A Line In The Sand Review Posted June 28, 2020 By RyanAdams_NRT, Staff Reviewer
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!"
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.