamed Tongues is a celebratory one. The band designed this to be a lyrical highlight and musical stretch. It takes every song from their 2020 release, Taming Tongues, and re-records them in stripped-back versions with new melodies, sounds, and instruments.
What It Sounds Like:
In contrast to their post-rock roots, this record presents these songs in a primarily soft rock sound, sometimes crossing over into country/southern rock. Each song has an acoustic bend to it while faithfully keeping familiar melodies and rhythm from the original album. Yet, each has its own distinctiveness.
The spiritual highlights of this album are abundant. The titles of the songs reflect Proverbs 17:28. Each song is an introspective and personal reflection on learning to tame our tongues. There is a tranquility to the new music styles that reflect timeless truths based in the Bible.
Deciding which song stands out among the rest is just as difficult this time around just as it was with Taming Tongues. The record is still written as a concept album from front to back. I will say, however, that the songs that were originally more upbeat and aggressive have taken up a very different and unique sound. Songs such as "Foolish," "To," and the rendition of "Quiet," are all highlights.
If you are a fan of the recent music releasing from heavy bands doing acoustic re-recordings, such as Wolves At The Gate's Dawn and Demon Hunter's Songs of Death and Resurrection, you need to listen to this wise and timely album. Sometimes the music is so different from normal Dens music that it almost doesn't even sound like them. But ultimately, Tamed Tongues' messages of life and death through our words remains just as true as the first time I heard them in Taming Tongues.
Christian pop rock band All Together United, a group with roots in various genres, have been releasing music since 2014 (their newest release, Anything Is Possible, was released in 2020). The band's goal is to encourage people with biblical messages in their music.
What It Sounds Like
Their pop rock music blends familiar melodic sounds with acoustic layers. A few songs include more prominent rock elements. Lead singer Matthew Ide's vocal range allows for great melodies in the album's contemporary music to flow throughout the record. Vocals range from soothing and warm to deeper and anthemic--just enough variety without losing their focus.
If you're looking for God-glorifying music with a rock flavor, All Together United has you covered. Throughout the record, you will hear the band's passion and love for God with contemporary Christian music-styled lyricism. Anything Is Possible's style of worship is cheerful, motivating, and biblically-based.
"Lord" has standout rock elements, which is pleasing to the ears. Most of the album's songs are closer to pop rock and contemporary music, while "Lord" is heavier hitting and feels more original.
The variety in music style paired with encouraging lyrics makes Anything Is Possible a worship project worth checking out. Some more rock-focused tracks would give this record more needed cohesiveness. All Together United shows growth from previous music and leaves the listener inspired in their faith.
The four-piece progressive metalcore band Mothaltar's debut EP, Prologue, has an intriguing instrumental opening and four biblically-based songs. Formerly known as Forerunner, the band has rebranded and solidified its sound and line-up.
What It Sounds Like
Musically, Mothaltar seems to draw on many influences, as evident in the range of musical styles heard throughout the EP. There is an abundance of technology, low riffage, and melodic elements. The vocals range from spoken word, singing, and lots of screaming.
Some of the EP's lyrics are based on Isaiah chapter 6, the band's favorite scripture. So, it's no surprise that their content has plenty of spiritual highlights. The band is proud of their faith; they write songs that contrast the difficulties of life with the confidence found in God.
Right out the gate, "Return" stands out. Everything that a metalhead would want in a song can be found here: intense riffage, vocal variety, and multiple breakdowns. The melodic side of the band is also evident. The lyrics are solid and they speak to our spirituality as Christians. This song is exemplary of the band's talent.
Mothaltar's debut, Prologue, is hopefully just a prologue for much more to come. This EP is very promising. Mothaltar's ability to meet our spiritual conflict, through the heaviness in music, yet hope in faith, is something to commend. The mix could be heard as muddy at times, definitely a nod to the hardcore genre, though. I strongly recommend any metal fan to listen to Prologue.
Yours For Mine: How Dark The Night Review | Posted March-29-2021
What You Need To Know
Yours For Mine is a post-hardcore band whose new record follows-up on a 10-year-plus musical hiatus. Their full-length debut, Dear Children, was released in 2009. Yours For Mine: How Dark The Night (How Dark the Night for short) is a pleasant surprise and hopefully they won't need such a long pause before more music is released.
What It Sounds Like
Many people reminisce about the explosion of post-hardcore and pop-punk rise in the 2000s. That kind of sound is what you can expect on this album. There is a creative blend of styles that ultimately brings a special range of music. Vocals range from spoken word to screams. The music is exhilarating and captures the emotion and truth spoken throughout.
Yours For Mine expertly weaves their faith into songs of life. You won't walk away after listening to this record without being encouraged in your situation, whether spiritual or not. The amount of depth here is, dare I say, worth the 12-year wait. The lyrical songwriting is as transparent as a faith-filled man's prayer to God—comparable to the Psalms.
This record is full of great tracks that range in their aggressiveness and captivating melody. "Break The Teeth" is one of the most energetic tracks. "Sing, Sing Again" is easily the most mellow, yet, enjoyable. Perhaps the song that best showcases the fantastic range of music is "We All Hide." The lyrics demonstrate a vulnerable heart wanting to sympathize and encourage, and the music perfectly matches the intensity. Starting out loud and fast, but slowing down for extra care toward the end.
How Dark The Night is a record that stands out among many others of its kind for its excellence in songwriting and musicianship. I found, at times, that a few songs blend together so closely that they didn't stand out as individual experiences. This may be a benefit to some listeners, though. It's been a while since I felt such genuineness in music. I'm grateful for an album like this in such a time as this.
Rebirth, This Surrender Review | Posted March-18-2021 What You Need To Know
This Surrender is a band led by James Franchise. Some better know him by his social media nickname, The metal worship leader. He is best known for his covers of Christian contemporary worship songs. This Surrender's debut album, Rebirth, features three original songs and six covers.
What It Sounds Like
James' love for metal music is evident all throughout the record. You'll hear screams and growls, but also some singing. Breakdowns. A couple guitar solos are heard, too. Most choruses are sung; most bridges are the heaviest parts. Overall, it's metalcore covers of praise songs (this is James' form of praise). The last song, "Make Room," is the softest, by far.
Given the nature of the cover songs, the spiritual content is great. This Surrender covered the classic "God of Wonders." The band covered recent church favorites "Way Maker," "Break Every Chain," and "God of the Promise." There are also three original songs that all fit in with similar lyrical songwriting and musical arrangement.
The arrangement and style of "God of Wonders" is my favorite cover. James' passion and talent in the metal music side of things is best presented in this song. As for his originals, "Anchored" is the best of the three, considering the songwriting and personal touch.
This Surrender's Rebirth is a creative and heartfelt record. Though mostly comprised of cover songs, James' own songwriting and talent is clearly heard and seen. The mixing, especially on the drums, is rough at times and the vocals don't always complement each other. Rebirth is a solid foundation to grow upon and I'm excited to hear what James has in the future.