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Even The Devil Believes by Stryper Even The Devil Believes by Stryper
What You Need To Know:
Even The Devil Believes is Stryper's 13th...
Unseen: The Lion EP by Seventh Day Slumber Unseen: The Lion EP by Seventh Day Slumber
What You Need To Know
Seventh Day Slumber's newest project will be their...
Above The Waves by Lifelong Above The Waves by Lifelong

What You Need To Know
Lifelong is a hardcore band from San Diego, California....

Showing 1-10 of 27 |   View Next 10 Album and Book Reviews
Even The Devil Believes Review | Posted August-14-2020
What You Need To Know:

Even The Devil Believes is Stryper's 13th studio album. They continue to build upon modern rock influences while maintaining the signature Stryper sound fans have grown to love over their 35 years. This is the first album to feature Perry Richardson (Firehouse) on bass and background vocals. Lead singer, Michael Sweet, says about the writing of the album, "This album was recorded during the pandemic, and I believe the message pertains to the times we are living in so perfectly. It's a recording of hope and inspiration and a light in the darkest of times."



What It Sounds Like:

The new Stryper album boasts some of the best music and vocals from Stryper. In the last decade, Stryper, and even Michael Sweet's solo music, have been finding where their strengths lie in the modern rock and metal scene. Even The Devil Believes is filled with melodic, harmony-laden, choruses that their fans know and love them for. Most verses are lead by Michael Sweet himself which excitingly build up to the choruses. The musicianship is some of the best in recent years too. We hear a guitar solo is every song, energetic drumming, and powerful guitar work. This album has a similar modern rock sound similar to the last few Stryper albums and Michael Sweet's last two solo albums. 



Spiritual Highlights:

One of Stryper's many earned names over the years include the term "Heavenly Metal." This is an ever accurate name to give to their style of music. Every song is filled with great, biblical content and fantastic metal music. The John 3:16 based song "Let Him In" and the Crucifixion-based narrative "Blood From Above" are just a few examples. The band often has one or two songs that could be controversial. Their megahit from the 80s, "To Hell With The Devil" is a great example. On this album, it is the closing track "Middle Finger Messiah." On the chorus, Michael Sweet sings "The world flips him off/Like a Pariah/He's The Middle Finger Messiah." The terminology is the controversial part, but lyrically it, along with the rest of the song, are theologically sound. Stryper remains unashamed of their faith and I love that!



Best Song:

The first single released for Even The Devil Believes is the opening song for the album, "Blood From Above." It is simply one of the best songs on the album. It does not divert from the overall formula that the rest of the album follows, rather, it executes it perfectly. From the commanding drums on the opening verse pairing with Michael Sweet's scream, the song presents expectations well. The chorus utilizes the harmony of vocals well to send home the powerful message that sings "A righteous murder scene of love/Flowing down grace/In The Blood From Above." 



For Fans Of:

Theocracy, Wolves At The Gate, Disciple 



Bottom Line:

Michael Sweet's singing and screams are top notch, the musicianship from Perry, Oz, and Robert are masterfully complimenting each other throughout the album, and the mix wraps it up all together tightly. The formula for each song is somewhat predictable, losing some creativity and diversity, but at the same time, it is expected. Even The Devil Believes is Stryper's ultimatum of their modern metal sound. After 35 years, the members of Stryper, new and old, still show great passion for rock and roll and Jesus. 

 



 

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Unseen: The Lion EP | Posted August-05-2020
What You Need To Know

Seventh Day Slumber's newest project will be their third contemporary worship-based project. Previous albums include 2009's Take Everything and 2013's Love and Worship, the former containing a multi-million streamed cover of Hillsong Worship's famous worship hit, "From The Inside Out." Seventh Day Slumber's newest music, Unseen: The Lion, contains three covers of popular worship songs, as well as two originals pieces. 



What It Sounds Like

Compared to their previous worship albums, this EP has more rock elements, including some more prominent bass and commanding drumming. Lead singer Joseph Rojas's signature vocals are clear and passionate. The violin and piano music on the album makes enhance the worship atmosphere on the album. 



Spiritual Highlights

Unseen: The Lion EP is a worship-focused project, so I can confidently say each song has great spiritual content. It opens with their cover of "Waymaker" by Michael W. Smith, followed by two original songs, "Unseen" and "Branches." Both songs full of biblical praise. On the pre-chorus, Joseph Rojas sings  "There's a glory that awaits/Everything I hold will pass away." This message is echoed throughout the song: remember to set your mind on eternity, which is unseen. 



Joseph praises God in "Branches," praising Him for His works in heaven and reminds us to fix our eyes on God's creation around us on earth. Poetically, Joseph sings, "We lift our praises high/We lift our hands like branches/To the sky" The EP closes with "What A Beautiful Name" by Hillsong Worship and "Run To The Father" by Cody Carnes. 



Best Song

Of the two originals, "Unseen" is better, though not by a long shot. The clap-backed, easy-going verses lead well into the choruses. The first chorus' transition is perfect, cutting some music out for a moment before it all comes back in full blast. There is exceptional musicianship throughout the song while the vocals accompany well. Of the covers, "Run To The Father" has the best balance of heavier rock elements while capturing the melody of the original. Thematically, it fits well also, since several Seventh Day Slumber songs focus on the fatherhood aspect of God and the fatherhood of the lead singer. 



For Fans Of

Disciple, Jeremy Camp, 7eventh Time Down



Bottom Line

The band's unashamed faith in Christ roars loudly in Unseen: The Lion EP. The Seventh Day Slumber's rock sound is skillfully infused in the worship style, resulting in more unique covers and sounds than previously done by the band. However, there were moments where I felt distracted from the words due to the overpowering sound. It's not always that way, but it 's noticeable more on the covers. Unseen: The Lion is the first half Seventh Day Slumber's worship project. I can't wait to hear the rest.

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Above The Waves Review | Posted July-22-2020


What You Need To Know

Lifelong is a hardcore band from San Diego, California. Trevor Vickers and Joel Piper, the band's two members, first played music together with Confide, the iconic Solid State Records hardcore band. After their independently released 2018 EP, Revive The Masses, Solid State Records signed Lifelong and helped them create their first full-length album, Above The Waves. The EP and the album have a major difference: the former lead singer Ross Kenyon is no longer with the group. So, for Above The Waves, the band developed a new sound that is a better fit for Trevor and Joel, who now share vocal duties. 



What It Sounds Like

Above The Waves is a melodic hardcore album with some pop-punk influence. Every track is energetic and amped-up, complete with passionate musicianship and vocals. There are some creative nuances that signify differences in the songs, such as gang and isolated vocals, guitar solos, among others. There's also a fair amount of melody and pop, especially on catchy choruses, giving a pop-punk style on many of the songs. 



Spiritual Highlights

Lifelong is proud of their faith and are open to sharing struggles and celebrations of their life--both spiritual and humane. They inject positivity into a music scene that's desperate for it. From the opening track, "Not The Same," they sing "I've seen the light/This changes everything I know." A statement that bears witness to the Gospel's transformative power in our lives. 



The album's lead single, "Above The Waves," offers an empowering chorus. Joel sings, "So, I'll keep my face above the waves/And all the time we take/Will not be nothing" I love the encouraging message behind this song.  



"Death To Life" approaches the struggle of hypocrisy. Trevor opens the song screaming "You only think of yourself!" The rest of the song explores the futility of living in hypocrisy and compromise. Throughout the whole album, Lifelong pairs their aggressive music with positive and biblical messages that we all need to hear.




Best Song

"Something Left To Give" is easily the album's standout song. It has excellent drumming that keeps your attention, vocals that display impressive range and talent. Let's not forget the skillful guitar work that binds everything together. I love the catchy chorus that Joel sings, "When the walk feels like it's going nowhere/Carry Me! Carry Me!/You're the rock that hears my words with no air/Carry Me! Carry Me!" Joel's vocals in the song are a great mix of scream-sing that remind me of other great, popular hardcore singers. His singing is partnered with Trevor's gritty screaming. After listening to "Something Left To Give," I often remember the aforementioned, fun chorus or the empowering bridge that Trevor screams "They tried to take me out/but they can't keep holding me down!"



For Fans Of

MxPx, Confide, Rise Against



Bottom Line

During the creation of Above The Waves, Lifelong actually did not have a ton of direct help from Solid State Records. Instead, they wrote, recorded, produced, and engineered the album themselves. I think the guys could have been better off using a new band name instead of Lifelong. When the lead single was released, it threw off a lot of fans, since the former lead singer is gone and overall sound on Above The Waves is evidently different from their 2018 EP, Revive The Masses. Trevor and Joel's creativity and passion flows all through the album. Above The Waves takes the new skills they learned and natural talent to create a powerful, encouraging hardcore album that will remain a standout for Solid State Records history for years to come. 

 



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Blood From Above (Single) Review | Posted July-06-2020
What You Need To Know

Stryper is an internationally renowned Christian heavy rock band from California, U.S. They're one of the first Christian rock bands to gain mainstream popularity (their 1986 album, To Hell With The Devil, was certified double platinum). In 2005, following a long hiatus, Stryper returned to the music scene, changing their musical style to sound more modern rock, rather than classic rock. Now, the band is back with a new album--and a new single. "Blood From Above" is Stryper's latest offering, featured on their upcoming album, Even The Devil Believes. If you're a long-time Stryper fan, don't expect this song or the album to sound like anything from the '80s. This album's music continues to follow their new modern rock sound.



What it Sounds Like

Michael Sweet, Stryper's lead singer, has been very vocal on Facebook about Even The Devil Believes. He claims it to be their best and his personal all-time favorite. He says, "Soon, we will be releasing the first song from my personal favorite Stryper album, our new album." After hearing "Blood From Above," fans might start agreeing with that view. The song is one of  Stryper's heaviest songs. The music's powerful and the lyrics are filled with biblical truth. If you're a fan of Stryper's--and Michael Sweet's--latest music, you'll love this song. It's aggressive with impressive vocals and a great guitar solo.



Spiritual Highlights

There is always plenty of spiritual depth in Stryper's music and "Blood From Above" is no exception. The single is an accurate and creative narrative of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The chorus is compelling and reverent: "He's a holy human sacrifice/Nailed upon a cross/A righteous murder scene of love/Flowing down grace/In The Blood From Above." About the biblical account, each Gospel tells their view of the crucifixion of Jesus; you can read them starting in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, or John 18. 



Final Word

Every member of Stryper continues to grow their musical talents through the many years of playing music. With their 13th studio album forthcoming, they show no signs of slowing down, as the music continues to get heavier and more dynamic. The lyrics from  "Blood From Above" are refreshingly bold about the band's Christian faith influence. I am highly anticipating the album and any following singles. Even the Devil Believes will definitely be a contender for the best rock album of the year. 

 



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A Line In The Sand Review | Posted June-28-2020
What You Need To Know:

American Arson is a two-piece rock band from Michigan. Evan Baker is the lead vocalist and founded the band while Jesse Gentry joined him later. They released three independent EPs, which can be combined to tell one narrative. Facedown Records signed them on their label and have helped the guys create their first full-length album, A Line In The Sand



What It Sounds Like:

American Arson is a band whose sound is hard to put into a specific genre, which is a compliment. They are most closely defined as punk rock, but you could put them in with post-hardcore, post-punk, or just rock and roll. Evan's got a natural, gritty vocal style, but is more than capable of bringing out some softer melodic singing. The drumming and guitar work throughout the album are superb and keep your attention. There are a lot of musical interludes and intros, but you will not find much in terms of breakdowns or guitar solos. 



Spiritual Highlights:

A Line In The Sand finds its release date in the midst of high tensions in America, especially regarding the topic of racism. The messages in this album are great and valuable on their own, but a few particularly stand out because of the current climate in the States. The first song, "The End" simply sings one chorus a few times over that says, "If love is only for the ones who share my skin, I swear that this could be the end" which leads perfectly into "Drop Your Daggers," the third single from the album. The song itself is exemplary, and builds on the previous message, singing "Brother, sister: let's unite! Drop your daggers, leave the fight!  Our real enemy is neither left or right." These two are not the only songs that tackle this topic. Others include "Let Conviction Grow" and "Huddles Masses." The message that American Arson sends with these songs reminds me of Galatians 3:28 and Romans 10:12, among other Scriptures that teach that all are created and loved equally.



A few other highlights I want to include come from the songs "Stay True," The Waters Will Rise," and "The King Is Alive." Galatians 5 teaches us to rid of the works of the flesh, but we know that is not an easy task. "Stay True" is a song that sings about the struggle to stay true to who we should be. It boldly cries out, "Kill avarice, selfishness, envy, and wrath. Give me the strength to stay true to the path." That is a call we all should make. "The Waters Will Rise" is a relatable and very creative song. Through usage of metaphors and poetic imagery, the song embraces the fact that life has its seasons of difficulty and relative ease, but despite it all, "still love survives." The last song, "The King Is Alive," is an epic-style narrative that takes its listener through the story of redemption from a once bitter heart to a heart transformed by God. 



Best Song:

The first single they released was "Unbreakable" and for good reason, it is definitely one of the best songs. American Arson's musical talent shines throughout the song, from the gripping verses to the encouraging chorus. Evan and Jesse's variety of musical creativity shows in the commanding drums, the catchy guitar leads, and all the other ear candy you hear. "The King Is Alive" undoubtedly deserves extra attention too. The song is beautifully crafted from start to finish. The narrative is dramatically built up throughout the song and is distinct on the album as a whole. It climaxes with the empowering proclamation: "And I knew that you'd been there all along, through the gray and the black, for the darkness is not dark to you. The king is alive! The king is alive! Long live the king!"



For Fans Of:

Skillet, Anberlin, Project 86, 



Bottom Line:

A Line in The Sand may be timely at its release date, but the passionate songs speak timeless truths that are accompanied by fantastic music. Evan and Jesse deliver a well-crafted, impressive first full-length album that has just enough variety to offer something to every fan of rock music. American Arson's creativity shows no end in sight and I hope their passion to deliver great music will be long-lived. 

 



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Covers EP Review | Posted June-22-2020
What You Need To Know

Jon Foreman, the lead singer of Switchfoot, began going online nightly to perform acoustic versions of his songs when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. Afterward, the country began closing studios and concert venues. At that point, Jon expanded his options. He performed either his own music or Switchfoot songs. Or, he covered other artists' songs. Other band members would join in on the fun (virtually, of course). They had so much fun covering other artists' music that they recorded an EP of studio covers.



On Facebook, the members of Switchfoot said, "We chose these songs because they allow us the opportunity to sing anthems of hope right alongside you even in this time of being apart. Take a spin with the Covers EP and join us in singing along with Frank Ocean, Vampire Weekend, Harry Styles, Jon Bellion, The Verve, and The Chainsmokers."




What It Sounds Like

These songs definitely sound like Switchfoot–even though they're covers of other artists and styles. The band stays true to the originals, keeping the majority of the rhythms, styles, and progression of the songs while adding signature Switchfoot elements. The passion that the band has for the messages of these songs is evident. These covers sound like mid-tempo songs Switchfoot has recorded in the past. "The World You Want," Selling The News," Your Love Is A Song," and "More Than Fine" are a few examples. 



Spiritual Highlights

These songs, recorded by mainstream artists, have important life lessons and other positive messages. "Swim Good" is a vulnerable song about the struggles of life, but coming through as a stronger person, much like what is taught in the Book of James. Switchfoot, natives of San Diego, can definitely vibe with this song thematically, as they share, "As surfers, this feeling is what keeps us coming back to the water. This song is also a timeless reminder that we are all a part of a story bigger than ourselves. This day and age, these words are more poignant than ever." 



"Harmony Hall" has a political edge to it, which fits well into the personal lives of each band member--even if not usually the band itself. Their version of the instrumental piece in the song is beautiful. It's a great cover with evident Switchfoot vibes. 



"Stupid Deep" is perhaps the most Switchfoot-influenced cover. Jon Foreman's incredible vocal range reaches the same highs and lows that original artist Jon Bellion's impressive vocal range also achieves. "With the world around seemingly spinning out of control, this is a song about realizing contentment and peace is found within. At times, we're all susceptible to frantically chasing love, acceptance, contentment, you name it. Something to make us feel okay, to mend the 'stupid deep' holes in our hearts.⁠" The great life lessons we can learn from these special songs ought not to be missed.



Best Song

The cover of Vampire Weekend's "Harmony Hall" fits so well with Switchfoot. For a band who strives for justice and peace, the theme and message of the song could easily be a B-side from their hit album, Where The Light Shines Through. And, no one would guess otherwise. The band's creative skills shine exceptionally well on this song. Jon Foreman would argue for "Stupid Deep" as his favorite, but I would not argue too strongly against that either though. 



For Fans Of:

Switchfoot, Judah and the Lion, The 1975, any of the covered artists



Bottom Line

I cannot think of many artists who are already so passionate about the messages of their cover songs as much as Switchfoot has been. Jon says it well, "There is a commonality in melody, and rhythm, and lyric, and truth that speaks to me even from someone who might look different than myself. This is the beauty of music: it can take us around the world, even when we're quarantined at home." These specially-chosen songs are properly and honorably covered by Switchfoot and it lets them showcase their ever-growing and impressive creative musical prowess. 

 



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Emery Impress with Album Number 8 | Posted June-08-2020


What You Need To Know

Emery has been an influential band in the post-hardcore scene for nearly 20 years, both in the Christian-based scene and in the mainstream. White Line Fever is their 8th album. It was impressively created with the support of their one-year-old fanbase program titled Emeryland. Emery has also kept busy interacting with fans with "Are You Listening?", a weekly streamed music show on Twitch, a live streaming platform for gamers. White Line Fever primarily tells the story of how Emery began, and the struggles they faced while forming the band. 



What It Sounds Like

White Line Fever is not neccessarily experimental territory for Emery. Instead, the band plays on all their strengths that they know fans love. Musical strengths, which they excel at naturally. The dual vocals from singers Toby Morell and Devin Shelton are some of the most beautiful harmonies you will hear from a post-hardcore rock band. Vocalist Josh Head's screaming skills are utilized well. Matt Carter, Dave Powell, and the rest of the musicians add their skills to create an unmistakable Emery-sound throughout the album, which results in passionate post-hardcore songs, as well as a few soft, melodic gems.



Spiritual Highlights

Emery always strives to explore different themes--both spiritual and non-spiritual. The songs on White Line Fever are primarily about the band's beginnings. "The Noose" talks about how we deal with pain and our perspectives on it. A contemplative line stuck with me: "Our judgment coming soon/A bride without a groom/We all will worship a god/I am that I am or made of our thoughts." If we do "fall in love with the pain," as the song also says, how will we focus on God's hand at work during pain?



The softer song "Make Yourself Sick" talks about the struggles of self-doubt and hurt. The lyrics say, "We hurt ourselves in the simplest of ways." We often are our own worst enemy, with the lies we hear and choose to believe. Later, the lyrics say, "The walls you build won't protect your heart." This we can compare with scripture, knowing that the best place to protect our heart is in God's hands, as Psalm 61:3 (NIV) says. "Sad Season," the album's last song, contemplates the lessons we learn from pain and sad seasons in our lives. It says, "We all wish for happiness/But the sad parts make us stronger than the momentary scars/They show us who we are." This message seems to agree with the first chapter of the Book of James, which teaches that our struggles can grow us if we persevere with faith. 



Best Song

"Civil Wars" features exemplary vocals and masterful music: the ingredients needed to make a great song. "Civil Wars" is an honest account about the internal and mental struggles we all deal with in life. It sings "We've all got civil wars tearing us apart/There is no rest/You're always there." This song is very relatable. It encourages listeners to know that they're not alone in difficult life struggles. 



For Fans Of

Anberlin, As Cities Burn, Thrice



Bottom Line

Emery shares their heart with White Line Fever, offering an honest look into the band's beginnings, as well as writing relatable songs about the struggles in life. With a passionate and supporting fanbase that spans over twenty years, Emery knows what their post-hardcore fans want. As usual, they pass expectations--both musically and lyrically. If you're a fan of post-hardcore rock or of Emery, this album won't dissappoint.

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Guilty Hands Review (Single) | Posted May-29-2020
What You Need To Know

Nine Lashes is one of today's biggest Christian rock bands. Since its start in 2009, Nine Lashes has seen success on Apple Music, Spotify, and YouTube. Their two most popular albums are World We View and From Water to War. Some of the band's huge hits include "Anthem of the Lonely," "Break The World," and "Never Back Down." Nine Lashes also released Ascend, a pop-driven album, in 2016. It wasn't received as well as its predecessors. The band went quiet after that. Four years have later, Nine Lashes is back with "Guilty Hands," a heavier, rock-driven song that harkens to their prime with a great message. 



What It Sounds Like

"Guilty Hands" sounds like classic rock-driven Nine Lashes, before Ascend. The single features low-toned guitar tones and powerful drumming, the signature of most modern rock bands. Notably, lead singer Jeremy Dunn's vocals are quite impressive.  Throughout the song, he hits some of the deepest and grittiest tones while retaining his signature vocal style. If you're a fan of their older music, this song is sure to please. 



Spiritual Highlights

The song has an encouraging message. Nine Lashes says "Guilty Hands" is a plea, a call out to stop running from God's plan for us. He wants us to come home. The song's message is taken from personal experience, as well as Luke 15 (NIV). We have all tried to do things for ourselves through our own visions. It's kind of silly really when we believe and know God sees the best path for us. Beautiful words in the chorus: "Lay down your guns/What are you fighting?/Is my name not Forgiveness?" We're reminded that no matter how guilty we feel or how defensive we are against God, He will always be there to forgive and love us. 



Final Word

Nine Lashes emerges from their quietness with the very impressive "Guilty Hands." The song is a declaration that the band is not done making quality rock music. Nine Lashes promise more music is coming, not just one single. With the heavy music, meaningful lyrics, and reception they have received, whatever is coming will be great. 

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Anchor and Braille's Album Tension Brings Ease | Posted May-26-2020


What You Need To Know

Stephen Christian is best known for his role as the lead singer for international rock band Anberlin. He started Anchor and Braille during his time in Anberlin, as a creative outlet. And, it has continued to grow into his personal passion project, even after Anberlin stopped touring. Now, Stephen has added a fourth studio effort to his passion project's discography--an album called Tension. A press release gives an accurate description of the new album: "Intended as a reprieve from life's burdens, Tension is a true reflection of Christian's current appetite for fun." I will add that if you do not have fun listening to this album, you're probably doing something wrong. 



What It Sounds Like

Tension takes some of the best elements from previous Anchor and Braille albums and combines them together wonderfully. There are some creative electronic elements that go well with Stephen's beautiful, upper-register melodies. Each upbeat song will keep you engaged with creative hooks and captivating music. 



Spiritual Highlights

Stephen Christian is a man who is serious about his faith, as it seeps into everything he has written.Tension is no exception. Though the wording can often be interpreted as from the mouth of a significant other or close friend, the messages found in the album often find themselves as biblical truths as well. The opening track, "No Ordinary Love," sings out, "This ain't no ordinary drug/This is a different kind of love." People have unique ways of loving one another. But, God loves at an entirely different level.



"Eventful Horizons" offers a great perspective on relationships: "Can't explain it to you I just feel this way/Life just works out better when you're around." Whether it be a great friend or a closeness with God, life works out better when we know we are not alone, a truth found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12




Building further on the powerful force of love, "Madness" offers both an encouragement and challenge with the chorus, singing "In the madness, I'll just keep on loving you/With all I am, I'll just keep on loving you." To know that someone is willing to love you even in the hard times is precious and encouraging. We know God loves in this way, and we ought to try to as well. These are only a few of the highlights from this album that seemingly hides deep thoughts in fun beats. 



Best Song

I love "Tethered." On every line in the lyrics, there is a clear and relatable truth. We all know how it feels to have a great friend at our side to keep us at peace: "When my life feels like it's crashing/You are the still and calm and understanding/In you I live and have my peace." The song boasts one of the catchiest choruses on the album. "Tethered" fantastically combines the skillful songwriting that Christian showcases throughout Tension to offer a great, cheerful song with a relatable message.



For Fans Of

Anberlin, Matty Mullins, Ledger



Bottom Line

Stephen Christian exceeds creative expectations with Tension. He has poured his heart and soul into this album and it shines on every song. Listening to Tension draws you into an easily enjoyable atmosphere full of fun, passion, and intention that is sure to win over your hearts and ears. Tension aims to bring you to ease, while the beats and words momentarily eliminate the worry and chaos. 

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Isolate Review | Posted May-20-2020
What You Need To Know

Deathbreaker released their debut album, Disconnect, with Facedown Records in 2017. That post-hardcore album fits in with Facedown Records' listeners and hardcore fans. Deathbreaker recently released their latest album, Isolate. A press release about Deathbreaker's latest project says, "their sophomore release brings dissonant, straight-forward aggression to the front of the pack, and proves the grit of this powerful four-piece as they continue to build their hardcore legacy. A new wave of hardcore bands in coming through and Deathbreaker should not be ignored."



What It Sounds Like

The hardcore scene of Facedown Records continues to grow strong. Isolate is an aggressive album filled with gritty, low screams and musical intensity that the hardcore scene is well-known for. It is a remarkable well-produced thanks to Jeremy Schaffeur of the hardcore metal band, Earth Groans, with plenty of easily discernable vocals, which is uncommon for the genre. For fans of their first album, Disconnect, there are a couple of changes in terms of style to note. They transitioned from a post-hardcore sound to a more traditional hardcore sound. There is no more spoken word and the musical aggression builds on itself more consistently throughout the album. 



Spiritual Highlights

There is a substantial amount of spiritual content found throughout the album. As a whole, the album addresses relationship struggles and attacks hypocrisy and betrayal. "Spite" calls out building oneself up rather than God's Kingdom, saying "Now your factions fail and your kingdom burns/Your legacy in ruin, you defame His name." The lyrics in "Blackout" are impactful: "And as your kingdom fails to claim victory/I will watch it burn with all the suffering/Until the end of days and the righteous reign." "Fear" offers encouragement to all who are struggling with fear: "Fear is a liar, and fear can not last/I will not settle for nothing/You are not nothing."





Best Song

"Fear" is my favorite song on the album; it's the song's musical intensity matched by its standout lyrics that won me over. Though there are some heavier musical tracks, such as "The Compass" and "Choke", the message in "Fear" makes me appreciate it more. It's a call to rise above the crippling grip of fear in our lives and to keep pressing onward. 



For Fans Of

Nothing Left, Earth Groans, Norma Jean



Bottom Line

In the chaos of our world, we need a hardcore album like Isolate to help ground us and meet us where we're at. Deathbreaker relentlessly tackles emotions and topics we all face with their raw and passionate music. When it is all said and done, Isolate calls out the worst in us yet strengthens us to push forward with hope. 

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