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Need by Todd Need by Todd
Artist: Todd Agnew CD Title: Need Style: Acoustic Worship Website: www.toddagnew.com Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars Playlist 1. Joy Unspeakable 2. Written on the Wall 3. I need no Other 4. Give...
Until The Whole World Hears by Casting Crowns Until The Whole World Hears by Casting Crowns
Artist: Casting Crowns CD Title: Until The Whole World Hears Style: CCM / Pop-Worship Website: castingcrowns.com Rating:...
Find yourself by About A Mile Find yourself by About A Mile
Artist: About a Mile CD Title: Find Yourself Style: Rock / Indie Website: www.myspace.com/aboutamileband Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars (Indie) purchase:...

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Jtindie.com Review of Need | Posted December-01-2009
Artist: Todd Agnew
CD Title: Need
Style: Acoustic Worship
Website: www.toddagnew.com
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars

1. Joy Unspeakable
2. Written on the Wall
3. I need no Other
4. Give Me Jesus
5. High Ground
6. Tell Me the Story
7. Did you mean Me?
8. Gloria
9. The Love of God
10. Breakable
11. Deep Love of Jesus
12. Jesus the Hope of Glory
13. Way of the Cross (Bonus Track)
14. All the World (Bonus Track)
15. All that I have (Bonus Track)
16. Joy Unspeakable (Live Acoustic – Bonus track)

There is no question that I have been waiting for this CD since back in July when I Interviewed Todd Agnew and heard a bit about the CD. The other day I finally downloaded the album from I-Tunes (Yes I purchased it with my own money) After taking some time to listen to the CD over the past few days I can happily state that Todd Agnew’s Music just keeps getting better with each project he puts out. “God doesn’t need me to do anything, the Sunday school answer is still the answer and Jesus is all I need.” Todd states on the Video that comes with the album Download in I-Tunes.

Something unexpected happened while I listened to the CD. After a few times through I found that the idea of the music and the songs began to fade and I was left face to face with with the message. If you have never listened to Todd Agnew let me just say that His songs are messages. With each song I had another message driven home. I am reminded of Rich Mullins, Keith Green and Michael Card in the way that this CD strips me bare of self righteousness and self deception, and shows me the truth that I need know only Christ and Christ Crucified.

I know I usually prefer music that is a bit rockier (Skillet, TFK, Flyleaf) and that this Cd has none of the rocking testosterone of the other bands I know that there are people who arent going to like this CD just because of the style. “Need” is a gathering of laid back songs that make no claim other than “Your Sunday School Teacher was right.” As I re-read the interview I did with Todd last July I can’t help but notice just honest and passionate He is, and with songs like “Tell Me a Story”

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him
Writhing in anguish and pain
Tell of the grave where they laid Him
And how He’s living again

Tell me the story of Jesus
Write on my heart every Word
Tell me the Story so Precious
Sweetest that I ever heard

“Did you mean Me?”

But you said that all sins can be forgiven,
But when you said that, did you mean me?
Did you mean me?

You said that we could be more like you,
But did you know what I’d do? How I’d fall so short?
And you said confession leads to healing,
Do you see I’m here and kneeling, and I’m still not well?

Just to reference a few songs and an entire CD of songs like these is it any wonder that I find myself thinking less about Todd Agnew and More about the Christ that Saves us. I feel safe in saying that everyone can find something on this Cd that challenges them. I don’t mean challenge in that make yourself better, but instead in the drawing you nearer to Jesus that Calls us his friend, the Jesus that calls us out to walk on the water and to cling to him. Im giving this CD a 4.0 out of 5.0 and I am going to end this with a quote from Todd’s Song “Breakable”

You are glorious, infinite, and wise,
You are mighty, holy, there is none beside you,
But to save me from my brokenness you became breakable.

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from JTindie.com. Click here to visit JTindie.com today!

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jtindie.com Review of Until the Whole World Hears | Posted November-18-2009
Artist: Casting Crowns
CD Title: Until The Whole World Hears
Style: CCM / Pop-Worship
Website: castingcrowns.com
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

1. Until the Whole World Hears
2. If We've Ever Needed You
3. Always Enough
4. Joyful, Joyful
5. At Your Feet
6. Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)
7. Holy One
8. To Know You
9. Mercy
10. Jesus, Hold Me Now
11. Blessed Redeemer
12. Shadow Of Your Wings

When Dr Matt over at the Transformed Podcast posted in our group that Casting Crowns was offering a listening room experience of their soon to be releases (November 17th) Album "Until the Whole World Hears" over at yahoo music's Early Edition. I had a feeling I was going to be sitting here writing this review. I have always had a soft spot for Casting Crowns, even if I have a less than soft spot for the rest of the Pop Worship genre, and I was excited to be able to hear the New CD. After the first couple of songs I began to worry. The CD begins in a typical Casting Crowns Song, The Title song "Until the Whole World Hears" sounds like it belongs on their previous album "The Altar and the Door". As I said I began to worry that this Cd was going to be nothing more than a continuation of the previous album. This isn't quite the negative that it could be. Casting Crowns has a very set and distinctive sound that I find carrying through all of their albums. When done properly it gives the Band a signature sound. When done Improperly it simply makes all the songs sound the same. "Until the Whole World Hears" walks the thin line of "signature sound" while only crossing into the "What album is this again?" territory a couple of times.

That being said, The CD did redeem itself with songs that were just not the Casting Crowns sound. "Holy One" with a nice rockier beat and "Shadow of Your Wings" has a sound i can only describe as Rockabilly/punk meets Blue Rodeo (hows that for obscure musical references) sounds that makes it my instant favorite on the CD. The rest of the CD is filled with songs that are destined to be part of worship services all across the world. There is no discounting the fact that these songs are very well written and performed by a group of people who not only have the talent God has given them but (more importantly) the Gift to bring these songs to life.

I am sure that "Until the whole world hears" will be part of my music collection -- Eventually -- it isn't a CD that I will be running out to buy. There are simply to many songs on the CD that sound just like every other Casting Crowns song. This isn't a completely negative thing. Casting Crowns, live other artists (Third Day, Michael W Smith, Delirious) are simply so well know that their sound (for Good and Bad) Defines their Genre. The CD gave me everything I expected from a Casting Crowns CD. Perfectly produced music filled with life and emotion. I guess I just wanted to be surprised more than I was with single song on the CD that didn't sound like it was run through the Casting Crowns Cookie Cutter. The CD is a very well made album but I am only giving it a 3.5 stars out of 5.0. While this CD is technically better than many of the CD's that have gotten a higher score before it, I felt like I was listening to "The Altar and the Door" the Extended Cut.

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from JTindie.com. Click here to visit JTindie.com today!

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Jtindie.com Review of Find Yourself | Posted November-11-2009
Artist: About a Mile
CD Title: Find Yourself
Style: Rock / Indie
Website: www.myspace.com/aboutamileband
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars (Indie)
purchase: (Itunes)

1. Again
2. Send Me an Angel
3. Innocence
4. Promise Me
5. Find Yourself
6. My Mistake
7. Not Ashamed
8. From Me
9. Don't Close Your Eyes
10. Prodigal
11. Not Alone
12. Tomorrow
13. Troy
14. Change

Not long ago I went to a CD release party for a band I have heard several times now. As I found out when I got there it was a CD release Party for two bands. About a Mile was the "Other Band" I had never heard them before that night and I had really showed up to support the other band. I was really surprised by About A Mile, from the time they took the stage I knew I was going to be writing this review. I am just sorry that it has taken me so long to do just that. About A Mile is made up of 3 brothers - Adam, Levi, and Luke. The name is taken from the Idea the Christ had to carry the Cross - About a Mile. I was lucky enough to get hold of a nice video camera and you can check out some of the video over at jtindie.com

From the very beginning of the CD I am taken by the talent of these three brothers. With all First CD offerings, I don't expect to be blown away. Talent is something that matures over time. While I wasn't blown away I was surprised at just how enjoyable this CD is overall. With a good acoustic styling "About A Mile" lets you enjoy the music without feeling over-run by it. That is not to say that "Find yourself" is all lightness and rainbows. With their title track, "Find Yourself" the bands shows just a bit of the chops I saw in their live performance.

One thing that can be a downfall of this style of music is that the style itself can be rather narrow and I did find that several of the songs on the CD were similar to each other. I also noticed that while the guitarist and vocalist (Adam) is an incredibly talented guitarist (one go through the Cd will convince you of this) I feel that the CD is relying on his talent. This is not to say that the other brothers in the group, Levi and Luke are not talented, They are very talented in their own right, The Cd itself is a very guitar driven CD and i would of like to have heard more from the others in the way of Drum and Bass. this is something I believe is partly due to the youth of the members.

One of the things that always pleases me is that the music is overtly and un-ashamedly Christian. Even to the point of having a song on the CD called "Unashamed". I took the time to transcribe a bit of the song so you can see for yourself.

Ill follow you where ever you may lead me
not afraid to be the servant I've become
now I stand alone before you in your grace
I want everyone to know I'm not ashamed

You're the air that I've been breathing
The only truth that I'm believing
And I can't live without you anymore!
I don't want to hide the fact that I need you
Wanna be held in your arms let the world see
That I believe in Jesus!

I'm not ashamed!

Overall I have to say that this CD is one of the Strongest freshmen Indie Cd's I have heard. I look forward to hearing what these three can accomplish as they mature and grow into the Gifts and talents that they clearly posses.

I am giving this Cd a 3.75 out of 5.0 on the Indie Scale. The Cd itself is well produced and the talent of the band are clear. While Find Yourself may not be on the "Most Played" section of my MP3 player the Cd is something I find myself rediscovering on the Player and enjoying anew each time.

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from JTindie.com. Click here to visit JTindie.com today!

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Jtindie.com Review of Delirious? - History Makers | Posted October-27-2009
Artist: Delirious?
CD Title: Delirious?’s History Makers: Greatest Hits CD (2 disc limited edition)
Style: Worship
Website: www.delirious.co.uk/html/
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Playlist Disc1
1. Did you Feel the Mountains
2. Raindown
3. History Maker
4. My Soul Sings
5. Happy Song
6. Shout to the North
7. Lord you Have My Heart
8. Obsession
9. Magesty
10. My Glorious
11. Find Me In The River
12. I Could Sing of Your Love Forever
13. We Give you Praise
14. What a Friend I’ve Found

Playlist Disc2
1. Deeper
2. Inside Outside
3. Bliss
4. Sanctify
5. It’s OK
6. Love Will Find A Way
7. Heaven
8. Stronger
9. Take Me Away
10. Every Little Thing
11. Investigate
12. All The Way
13. Promise
14. There Is An Angel
15. Paint The Town
16. Solid Rock
17. God Is Smiling

Imagine going to worship and the band leading the music was U2. It would be great, wouldn’t it? That is how blessed we have been over the last 16 years by the music of Delirious?, a band that grew out of the youth revival in the UK in the early 90’s to become, arguably, the world’s best worship band. History Makers, named after the song on the King of Fools CD, is the band’s final release and its parting gift to their fans. The CD includes 14 of their hits, sampled from 6 CD’s. All of the music will be familiar to fans of Delirious? and not worth the upgrade. However, for those who do not have any music by Delirious? in your playlist, this is an excellent sample of the music that powers our worship, with THE definitive cuts of such contemporary classics as Did You Feel the Mountain Tremble, Majesty, My Glorious, I Could Sing of Your Love Forever, and more. That makes this a must own CD for worship leaders and pastors.

For the true Delirious? fan, however, there will also be a limited edition release (12,000 copies) which includes a bonus CD with 17 more of your favorite cuts, a DVD with all 13 of the band’s music videos, and a 58 page booklet which covers the history of Delirious? The bonus CD includes a few surprises with which hardcore American fans may not be familiar (There Is an Angel and Take Me Away from Audio Lessonover, a CD that is not readily available in the US). The question, then, for the hardcore Delirious? fan: Is the $30 a worthwhile investment?

The first thing that impressed me when listening to the CD was the range of Delirious? While the band certainly gained popularity in the mid ’90’s due to their channeling of the aforementioned U2 (check out Bliss), it would be unfair to believe that they were a one note band. Delirious? developed their own sound, sampling from a broad spectrum of styles including Blue Grass (Happy Song), Celtic Rock (Shout to the North), pop (I Could Sing of Your Love Forever), Alternative Rock (God is Smiling) and more.

Second, the worship music of Delirious? is on par with the likes of Rich Mullins. So much of the worship music that is written today is “throw away” music, music which is used for a short time then discarded because the themes and music are dated and thin ( Does Lord, I Lift Your Name on High ring a bell, anyone?). Great worship music is difficult to write because it must be simple to sing, but must also stand up to repeated listening. Delirious? has given us many contemporary classics that we will still be singing in 20 to 30 years. They pack as much complexity into their words and musical themes as possible, all the while maintaining a sing-able melody for worship.

Lastly, the music videos give us a nice glimpse of the band, especially for those who never got the opportunity to see them perform live. (Their last concert is in London, November 29th. Lots of luck getting tickets, though… every concert is a sellout!) Especially poignant is the video Sanctify, filmed at a concert in a packed soccer stadium, showing the amazing popularity of the band in the UK that would rival the likes of The Rolling Stones… and, yes, I am serious about that assertion. Delirious?, however, has a touch that would make Mick Jagger jealous. Martin, the lead singer of Delirious?, comes to a dramatic, worshipful pause at the end of Sanctify, and for a beat of 5 seconds, 100,000 fans fall silent.

In conclusion, the quality and content of this limited edition CD/DVD is a must have for fans of Delirious? While you may own most of the music, complete your collection with History Makers and remember the band that transformed our worship.

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from JTindie.com. Click here to visit JTindie.com today!

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JTindie.com Review of To Know You Love Me | Posted October-25-2009
Artist: Justin Unger
CD Title: To Know You Love Me – Songs from the Stillness.
Style: Worship
Website: http://www.justinunger.com
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

1. To Know You Love Me
2. Who is He
3. This is how We Know
4. Make me this way
5. Praise to the Lord the Almighty
6. No One Knows
7. Sing to the King
8. Will You Wait
9. A Common Destiny
10. Closer to You
11. All Creatures of our God and King
12. To know you love me (reprise)

If I am going to be honest with all of you, when I got the CD “To Know You Love Me – From the Heart of Justin Unger” in the mail last week I was less than excited. “Another Worship album with the same hooks and same sounds.” Was my first thought. I even carried the CD around for a few days before I even got around to opening it. I was just so sure of what I was going to hear. I come before you all chastened and asking for your forgiveness. The CD is filled with Good worship songs, but that isn’t what grabbed my attention. That you can hear Justin’s Devotion to God is also clear on the CD but again that isn’t what grabbed me. The fact that CD is more a meditation on the Greatness of God and makes me want to worship is what grabbed me.

As I listen through the songs on the CD I am taken by several things. Justin is a talented Musician and singer. I am really taken by the way each of the songs are put together. The Duets with Falon are enough to raise the hairs on the back of my neck. Falon has a voice that is well matched to both the music and Justin’s voice, this should come as no surprise since Falon is Justin’s wife. Technically speaking the CD is well mixed. Each of the musical instruments seem to stand on their own without either dominating the soundscape or mixing with it and becoming muddy sounding. The Flute on Sing to the King really took me back to the origins of my almost fetish for the haunting sound.

While not all the songs were to my liking, I did find that the song order was a logical progression in the style of a worship service and while several of the songs did have a similar sound I did not find that to be that much of negative since I felt that, for the most part, the songs were supposed to run one into the next. I almost feel guilty speaking negative of a Worship Song, after all even poorly done worship is still worship and is just as Holy. Happily none of the songs on “To know You Love Me” are poorly done. I did think that a couple of the songs were predictable and bordering on formulaic. The few songs like that are so outnumbered by truly inspired songs that I mentioned them more to show off the songs I enjoyed than to tear down the few I did not.

Overall I found this a Cd I could put on, sit back, relax and just enjoy. Listening to the CD the first few times I found my mind wandering, and not the wandering that comes from not listening but something in the song would spark a thought and I would find myself strolling down that thought path while the song played on. This is not a negative thing, and the more I listen to the CD the more I liked it. the CD seemed to grow on me, to the point where I can say that I really enjoyed the CD as a whole.

I’m giving this CD a solid 3.5 out of 5 Stars. The CD is solid and enjoyable and while I enjoyed the Worshipfulness of the CD I really felt it was missing that hard to define something that would of pulled the CD up from Good and Solid to Great and Favorite. Granted it would be very difficult for a CD that is worship based to become a favorite of mine, I’m just not wired that way. Still “To Know You Love Me – From the Heart of Justin Unger” is a good CD and full of pleasing songs that I would have no trouble listening to at anytime. If you are a fan of the more mellow worship music then I would Highly Recommend this CD

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from JTindie.com. Click here to visit JTindie.com today!

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JTindie.com Review of We Will Not Be Shaken | Posted October-25-2009
Artist: Matt Redman
CD Title: We will Not Be Shaken
Style: Worship
Website: http://www.mattredman.com/
Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars

01. This Is How We Know
02. We Shall Not Be Shaken
03. Through It All
04. You Alone Can Rescue
05. The Glory Of Our King
06. How Great Is Your Faithfulness
07. Remembrance
08. The More We See
09. For Your Glory
10. Gloria
11. All That Really Matters
12. My Hope

All Right I will start out this Review with a confession. I love the concept of worship music. I love the music that helps me to come into the presence of God. I do, however, have a problem with Worship music as well. It has always felt to me that worship music of today sounds very similar to the music of, oh say, 10 years ago. I don’t understand this but I still love Worship music anyway. That being said I will say that I liked most of the songs on “We Will Not be Shaken”. I even found a couple of them to be the kind of worship songs one would expect from the likes of Matt Redman. So I’m gonna start this review with a bit of weasel words. I have decided to rate this CD as a Worship CD and not my usual general consumpsion CD.

Over all I enjoy the music Matt is putting out on “We will not be shaken”. The music while simple is very catchy and I found that after hearing some of the songs only once I could sing along with the chorus. This is just what I would expect from a Good Worship CD. I will say that several of the songs on this CD are really good songs, not just as worship songs but songs in general. Despite that there is never a moment when you are listening to this CD that you don’t know that you are listening to Worship CD. Now let me make this clear, this is NOT a Negative Thing, (unless for some strange reason you pull out a Matt Redman CD thinking you are going to hear top 40 or some kind of bubble gum Pop. In the words of a rather famous clown “Homey don’t play that!”

What Matt Redman does so well, and the thing that moves me to give this CD a 4.0 out of 5.0 as a worship album is to take the yearnings of my heart and give them voice. On this CD there is a song called Remembrance (Communion Song) the words “By your grace you are making us faithful” just drives home the idea that we are truly helpless without Christ. This is something I have clung to for so long. I have always had a hard time taking communion with breaking down, I feel the same way about this song.

As a worship CD this Album really covers the whole gambit and provides music for an entire Worship Service. From the upbeat beginning, to the deepening of Worship, to the time of Prayer and communion. The songs are simple and catchy without being to kitchy in my opinion. So if your looking for new music for your worship service or just looking for a good CD for your home meditation time, I think “We will not be shaken” is a solid bet for both.

I will say that not all the songs struck my fancy. and one or two them did cross the line into kitsch, and as I said at the beginning the CD is hampered by the strange fact that all worship music seems to be eternally a decade out of style. The songs on the cd have a serious late 90’s sound that much as I would like to say is just part of the charm.. I really can’t. I understand that worship music by its nature has to be familar, People have to know, or be able to pick up the beat and words quickly. I understand it, but I don’t have to like it.

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from JTindie.com. Click here to visit JTindie.com today!

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JTindie.com Review of Live Life Loud | Posted October-25-2009
Artist: Hawk Nelson
CD Title: Live Life Loud
Style: pop/rock
Website: http://www.hawknelson.com
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/hawknelson
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars

1. Live Life Loud
2. Never Enough
3. Eggshells
4. Meaning of Life
5. Alive
6. Ode to Lord Stanley
7. Long Ago
8. The Job
9. Shaken
10. Lest We Forget
11. Tis So Sweet
12. The Final Toast

Well it isn’t often that I go into a review not knowing much about a band but hawk nelson is just one of those bands i never really got into before now. I can see now that this was my loss. “Live Life Loud” is a good mixture of soundscapes and styles that keeps the listener from ever getting close to bored. With a title of “Live Life Loud” I was smart enough not to expect the rock ballad to be a running theme in the album, and from the first song “Live Life Loud” the mood is set with a new shiny pop/punk sound that had my toes tapping from the first few measures.

The Style of this CD is rather difficult to define. Just when I am ready to use the term Pop-Punk I hear a song like “Never Enough” that pretty much reminds me of classic rock. This CD runs the genre of music, showing the versatility and talent of the band. I half expected that the strengths in one area to reveal a weakness in another. While I wont claim to be a big fan of their ballad skills, I found “Eggshells” to be the weakest song on the CD. After listening to the Album as a whole I would say that Pop-Punk/Rock probably describes the CD as whole.

While I was impressed with the use of strings and even bag pipes on the CD I felt that this CD never really coalesced as a complete project. While the Individual songs were all solid and many of them were really good, so many stylistic difference on a single project just didn’t really work for me. I know I usually complain that all the songs on a CD sound the same, and one would think that the more change you have on an album the more I would like it, that is simply not the way it is. Please understand, the Cd is a good Cd and a lot of fun to listen to. Everything from the more traditional songs, to the pop-punk rifts and semi power ballads. I do think that the second half of the CD is a more complete package than the First Half. Culminating in the song “Tis So Sweet” Complete with a bagpipe opening. I am always pleased when Bands remember the tradition of the past, with out being ruled by it.

One of the items I was happy to find was the songs are very clearly Christian, and not the fuzzy “Love God and everything will be OK” but the kind of Christianity that demands a change in your life. “We don’t have to embrace the lies that we’ve been told” and “The only thing were missing is a whole new state of mind!” both of these lyrics are from the Song “Alive”. Some of the songs are just fun. “Ode to Lord Stanley” is just one of these songs. Overall “Live Life Loud” is a roller coaster ride, complete with flashing lights stuffed animal and cotton candy at the end.

I’m giving this Cd a 4.25 out of 5.0 stars, in the end the whole thing jumped around just a little to much for my liking, still every song on the CD is well done and the CD as whole is well produced. I can say that it will be quite a while before it works it’s way off my mp3 player, even if I do skip over a song or two every now and then.

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from JTindie.com. Click here to visit JTindie.com today!

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JTindie.com Review of Memento Mori | Posted October-25-2009
Artist: Flyleaf
CD Title: Memento Mori
Style: Post grunge
Website: www.flyleafmusic.com
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: November 10th 2009

1. Beautiful Bride – 3:03
2. Again – 3:05
3. Chasm – 2:54
4. Missing – 2:55
5. This Close – 3:21
6. The Kind – 2:47
7. In the Dark – 3:47
8. Set Apart This Dream – 3:15
9. Swept Away – 4:09
10. Tiny Heart – 3:07
11. Melting – 0:57
12. Treasure – 3:24
13. Circle – 3:03
14. Arise – 4:18
15. Uncle Bobby – (Hidden Track not on Preview)

The other day I opened my E-mail to find a short, cryptic email from someone whose name I remembered but just couldn’t place. The email held nothing more than a web address, user name and password (and no I’m not going to share). Following the address I was rather pleased to see that it led me to a preview of Flyleaf’s new album which comes out November 10th , titled “Memento Mori” Which is a Latin Phrase meaning “Be mindful of death” or “Remember you will die”. The Sophomore album while clearly flyleaf shows a great deal of maturity. Each song is layered with enough separate dimensions to make a quantum physicist giggle with glee.

Straight out of the gate this album rocks with “Beautiful Bride“, a perfect opener. The song sets a fevered tempo for the rest of the album. As I started to listened to the album I had two fears. The first was that somewhere on the album I would find a poor remake of “all around me” from the previous self-titled album. Secondly I was afraid I would find of Cd full of music trying very hard to not sound like a poor remake of the previous self-titled album. At no point while listening to the Preview did I feel like I was listening to anything other than Flyleaf. Also while I listened i did hear reminders of the previous albums, the reminders serve to show just how the band’s sound has changed since their first album.

From the subtle strings in the background of “In the Dark” to later in the same song when the verse screams “Jesus kill me inside this, raise me up to live again like you did, like you did!” The songs on this album are clearly taking no prisoners as it also clear that the band has a serious statement to make. With songs like “Chasm” that I believe was written about the parable of “Lazarus and the Rich Man” (Luke 16:19-31) with a Chorus that rings out “Please give me something I’m so thirsty, I’m so thirsty Oh please, let me warn them, Don’t you come here, don’t bring anyone here.” Song after song I find the CD full of these references.

I find that “Memento Mori” to be far more of “Christ influenced” Album than their first album. While all the members of the band are professed Christians, they don’t refer to their music as “Christian Music” instead they simply allow their life experience to reflect in the music they make. That being said I was taken by surprise by the obvious references to Christ, faith, and belief. I am hoping that with the obvious success of their first album they were given a freer hand in what songs went onto the CD. While I have decided that Beautiful Bride is one of the best songs on the preview “Treasure” is easily the most powerful song on the CD. The Cd is So different from the previous one that I have to wonder just what happened between the creation of the first album and the second to cause such a change in the feeling of the individual CDs. I for one am ecstatic over the fact that while this CD is so much more than just music, it never forgets that it is first and foremost a Flyleaf album. While it is true that the Message and not the Method is what is important it as also true that The Method should not be overlooked either. This CD Rocks hard, Takes no prisoners and like life, leaves no survivors.

there are several songs on the Preview I am really looking forward to seeing live, as I believe they would make great concert songs. “Beautiful Bride” For its total rock-ablility along with “Set apart this Dream” for its sing-ability. I can already hear a couple thousand fans singing “Set Apart this dream for me..” There are just some songs that are perfect for audience participation segment of every concert. Other songs are destined to become one of the live show “must plays” The song that everyone is waiting to hear. “Swept Away” is destined to be one of those songs. From a distinct opening and verses that can be described as “Spoken Word” this song defines a style all it’s own.

I have to admit that there is very little about this CD to complain about, One of the things I noticed on the First CD that is repeated on this cd is that for the most part the Cd is split into two sections with a rockier front end and a mellower ending. I would of preferred the songs intermixed where the change of rock to mellow and mellow to rock can serve to make each song stand out even more. Still I understand that this is simply a personal preference and in the age of MP3 players and thousand song shuffles I have to wonder if song order even matters at all anymore?

You are probably expecting me to talk about the technical aspects of the CD, however since this an A&M/Octone production I expect the Technical aspects of the CD to be flawless. Lets face facts, a CD like this is on a whole different level from Indie Productions and cant really be compared to or analyzed like an Indie Production. All the Music is crisp and clean, and the vocals are clear in a way that leaves me envious. Even the 57 second Instrumental “Melting” makes for an interesting interlude between “Tiny Heart” and “Treasure“. Overall “Memento Mori” is easily one of the better CDs I have listened to for quite a while and is a strong step up for Flyleaf from their self-titled freshman album. I am giving this CD a solid 4.5 stars out of a possible 5 stars, and I am already looking forward to November 10th when the album drops and November 11th when Flyleaf plays a live concert in Pittsburgh. You know I’ll be there.. “Memento Mori” is in my opinion a must own album, your collection simply isn’t complete without it.

this review is put out under a creative commons, attribution, non commercial, no derivatives, 3.0 united states license.

1. Beautiful Bride – 3:03
My Favorite song on the CD. A truly hard rocking song, classic Flyleaf sound, this song will be a great live performance and as the First single released (available on Itunes) I would be very surprised if there wasn’t a music video in the making for this song even now as I write this. The songs sets the Tempo and structure of rest of the CD as Lacey sings
“Beautiful bride body of grace.
One flesh abiding strong and unifying.
Fighting ends in forgiveness.
unite and fight all division.
beautiful bride.
Beautiful Bride body of Christ
one flesh abiding strong and unifying”

2. Again – 3:05
The melodic beginning of this song belies it’s rocking core. Lacey’s voice is clearly the instrument that pushes this song. This song of all of them reminds me the most of the previous album.

3. Chasm – 2:54
Chasm begins with a thumping beat that becomes just a bit repetitive. This song is perhaps my least favorite on the Album. The song itself has a start stop feel that I find disconcerting.

4. Missing – 2:55
This song makes shows me the depth of the musical talent. I find that the music is the strength of this song. the depth and dimension of the instruments make for a song that I can listen to over and over again and find something new each time.

5. This Close – 3:21
after four songs a Power/Rock ballad was inevitable, I have to say if I am going to listen to a Power Ballad I want it to be by someone like Lacey. Here you find all of your typical angsty Ballad-dy goodness.

6. The Kind – 2:47
A hard song about sin and forgiveness. The song throbs and repeats, throwing in our faces how we sin and justify our own actions until we can’t lie to ourselves anymore and finally go to God in desperate need of healing.

7. In the Dark – 3:47
darkly melodic, this song opens with the words
“I’ve written songs in the dark
I’ve felt inspired in the dark
I hide myself in the dark
used to be afraid of the dark”
All through the song you will hear the haunting undertones of what might be a harp.This is one of those songs that clings to you. The words get a hold of you and demand your attention. The songs builds in intensity until the Climaxing silence, drawing even more attention to the chorus of:
“I’m scared to death of light and silence, Jesus kill me inside this, raise me up to live again like you did, like you did!”

8. Set Apart This Dream – 3:15
the dichotomy between this song and “In the Dark” just places both of them into such contrast. Like a sunrise after the long night, Set apart is a song full of hope. Easily the most singable song on the CD, sure to be a concert favorite for audience participation.

9. Swept Away – 4:09
A Song about fake faith and hypocrisy. The opening words say it all:
“The evil fell from your pretty mouth wrapped in your classic voice
angelic in your syntax, demonic in your motive your eyes don’t know
that the water flowing from this well isn’t fresh
demolish all that sets you up against your rising up
confessing all that’s broken and watch the healing come”

Taking on the current form of Traditional Church, while a pet peeve of mine I will admit that all to often the current form of the Traditional church has all to often made a target of itself.

10. Tiny Heart – 3:07
Very light and melodic opening, Lacey’s voice in the opening reminds me of Leigh Nash from Six Pence, Again I am taken by the feeling and emotion caught up in this Cd. The song could easily be written from the point of Jesus to all the people in this world He loves and is just waiting for them to realize just how much He loves them. Likewise the song could also be written from the point of one person to another. The metaphor of Jesus as boyfriend/girlfriend is pretty common in music.

11. Melting – 0:57
Instrumental that makes for a good transition from Melting to Treasure.

12. Treasure – 3:24
Easily the most powerful Song on the CD. Lacey begins the song by talking instead of singing. This sets this song apart from the rest at the very beginning when Lacey says “That night I felt like I’d become something treasured. different.” There is no metaphor in this song, but simply the statement that Jesus (named in the song as “Yes Shua“) and the meaning of the song is also clear
“I am treasured over all the earth
just look at what he’s done
how he’s laying down his life”

13. Circle – 3:03
Throbbing drums and melodic the music behind this song serve more to set the stage than on any other song on the cd. The song rips through emotions as the words take hold
“I left his arms empty and tied
outstretched for me until he died
no man shows greater love
than when a man lays down his life
for his beloved”
Again, taken straight from the Bible.

14. Arise – 4:18
This song almost sounds like an 80’s alt-pop song in the beginning. There isn’t a weak song in the bunch, Arise may be the least of the songs. While the rest of the songs on the CD seem to go out of their way to make their presence known, Arise is more of the wallflower in the corner waiting patiently for you discover just how intelligent and beautiful she actually is.

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from JTindie.com. Click here to visit JTindie.com today!

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JTindie.com Review of Let June Decide | Posted October-25-2009
Artist: Reilly
CD Title: Let June Decide
Style: Indie / Violin Rock
Website: http://www.reillytheband.com
Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0 stars

John Reilly – Vocals/Guitar
Noele Huie – Violin/Vocals
Dan Huie – Violin/Electric Guitar
Matthew Bomberger – Bass/Vocals
Jordan Lenhoff – Drums

1. Limited Time
2. Dying for life
3. This side of your life
4. Beautiful You
5. Cry for you
6. June
7. Sunlight
8. Come to me
9. Turned blue
10. Run
11. Speak
12. Redeemed

I got to see this band play live on the Gallery stage at this year’s Purple Door Music Festival. My Friend Mike said that I was gonna like what I heard, yeah he was right. This quintet (that is five people) fronted by John Reilly has brought out what they call “Violin Rock”. After the concert I hung around until I was sure they would be at their merch table and headed over to talk to them, Picking up both of their CD’s and getting this one signed. While standing in line I got to talk to the members for a short time and I discovered a group of people whose love for the Lord was so obvious and who seemed like such “Good People” that I could have just hung with them for the rest of the day. Enough background, on to the Review of Reilly “Let June Decide”

The Cd starts out solid with “Limited Time” that has that indie guitar sound that I am beginning to get used to. John Reilly’s voice really suits this style of music, while his style of singing is difficult to describe, with pauses where I thought there should be sound and sound where I expected silence, I do find it worth listening to. However you describe it, I can say that it works. From here the CD rolls on through the next 11 songs, making for a great musical trip. With the two (yes TWO) violins playing rock rhythms it is impossible to define their sound as anything but well. Reilly. I will say this about the “Violin Rock” I never felt like the violins were being thrown in as some kind of gimmick. The violins are used to good effect without being over-used. (Just a side note, watching Noele and Dan with dueling Violins at Purple Door is just something to be seen not described. All the members of Reilly are talented Musicians both on the CD and in the Live show (that I strongly suggest you see if you get half a chance)

As much as I like the CD it does have a few negatives, I thought that a couple of the songs weren’t up to the level of the other songs, almost like they were recording one CD then half way through they stopped and started a completely different set of songs. While songs like “Limited Time“, “Sunshine“, “Redeemed“, and “Beautiful You” seem to jump out at me and demand my attention, a couple of the remaining songs seem almost like place holders. Now I am not saying that these other songs aren’t good, what I am saying is that the songs I listed really jump off the CD at me. These songs will, no doubt, be the songs from this CD that I play on my Podcast.

The CD as a whole is very enjoyable and once again I find the open and vocal faith of the band to be a good and refreshing thing. The first line of the First song on the CD makes things pretty clear

“Father, we’ve proved we know not what we do, were spinning round and round wondering what is up and what is down. Ashamed, confused, by twisted things we do, You came to change the ways of this twisted man”

I for one am honest enough to know that these lyrics describe me all to well.

I am giving this CD a solid 4.0 out of 5.0 stars although I will confess that I have to wonder if seeing them perform live has made me enjoy this CD more than I might have if I had never seen them. This group of people has the stage presence to be on the main stage at Purple Door, or anywhere else. I am sure it is only a matter of time before this is a reality.

You can go to their website at Reillytheband.com and order their CD’s as well as getting them from from iTunes

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from JTindie.com. Click here to visit JTindie.com today!

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JTindie.com Review of TFK | Posted October-25-2009
01. The Invitation – 1:01
02. Welcome to the Masquerade – 3:43
03. Fire it Up – 3:09
04. Bring Me to Life – 3:38
05. E is for Extinction – 3:53
06. Watching Over Me – 4:20
07. The Part that hurts the Most (is me) – 4:01
08. Scream – 3:28
09. Look Away – 4:03
10. Forward Motion – 3:56
11. Outta Control – 3:29
12. Smack Down – 3:23
13. Already Home – 4:30

Well the Newest edition to the Thousand Foot Krutch Collection drops on September 8th and I was lucky enough to gain access to a preview copy of Welcome to the Masquerade (Ok I snuck into the top secret Tooth and Nail Compound, located under AREA 51, and after some serious ninja like moves I managed to abscond with a preview copy).

The CD opens Strong with a short strong Instrumental “The Invitation” that slides directly in the rocking title song “Welcome to the Masquerade” This is the TFK that I am familiar with, and I felt comfortable with the music. For a band that classifies itself as Rapcore/Alternative (I always thought of them as Rock band) The music seemed a bit rocky but I didn’t care I was in my element. Give me screaming guitars and lyrics with a Hook and I am one happy camper.

“Fire it up” has everything I am looking for in a good rock song, from the melodic beginning to getaway driver on Speed like way the song plows through. If there is a formula for writing the perfect live concert, drive the Audience Insane song then TFK perfected it with Fire it up.

“Bring me to life” is the kind of song I think about when I think about TFK, Opening with the Rock-Rap sound that is just so.. well.. TFK This song could easily find a home on any TFK album. While I thought it strange that the song seems like it slides back and forth from Rock-Rap during the verses and almost a Rock Ballad during the chorus, not a bad thing but the first few times I found it just a little disconcerting.

After three and a half hard rocking songs I was ready for something a little more sedate. Alas it was just not to be. “E is for Extinction” While starting out all mellow, Rock ballad like, doesn’t stay that way for long it seems the evil genius that is TFK was just lulling me into a false sense of security.

“Watching over Me” Does bring the ballad that I knew was coming. With the chorus that reads. “I know your out there, and I know you care, cause I feel you, like and angel, watching over me” This song brings me the cheesy ballad-y goodness I had been waiting for. Every rock album needs a good ballad, I’m pretty sure it is a federal law.

With a title of “The Part that hurts the Most (is me)” you would hardly expect the next song to be sunshine and puppies, and you would be right. This song could be directed at a relationship that is going south OR the idea that while we try, we can never live up to the standard God sets for us and in the end out actions bring pain to God. I just got to wonder what it is with this God/Girlfriend theme in Christian Rock.

“Scream” starts out with a throbbing guitar and a beat that reminds me of some of their older music. This song while well done and showing the evolution of the band, I have to say that by this time on the CD many of the songs are beginning to sound similar.

“Look Away” is a melodic ballad that I think really shows the versatility of the band and reminds me of when I found out that “Favorite Disease” was a TFK song. At the time I had only thought of TFK as the Rock-Rap band. I have a feeling that this song is going to do the same and make some people re-think their view of TFK.

“Forward Motion” is I think my least favorite song on the CD. Each time I hear it I just feel that it is the little brother of a song that your mom makes you watch while you are hanging out with your friends. While not a bad song, it just feels like it doesnt fit in with the rest of the songs on the album. This will be one song I skip past on my MP3 player.

The CD Picks up quick afterward with “Outta Control“. While nothing special the song is TIGHT. This is the kind of song that Producers and Audiophiles go crazy for. Layer upon layer of perfectly mixed sound. A song like this is more subtle than just the rock beat or lyrics, it is all the little things, finger scrapes on strings, flawless drumming, and impressive layers of vocals all brought together. This song is an advanced class on how to put a song together.

“Smackdown” should really be called “Rawkfist lite” I dare anyone to listen to both songs and not see the similarities. Yes I agree there should be similarities, after all they are both done by the same band. While I see this as an evolution of the bands style, I don’t see it as a positive in this case. Rawkfist is a better song, while Rawkfist is a rocking ride from start to finish “Smackdown” has this Rock Rock Pause beat that is kind of like being caught in traffic and rushing to the next red light. In short, “Smackdown” is a poor reflection of “Rawkfist”.

“Already Home” is perhaps the perfect song to end this CD with. This is a song I would imagine will be a great concert song, lighters in the air and people singing along. This song is also perhaps the most blatantly christian song on the album. “I am on my knees, I’m calling out your name, and I won’t run away cause I’m already home.”

Like every album, this one has its great moments and its let downs. Over all however I find the CD to be a real pleasure to listen to and even the rough patches are simple not as good, instead of being not good (there is a huge difference). The few weak songs aside I believe that “Welcome to the Masquerade” may be one of the better TFK albums to date and is one of the better albums to be released this year. This is an album that will be on my MP3 player and in regular rotation as far as my listening habits go.

Im giving Welcome to the Masquerade 4.25 stars out of 5.0 possible. All of the songs on this CD were well produced and mixed, there were just a couple of the songs that brought the album as whole down from the 4.5 I had originally planned on.

This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from JTindie.com. Click here to visit JTindie.com today!

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