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Above The Waves Review
Posted July 22, 2020
By RyanAdams_NRT, Staff Reviewer

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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