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Friday, September 18, 2009

CD Review: The Letter Black "Breaking the Silence"

Tooth & Nail Records signed The Letter Black (formally known as Breaking the Silence) just a few months ago. According to the band's myspace the meaning behind the name is that, "all of us go through different chapters in our lives. In these chapters we write letters of good and bad times. Some letters in our chapters we are happy to share. Others, we are not so proud of. The Letter Black reminds us of the past mistakes we have made and helps us remember to not keep making the same mistakes." Now this five piece band is hitting the ground running with their debut album due out September 22nd and embarking on the huge Awake and Alive Tour this fall with Skillet and Hawk Nelson.

This is a hard review for me since I can be fairly particular when it comes to female fronted bands. The lead singer is Sarah Anthony and her husband, Mark, joins in with some background vocals here and there. I like Sarah's voice on certain parts of some songs, like "Hanging on By a Thread" and "Best of Me" but other times it just doesn't do anything for me. The six songs on this album are filled with very meaningful lyrics which I greatly appreciate. Like in the song "Collapse," It didn't take long to forget what I once learned, I never believed that there was someone out there who loves me, Until I found the One who loves me as I am. I can't live without You. My heart will collapse into your hands. The Letter Black is definitely rocking it out the whole way through. "Best of Me" has a bit more of a pop feel to it, but the majority of the album is straight up rock and roll.

If you're a fan of the likes of Illia or Eowyn, I suggest you check out The Letter Black. To me they have very similar musical styles.

★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆

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CD Review: Hawk Nelson "Live Life Loud"

I find myself very confused and perplexed. When I think of Hawk Nelson I think of sweet pop music and the teenage girls going wild singing along. I mean how many other all boy bands can cover "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun?!?" But it works for them, and I can appreciate that. With that said, Live Life Loud isn't fitting into my perception of Hawk Nelson.

Granted, there are the Hawk Nelson must haves. The pep rally anthems are present ("Live Life Loud," "The Job") and the slow singalong Lord work in my heart songs ("Shaken," "Meaning of Life"). However, that's only four songs out of the twelve on the album. I love the short "Ode to Lord Stanley" in all of it's ukulele and vocal harmony bliss, plus the fun rendition of the classic "Tis So Sweet." But some of the other songs seem a little off to me. The talking part in "Never Enough" doesn't quite work for me and Jason's voice seems significantly raspier on this track and other songs on the album compared to his previous work.

Nevertheless, Hawk Nelson is consistent with their lyrics. Providing blatant, impossible to misunderstand lyrics that point to Christ and the continual pursuit of living a life that is pleasing and honoring to Him.

Overall, an album that has it's highs and lows and seems fairly transitional to me. Can't wait to see how these Ontario boys continue to progress.

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Interview with Deas Vail at Purple Door 2009

CD Review: Thousand Foot Krutch "Welcome To The Masquerade"

Thousand Foot Krutch was one of three bands chosen as the winner of Taco Bell's Feed The Beat contest earlier this year. In conjunction with winning the contest they released "Bring Me To Life," which would be the first single off of their forthcoming album, as a free download.

When I first listened to the song I melted. My heart leaped for joy at the thought of new TFK music reminiscent of my favorite album of theirs, Phenomenon. Needless to say, I've been anxiously awaiting September 8th, the day it would be possible to get my hands on their new album Welcome To The Masquerade.

So now I have it, and my thoughts? It's good. Really good. Not quite sure if I'd say it would beat Phenomenon, but time will tell as this disc gets played on repeat for the next couple weeks. Here's a breakdown of some highlights on the new album.

Many of the tracks represent classic TFK material to me. Songs like, "Welcome To The Masquerade," "Bring Me To Life," and "E for Extinction." Simply great rock songs, along the lines of previous hits like, "Falls Apart" and "Absolute."

It wouldn't be a TFK album without the sports anthems either. "Fire It Up" is already slated to be on the video game for NHL 10. "Smack Down" is another anthem that I'd say is my favorite song on the whole album. The clapping, screaming and foot stomping is infectious to say the least. It makes me wish I was still in high school so I could put it on the warm-up tape for the basketball team.

An element I so appreciate about TFK is their ability to slow the music down and sing some poignant lyrics that hit home - hard. Once such song is "Look Away," a song that Trevor says is based on emails and letters from fans over the years. The lyrics read, "I will not look away this time, take all these cuts and make them shine, I don't want to be perfect, just alright." The closing track, "Already Home," provides the same, "I'm on my knees cause you're everything I need and I've made a mess of myself on my own, and now I'm on my face and I calling out your name, and I won't run away cause I'm already home."

Overall, if you've been a Thousand Foot Krutch from the days of Set It Off, this album will not disappoint. By far, this is one of the best rock albums to hit stores this year.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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