Artist Of The Week - Anchor & Braille

It's been about three years since we've gotten an album from Anchor & Braille, the indie side project of Anberlin's Stephen Christian, but this week, on July 31st, the band's sophomore album will be released. The Quiet Life is a collection of haunting melodies and catchy percussion, certainly a maturation of sound since 2009's Felt. The Quiet Life is available now in stores and online through Tooth & Nail Records.


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Brooks Ginnan (Owner, Editor, Writer)

Top 10 Albums of 2010:
  1. Showbread - Who Can Know It?
  2. House of Heroes - Suburba
  3. The Classic Crime - Vagabonds
  4. My Epic - Yet
  5. Ivoryline - Vessels
  6. John Mark McMillan - The Medicine
  7. Abel - Lesser Men
  8. Children 18:3 - Rain's 'A Comin'
  9. Write This Down - Write This Down
  10. Bradley Hathaway - A Thousand Angry Panthers
Top 10 Metal/Hardcore Albums of 2010:
  1. Demon Hunter - The World Is A Thorn
  2. Haste The Day - Attack of the Wolf King
  3. Underoath - O (Disambiguation)
  4. In The Midst of Lions - The Heart of Man
  5. A Plea For Purging - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
  6. Mychildren Mybride - Lost Boy
  7. Close Your Eyes - We Will Overcome
  8. Living Sacrifice - The Infinite Order
  9. For Today - Breaker
  10. Hundredth - When Will We Surrender
Honorable Mentions:
    The Chariot - Long Live
    Your Memorial - Atonement
    To Speak of Wolves - Myself < Letting Go
    Fair - Disappearing World
    Anberlin - Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place

    Matthew Alexander (Writer, Interviewer)

    Top 10 Albums of 2010:
    1. Living Sacrifice - The Infinite Order
    2. As They Sleep - Dynasty
    3. As I Lay Dying - The Powerless Rise
    4. A Hope For Home - Realis
    5. Haste The Day - Attack of the Wolf King
    6. Demon Hunter - The World Is A Thorn
    7. A Plea For Purging - The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
    8. Hundredth - When Will We Surrender
    9. Fair - Disappearing World
    10. The Showdown - Blood In The Gears
    Gary Peterson (Writer, Interviewer)

    Top 10 Albums of 2010:
    1. Hundredth - When Will We Surrender
    2. Your Memorial - Atonement
    3. In The Midst of Lions - The Heart of Man
    4. Wrench In The Works - Increase/Decrease
    5. For Today - Breaker
    6. Onward To Olympas - This World Is Not My Home
    7. As Hell Retreats - Revival
    8. Letter To The Exiles - The Shadow Line
    9. I, The Breather - These Are My Sins
    10. Silence O' Israel - The Lord Speaks
    Purple Door Festival 2010 Review

    Purple Door Festival 2010
    Ski Roundtop, Lewisberry, Pennsylvania, August 13-14

    Purple Door Festival 2010. Where do I even begin? Well, to start it off, the five hour drive was certainly worth it, despite missing the first two hours of shows on Friday night, the bands that I did see certainly made up for the other missed acts.


    As I pulled into the parking lot at Ski Roundtop, I could make out the sounds of The Classic Crime finishing off their set on the Main Stage with "Salt In The Snow," which sounded great. Walking down to the festival entrance, I could also hear A Plea for Purging ending their slot with "Malevolence," but there was still much more to be seen. By the time I got in, Renee Yohe was already starting her acoustic set. For those of you that don't know, Yohe is the inspiration behind To Write Love On Her Arms, an organization that helps with suicide and other similar things.

    I then headed up to the HM Magazine stage to catch War of Ages, who were nearing the start of their set, to a huge crowd. War of Ages were headlining this year's first annual Facedown Friday, sponsored by Facedown Records. The lineup for the whole night was Onward To Olympas, In The Midst Of Lions, A Plea For Purging and War of Ages.

    War of Ages had an explosive set from what I got to see, but the highlights was them playing "Eternal," off their new record that released in April of the same name. The most noticeable part of the song was that vocalist Leroy Hamp screamed the part of Sonny Sandoval (of P.O.D.), which was interesting to hear. I then left to go catch a bit of Bradley Hathaway.

    As I arrived at the festival's calmest stage, The Gallery Stage, I saw the a small band was accompanying indie singer-songwriter Bradley Hathaway. I listened to "Carolina" from his most recent EP, A Thousand Angry Panthers, before leaving to check out one of the merch buildings, where I met Andy from A Plea For Purging. As I walked outside, I realized that August Burns Red had already started their set and I headed down to the Main Stage.

    From what I got to see, Lancaster-based metalcore act August Burns Red but on a great show, playing a good mix of songs from Constellations and Messengers. They played "Mariana's Trench," which was amazing live, followed up by "Thirty and Seven," and a song that I forgot the name of. They closed with "Composure" and left before the headliners of the night, Thousand Foot Krutch, came on.

    Since I saw them back in 2007 opening for TobyMac, I'd have to say that Thousand Foot Krutch's live set has gotten much better. They opened with "Bring Me To Life," followed by "Move" and "Absolute." They went on to play "The Flame In All of Us," then "E for Extinction" off of their '09' release Welcome to the Masquerade, as well as "Scream." They moved into a few tracks after that, including "Falls Apart" and "Rawkfist." The stage then turned dark, but to the crowd's pleasure, they encored with "Fire It Up" and finally "Puppet" to end the first night of Purple Door.


    After a good night of sleep, which I didn't get much of, I was on my way to the second day of the festival, which started at 10 in the morning and went all day.

    The opening act of the day on the Main Stage was Williamsport's My Heart To Fear, an up and coming post-hardcore outfit, who mixed some quality rock with a few growls here and there. The band played a mix of songs from their EP that released earlier this year, A Ship Built To Sink. Their set was short, and met with a small crowd, due to being so early, but showed promise. Once they concluded their set, I walked over to check out the indie rock set on the Gallery Stage from Oceans In Love, who had a nice set that was met with a good crowd response.

    A little while later, Esterlyn took their place on the Gallery Stage to lead worship, starting with "Freedom Is Here" and "The Lord Is Good," both from their album that released only a few weeks earlier, Call Out. They moved into a cover of worship hit "From The Inside Out," which was the last song I saw before heading back to the Main Stage to catch the rest of Talain Rayne's set. A singer-songwriter with piano-driven songs and a full band to back him up, he performed "Dear Brother, Your Sister," "16" and "Lemonbright*," all from his debut self-titled album that was recently released.

    I then took a walk to the HM Magazine stage to watch the end of CI Records' An Early Ending, which didn't sound to shabby, before walking to the smallest stage of the festival, only set up on the second day, The Forum, to watch Project 86 front man and author Andrew Schwab speak. He had some good things to say and focused on a point of "taking inventory" of our lives, which was a good message to hear.

    Once he was done talking, I headed back to the Gallery Stage to catch some of Gotee's B.Reith and his soulful hip-hop. From what I saw, he performed "Mess," a freestyle rap about Purple Door and then "Go On." I decided to get some lunch, and headed back to The Forum to eat and watch Derek Webb. I watched his soundcheck and part of his first song, before heading to watch Texas In July on the HM Stage.

    Texas In July had a blasting set, which contained "Hook, Line and Sinner" and their new single "Uncivilized," the latter of which sounded great live. On the Main Stage, indie rockers Abandon Kansas were playing a very energetic set. As I headed over, I heard them playing "I Wonder If It's Me," which was followed by "Months and Years," and then a brand new song titled "The Golden State" off their upcoming album. They moved into "Close Your Eyes" as I left to go back to the HM Stage yet again for Mychildren Mybride. By the time I made it to their set, they were halfway through "Terra Firma," and played through "On Wings of Integrity" and "Crimson Grim," and then "Hooligans," and by that time, I was already heading back to the Main Stage yet again for Tooth & Nail Records' rockers Ivoryline.

    Ivoryline's performance consisted of "Be Still and Breathe" and "Days End" from their debut album, There Came A Lion, and "Hearts Open," "The Greatest Love" and "Vessels," all off their sophomore effort of the same title that released only a few weeks earlier. They closed with "The Last Words," which sounded great live and really concluded their set well. Around the time that they were done, I headed back over to the HM Stage to see one of my favorite bands, Showbread.

    The first thing I noticed when Showbread took the stage was that they were only a four-piece now, and I also had a hard time recognizing vocalist Josh Dies, as he had cut his hair much shorter than usual. From the start of their set, they impressed me, ripping through mainly songs from their release from last year, The Fear of God, opening with "Shepard, No Sheep" and then following it up with "Vehement" and "Lost Connection With The Head," before premiering a new song from their (then) upcoming album Who Can Know It? titled "A Man With A Hammer." I left before they closed with "Nothing Matters Anymore" to go to the Gallery Stage and check out piano-driven pop rockers Seabird.

    Arriving about halfway through their set, Seabird sounded solid live from what I heard. They played a good selection of songs from Rocks Into Rivers and 'Til I See The Shore. As soon as they were on their last song, I headed back up to The Forum to catch an acoustic set from the festival's headliners, Family Force 5. Now I'm not sure how it happened, but they blew out the speakers on the stage by playing interesting acoustic renditions of their songs. They played such songs as "Cadillac Funque" and "Supersonic" from Business In The Front, Party In The Back, as well as "Fever" from Dance Or Die. Folk-rock worship artist John Mark McMillan took his place on the Gallery Stage while FF5 started to finish their set, and I went back down to the stage to watch him. He had a full band to back him up, and they got started immediately. He opened with "Breaking Down," before going on to play such songs from The Medicine as "Skeleton Bones," "Carbon Ribs," "Out of the Ground" and "Carolina Tide," all before taking time to close with his most well known song, "How He Loves." It was a great experience to see the writer of the song perform it live, and was one of the most memorable parts of the festival.

    Due to seeing John Mark McMillan, I missed most of the set from one of my favorite metal bands, Solid State Records' Demon Hunter. By the time I got to the HM Stage to catch their stage headlining set, they were nearly done, only playing a few more songs. They started into "Collapsing" off of their newest album, The World Is A Thorn, before moving into "Soldier's Song." They did an encore, which started off with an expertise drum solo, and right before it ended, I headed back to the Gallery Stage yet again to see indie/experimental act Paper Route. They played mainly songs from their first full length which released last year, titled Absence (which if you don't have it, I'd highly recommend checking it out). The set consisted of "Are We All Forgotten," "Carousel," "Wish," "Tiger Teeth," a new song I believe, and "Enemy Among Us." Apparently, they ended up closing with "Dance On Our Graves," which I did not get to see, because of heading to see House of Heroes on the main stage.

    After an amusing sound check, alternative rockers House of Heroes took the stage, fresh off of their release of one of the summer's best albums, Suburba, only a mere week before. They opened with "Code Name: Raven," from their stellar The End Is Not The End, before moving into "God Save The Foolish Kings" from Suburba. "If" brought back the sounds of The End..., shortly after followed by their newest single, "Elevator." Long time fan favorite "Serial Sleepers" took its respectful place in the set, which was succeeded by "So Far Away." "In The Valley Of The Dying Sun" concluded their somewhat short set, but nevertheless, it was great to see House of Heroes live, as they put on a great show.

    Reach Records's rapper Lecrae walked onto the Main Stage shortly after, to give a good sermon for a few minutes that was really moving. By this point, there were only a few artists left, so all the performances for the rest of the night were on the Main Stage. About fifteen minutes after Lecrae preached, a break dancing team came out and showed off some moves, which about halfway through their performance, Lecrae joined in, starting off his set. He played a wide variety of songs, such as "Don't Waste Your Life" and "Go Hard" from Rebel, and even premiered two songs from Rehab, one titled "Used To Do It Too," and the other called "Children of the Light." He then played "Fanatics" from 116 Clique fame and his set ended shortly after.

    By this point, their were only two more bands for the festival, and I was heavily anticipating seeing Project 86 for the first time. Known for putting on explosive shows, it didn't come as a surprise that their set was nothing less than that. They played a large variety of songs spanning nearly all of their albums, opening with "Sincerely, Ichabod," then moving into "Safe Haven" and "Oblivion." By this point, I noticed that Cody Driggers, bass player for The Wedding, was taking on bass duties and back up vocals during the set. Next, they played a personal favorite of mine, "The Butcher," from Picket Fence Cartel. "Last Meal" followed, before moving into "Light 'Em Up," where Andrew Schwab encouraged much crowd participation. "Evil (A Chorus of Resistance)" came after, then "Destroyer." The band then played the first song I had ever heard from them, "Stein's Theme," and then closed with fan favorite "The Spy Hunter." Project 86 were easily one of the best performances of the festival.

    The last band of the festival took the stage soon after, being the festival headliners, Family Force 5. They had a very enjoyable set, consisting of songs from Business Up Front, Party In The Back, such as "Kountry Gentlemen" and "Replace Me," and some from Dance or Die as well. They did play a lot more songs from their debut, which surprised me, but they had a very enjoyable set. Towards the end, before playing "Ghostride The Whip," the band came out with huge white balloons with their faces on them attached to backpacks they were wearing. To top that off, the members of House of Heroes also ran out on stage and had a bit of fun. They closed out the festival with "Fever" shortly after, before bassist Fatty (Josh Olds) prayed over the many festival attendees.

    Purple Door could not have been any better, and I highly recommend going next year if you can.

    CRR Purple Door Photo Gallery (© 2010
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    Advent Christmas Ep, Vol. 2

    Artist: Future of Forestry
    Album: Advent Christmas EP, Volume 2
    Release Date: 11/2/10
    Label: Credential Recordings

    Among all the Christmas music that has released this year, I find that indie rockers Future of Forestry have done something right. I unfortunately have not listened to their previous Advent Christmas EP, but I certainly like what I have heard on Advent Christmas, Volume 2. Creativity is the high point of the six-song effort, with each song having a unique feel, not sounding like the often similar sounding songs heard on many Christmas albums.

    A mix of clicks and bells greet the listener on "Joy To The World." The song is elongated with a few verses from the hymn "All Creatures of Our God and King," before "Do You Hear What I Hear?" steps into the spotlight, a mellow offering that breaks into an array of sweeping guitars. An original from the band, "The Earth Stood Still," is much more laid back, leading into the acoustic "Angels We Have Heard On High." An instrumental track takes its place and gives the listener a moment to reflect, before "Pie Jesu" calmly resonates, and ends Advent Christmas, Vol.2.

    Rating: 9/10 Future of Forestry have given us one of the best Christmas releases of the year, with their creative Advent Christmas EP, volume 2 of the series. An instrumental, original and four Christmas classics, all reinvented fill the EP, and are all done to a good outcome.

    1. Joy To The World
    2. Do You Hear What I Hear?
    3. The Earth Stood Still
    4. Angels We Have Heard On High
    5. Instrumental
    6. Pie Jesu
    (Buy Here)

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    Very Merry Christmas

    Artist: Dave Barnes
    Album: Very Merry Christmas
    Release Date: 11/9/10
    Label: Razor & Tie Records

    Out of the music city of Nashville, Tennessee comes singer-songwriter Dave Barnes with his new Christmas album, Very Merry Christmas. Fresh of the release of What We Want, What We Get which released earlier this year, in April, Barnes brings a fresh take to Christmas songs, both old and new.

    A few originals start off Very Merry Christmas, the first being the fun title track, following up with "Christmas Tonight," a duet with Hillary Scott of country superstars Lady Antebellum. Some other notable songs on the album are the soulful "I Pray On Christmas," the mellow, piano tune "Christmas Tree," with backing vocals from the talent of Brandon Heath. The album's highlight would have to be the closer, "Mary and Joseph," which takes on a modern day version of the nativity story. One of the album's only downfalls would be "All I Want For Christmas Is You," which is covered a bit too much in my opinion by many different artists.

    Rating: 7/10 Dave Barnes brings a nice surprise with Very Merry Christmas. Besides a cover of the overused "All I Want For Christmas Is You," the album is an overall good Christmas album, full of both love songs and some more worshipful songs as well.

    1. Very Merry Christmas
    2. Christmas Tonight
    3. All I Want For Christmas Is You
    4. Meet Me At The Mistletoe
    5. I'll Be Home For Christmas
    6. I Pray On Christmas
    7. Christmas Tree
    8. Holiday Made For Two
    9. The Christmas Song
    10. Mary and Joseph
    (Buy Here)

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    Over The Hills And Everywhere: A Christmas EP

    Artist: Seabird
    Album: Over The Hills and Everywhere
    Release Date: 10/19/10
    Label: Credential Recordings

    Seabird have always had a knack for originality with their warm, piano-driven  pop rock, which they incorporate well into Christmas music. Having released the two song Silent Night EP last year, this isn't the first we have heard the band's take on Christmas music, but this time around, they offer a bit more, with five new songs, and the two from their prior EP. One of the things I admire about Over The Hills and Everywhere is that all the songs are focused on our Savior's birth, staying true to the real meaning of Christmas.

    "Angels We Have Heard On High" opens up, and sounds exactly as expected, with Seabird's slow buildup into a catchy chorus, fluid guitars pulsing throughout, and topped with airy keys. A folk sound is tried on for size on "Go Tell It On The Mountain," before an energetic version of "What Child Is This?" comes into view. The tempo slows down a notch on "Hark The Herald Angels Sing" and "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," but picks up on the joyous "Joy To The World," and then concludes with a great rendition of "Silent Night."

    Rating: 8/10 Seabird have crafted a very enjoyable Christmas project, with their latest Over The Hills and Everywhere. It adds a bit more to their previous Silent Night EP that released last year, and comes out with a good result.

    1. Angels We Have Heard On High
    2. Go Tell It On The Mountain
    3. What Child Is This?
    4. Hark The Herald Angels Sing
    5. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
    6. Joy To The World
    7. Silent Night
    (Buy Here)

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    Artist: Lecrae
    Album: Rehab
    Release Date: 9/28/10
    Label: Reach Records

    Over the past few years, Reach Records have been doing big things in the Christian rap and hip hop realms. The driving force behind them has been Lecrae, and on his fourth album, Rehab, we hear Lecrae at his best. From the redemptive, Spirit-filled lyrics to the flowing beats, the biggest factor of Rehab is the message about God changing our lives and us keeping our eyes on Him.

    The beginning of the journey of Rehab starts with "Check In," which prepares us for what is to come on further listen. "Killa" covers the topics of lust and temptation that come at us daily, and "Divine Intervention" talks of nothing mattering except Christ, and giving Him our lives. The simplistic, yet hard hitting "Just Like You" is one of Rehab's many highlights, with lyrics such as "They say You came for the lame, I'm the lamest, I made a mess, You say You'll erase it, I'll take it." "Gotta Know" is another mellow song, that precedes the highly catchy "Used To Do It Too," which features Reach's newest artist, KB, and looks back on a sinful past, before being remade by Jesus.

    "Children of the Light" has guest appearances from both Dillavou and Sonny Sandoval of P.O.D., the former of them adding a reggae/funk sound to the song. "High" is a fun song that has a danceable beat, as well as the following "New Shalom." Both Tedashii and Trip Lee provide vocals on "40 Deep," making the track another of the most memorable moments on Rehab. "God Is Enough" talks of being content only with God, and not coveting other materialistic things. "Boasting" shakes things up a bit, replacing the synths and keys with an acoustic guitar, while "Background" has more of a pop feel to it, and is a song about giving God everything in our lives, and letting Him use us.. "New Reality" and "Release Date" offer up some more mellowness to Rehab. The bonus track, "I Love You," brings the energy back up and is a love song, ending Rehab.

    Rating: 9/10 Lecrae's Rehab is not just an album, but a journey for the listener. The spiritually uplifting lyrics are very refreshing to hear, and are accompanied nicely by catchy beats and instrumentation and a slew of guest vocalists. Rehab is Lecrae's defining album, and is hands down some of the best Christian hip-hop I've ever heard, and that is coming from someone who is not a big fan of rap and hip-hop.

    1. Check In
    2. Killa
    3. Divine Intervention ft. J.R.
    4. Just Like You ft. J. Paul
    5. Gotta Know ft. Benjah
    6. Used To Do It Too ft. KB
    7. Children of the Light ft. Sonny Sandoval & Dillavou
    8. High ft. Sho Baraka & Suzy Rock
    9. New Shalom ft. PRo
    10. 40 Deep ft. Tedashii & Trip Lee
    11. Walking On Water
    12. God Is Enough ft. Flame & Jai
    13. Boasting ft. Anthony Evans
    14. Background ft. C-Lite
    15. New Reality ft. Chinua Hawk
    16. Release Date ft. Chris Lee
    17. I Love You ft. Chris Lee (Bonus Track)
    (Buy Here)

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    Artist: The Wedding
    Album: Distance EP
    Release Date: 11/16/10
    Label: Independent

    For two years, we haven't gotten new music from The Wedding. Despite their heavy touring schedule, news on new songs or an album were not evident, until a few months back when they announced a new EP that needed to be funded. Well, the EP was funded and is now here in the form of Distance. They haven't completely changed from their prior release, The Sound, The Steel EP, but has progressed to more of a straight up rock sound. Vocalist Matt Shelton (formerly of Letter Kills), has cut back on his unique screams from his first release with the band, but they are still evident in a few songs throughout Distance. All of these elements coming together provide for a cohesive new release from the band.

    "The Distance Between You and I" serves as the intro for Distance, and is made up of gang vocals that set the mood, before heading into "Heartbreak In Melody." The riff-heavy song is indeed melodic, with toned down verses that build up, foreshadowing the catchy chorus that will be sure to stick in your head. "Won't Back Down" brings to mind bands such as Disciple, and hits off with a Southern rock feel. "Not Like I'm Doing Now" starts off slow, with only an acoustic guitar, but flows into a rocker that talks of being a musician with a message. "Remedy" is one of the only songs on the EP that really brings to mind The Sound, The Steel, but really shows off a more polished and heavier song structure, yet staying true to The Wedding's energetic rock. The maturity of the band really comes out on "The Same Mistake," taking on the sense of a ballad. I find the song to be the highlight of the EP, and ends Distance on a high note.

    Rating: 8/10 The Wedding are back, and once again come through with Distance. Although only six songs, the EP satisfies, with catchy melodies and upbeat rockers. Exploring a slower sound on songs such as "The Same Mistake" and even some pop rock, on "Not Like I'm Doing Now," The Wedding still stay true to their energetic rock roots. I'm glad to have something new from them, and look forward to a new full length album hopefully sometime soon.

    1. The Distance Between You and I
    2. Heartbreak In Melody
    3. Won't Back Down
    4. Not Like I'm Doing Now
    5. Remedy
    6. The Same Mistake
    (Buy Here)
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    I've Lost All Faith In Myself

    Artist: Venia
    Album: I've Lost All Faith In Myself
    Release Date: 11/30/10
    Label: Blood & Ink Records

    Pure hardcore is becoming a rarity in today's heavy music scene, with the progressing metalcore genre at the forefront of it all now. Well, Venia are here to prove that good hardcore is still out there, with their great brand of authentic, Spirit-filled hardcore. Their newest release, the five-song I've Lost All Faith In Myself, shows off where Venia stand, among the true hardcore bands. A sound that I'm certainly sure carries over well live, elements such as the gang vocals and speedy drumming are strewn throughout the five songs, adding to the live feel.

    I've Lost All Faith In Myself bursts to life with the flying, fast-paced "Crux." The next few songs, "Mouth of a Liar" and "Numbers Game" follow with high adrenaline and ferocity, before coming to the highlight of the EP, being "The Call." The song features the songwriting and vocal talents of former Strongarm vocalist Jason Berggren. Besides the aforementioned contributions to the song, Berggren also provides a bit of spoken word in two parts of the song as well. The final product is an anthem of a track, with dueling vocals and a breakdown for good measure. "Calloused" has a very aggressive, yet sludgier sound due to the frantic guitar work and slower vocals from vocalist Chad Urich.

    Rating: 8/10 Venia have done something right with their solid EP, I've Lost All Faith In Myself. The five songs on their newest effort show off the band's skillful ability to make authentic Spirit-filled hardcore. Fans of real hardcore, this is for you.

    1. Crux
    2. Mouth Of A Liar
    3. Numbers Game
    4. The Call
    5. Calloused
    (Buy Here)

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    These Are My Sins

    Artist: I, The Breather
    Album: These Are My Sins
    Release Date: 12/7/10
    Label: Sumerian Records

    2010 has been a great year for Christian metal. With the year drawing to a close comes the debut album from Maryland metalcore act I, The Breather, adding to the list of solid metal albums that the year has had to offer. Drawing comparisons to the likes of August Burns Red, but with a bit more added technicality and a unique flair of their own, I, The Breather are ready to take the music scene by storm. Vocalist Shawn Spann keeps the songs interesting and cohesive, with an interesting formula of screaming vocals that sometimes transition to a brief yell, before residing back to explosive screams. Backing the vocals are some very technical, soaring riffs, expertise double-bass drumming, and heavy bass drops that all come together to form a cohesive album, that is These Are My Sins.

    Breaking out of the pack is the strong opener "Forgiven." The track is a good choice for the opener, setting the feel of the record, both musically and lyrically. The next few tracks follow in suit, not changing it up much musically, but "High Rise" hits hard, really utilizing some of Spann's yelling vocals, as opposed to just screams, and gang vocals towards the end of the song, that proclaim the album's title, "These are my sins!"

    A bit of ambience is introduced to These Are My Sins, first on the intro of "Longevity," which is continued in a few other places on the album, one being the ending of "Conquer," laden with soothing piano, leading into the album's only instrumental, "Empathy," which serves as a break to the heaviness, before going right back into the territory on "Crown Me King."

    One of the most impressive things that I find about I, The Breather on These Are My Sins would be their no-holds-barred lyrics that are upfront about their faith. They are very encouraging to hear, and go perfectly with their in your face brand of metalcore.

    Rating: 8/10 An impressive debut album is what I, The Breather have brought to offer to the Christian metal scene with their new album, These Are My Sins. A heavy, in your face technical metalcore sound, driven by their strong, faith-based lyrics, is what I, The Breather are all about. Despite not changing it up much musically throughout the record, the album is not bad by any extent, and I am sure that these guys will be sure to turn quite a few heads.

    1. Forgiven
    2. The Common Good
    3. Destroyer
    4. High Rise
    5. Longevity
    6. Doomsday
    7. Conquer
    8. Empathy
    9. Crown Me King
    10. Allspark
    11. Illuminate
    (Buy Here)

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    Today is the last day to help Come&Live! ambient hardcore band Holding Onto Hope fund their upcoming album. You can donate here. Please pray for the funding of the album, and consider supporting the band. You can also download their latest album, Of The Sea, for free on Come&Live!.
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    We are proud to announce the return of Overcome to the Facedown Family!  The partnership between Overcome and Facedown Records goes all the way back to the birth of the label in 1997, and now Overcome is back to release their new album on Facedown.  Release number 100 will be titled The Great Campaign of Sabotage and will be Facedown's first release of 2011.  The Phoenix hardcore legends lead by Jason Stinson have returned with new music and new members, but their message remains the same.  Says Stinson, "Be ready, a new flame is burning."

    Facedown founder, Jason Dunn had this to say about Overcome and the significance of their return album being Facedown #100: I first saw Overcome in 1994 when they only had a demo tape out.  Before I played drums for No Innocent Victim, I would travel with them and sell merch for them.  NIV went out to play a couple of shows in Arizona and Overcome was the band that was also on the show.  We instantly connected and have remained friends to this day.  I always say that I don’t think Facedown Records would be around today without Overcome.  They were the cornerstone of the label in its early years and teaming up with them instantly put our name out there for hardcore fans worldwide, both Christian and non.  It’s an honor to be able to still work alongside these guys and to be able to release the new album as Facedown #100.  I could not have dreamed of a more appropriate release for this landmark in the label's history.

    Overcome's The Great Campaign of Sabotage will be released on February 1, 2011.

    You can hear "Alone in a Crowd," a new song from the album, here: 
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    (December 1st, Murray, Utah) Tommy Green, best known as the passionate flailing preaching front man of Sleeping Giant, has announced that he has written a book that will be available just before Christmas. The book, entitled Religio-Cide  is for “anyone who wants to learn more about friendship with Jesus”, explains the new author. “Anyone who is a part of the bride who feels like their spirituality in Christ isn't connected somehow or is empty or is over playing Sunday school and has real problems especially those who feel like they don't know how to listen to the Holy Spirit in their prayer lives or the business of daily life. The people who know and the people who don't.”

    As a charismatic and contagious front man, Green has never shyed away from sharing his heart from the stage. His words touch many and his performance is the purest form of worship for any hardcore kid who has seen what the world has to offer and has chosen to go the other way.

    The book will be available December 6th through Green’s church website www.revolutionreality.orgas well as and

    “This book is not perfect; it is not all encompassing in its
    scope of the “Christian” life. It may not be accepted or
    acceptable by all of the people in it’s intended audience.
    It is not necessarily spelling out groundbreaking or new
    ideas about Jesus, and discipleship, and the author is not
    always consistent or disciplined. This short book is also
    not meant to criticize without solution or teach without
    experience. This is my honest dream of the beginning of
    discipleship life. This is my life and friendship with Jesus
    Christ, and whether you agree with what I have to say
    or not, this is part of what I believe God is doing in my
    Generation. He is so capable that he is using my glaring
    immaturity and imperfection to display the glory of His
    perfection in relationship. Please read with an open
    mind and practice what is written. It might not change
    your life in relationship with God or your relationship
    with yourself and the world around you. But it just

    Please understand…. I love my King and I am out to
    destroy any and every religious crutch that stands in the
    way of true friendship.”

    Tommy Green
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    We are excited to announce the signing of Hope for the Dying to Facedown Records.

    With models ranging from Iron Maiden and Queensryche to Unearth and All That Remains, the members boast the "bringing together of influences as vast as the seven seas, ranging from the metal of years past to the modern kings of metal that reign today."  By combining their superior individual abilities and unique musicianship to produce the 80s influenced progressive metal fans have come to expect, Hope for the Dying prove the sincerity behind their determination to push forward into previously uncharted territory.

    Check out new song "Perpetual Ruin" here:

    Hope for the Dying will be releasing their Facedown debut in April 2011.  The new album was engineered by Brian Hood (A Plea For Purging, MyChildren MyBride) and is the follow up album to their self titled 2009 Strike First release.

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    The Chariot: Long Live

    Artist: The Chariot
    Album: Long Live
    Release Date: 11/22/10
    Label: Good Fight Music

    I must say, I really had no idea how to approach the new album from The Chariot, Long Live. Having listened to not much, but some of their previous works, I couldn't get past the noisy songs that overtook my ears. That really changed with Long Live, the band's fourth full-length effort. Something just really hit me on the album that I really enjoyed, whether it be the songwriting, or the feedback-filled songs, that had a bit more structure than before, that I'm sure would be great in a live setting.

    The short "Evan Perks" leads off Long Live chaotically and brings to the table what the rest of the album has to offer. The humorous "Calvin Makenzie" ends with bits of a classic sounding song that are quite laughable to hear after the storm of craziness. A few tracks later comes one of the albums longer and best tracks, "The City." It takes on a different tempo from the slower and heavy songs from the band, being faster and a bit more punk driven, nearly. It also contains some great lyrics, that proclaim "If I leave this earth tonight may it be said that I spoke my peace, I spoke with the wrath of His grace" and goes on to close with a shrieking "This is a revolution!" The most diverse track on the album would have to be my personal favorite, which is "David De La Hoz." About a minute in, indie artist Listener makes an interesting appearance with his unique spoken word section that adds an interesting depth. To increase the track's diversity, it ends with an array of piano and a cool section played by harpist Timbre.

    From "David De La Hoz" and on, the rest of the album finishes out strong. "The Heavens" is a bit of a slower, sludgier track that starts off with some firing riffs. Vocalist Josh Scogin's voice takes on a bit of a different sound in the song, with the vocals being a bit more yelled than screamed. "Robert Rios" rings with a bit more of a grit, leading into "The King," the longest track on the album, clocking at nearly six minutes, as opposed to the other songs, which mainly weigh in at about two minutes each. The song has some interesting horns thrown in at parts in the song, and about halfway through the song, resorts to mainly just drumming and feedback to end Long Live.

    Rating: 8/10 The Chariot have finally caught my attention with their newest release, Long Live. Not without their signature noisy, feedback-heavy sound, that I'm sure would be great live, the is well structured and even adds in a few interesting elements thrown in here and there, such as spoken word, harp and even some horns, to add some diversity. I was really surprised with this album and must say, long live The Chariot.

    1. Evan Perks
    2. The Audience
    3. Calvin Makenzie
    4. The City
    5. Andy Sundwall
    6. The Earth
    7. David De La Hoz
    8. The Heavens
    9. Robert Rios
    10. The King
    (Buy Here)

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    Who Can Know It?

    Artist: Showbread
    Album: Who Can Know It?
    Release Date: 11/16/10
    Label: Come&Live!

    Anticipation is the biggest word that came in play when thinking about the new album from Showbread. Since seeing them live earlier this summer, I have been very interested in getting their new album, and when I finally got it about a week ago, I couldn't have been more happier. On first play of Who Can Know It?, I must say that I was surprised and caught a bit off guard with their sudden change in sound. I knew there would be no screaming this time around, but fuzzy guitars, vocal harmonies and Josh Dies singing much softer than usual were all strangers to me, when concerning their genre of raw rock. It wasn't until a few more listens that I fully began to grasp the musical landscape that Who Can Know It? brings with it.

    Pounding drums greet the listener to start off the opening "A Man With A Hammer." Certainly an ideal choice to start the album with, the song talks of God's love that ransoms everyone. The wittily titled "I Never Liked Anyone And I'm Afraid Of People" is full of driving, fluid guitars that are accompanied by thumping bass undertones that take their place on many sections of the record. "Dear Music" slows down the album a bit and is flavored with some nice keys and guitars, starting with a computerized voice that states "It's four o'clock," and ends with a minute of worship, with only the words "He is wonderful." To follow the worship feel is "Deliverance," more of a simplistic song with a self-explanatory title, regarding the lyrics.

    A dreary feel is brought to Who Can Know It? on "The Prison Comes Undone," with its winding guitars and synths that are new to Showbread's sound. The following "Hydra" starts off with a single guitar, but builds up into a classic sounding Showbread tune, minus the screaming and craziness. The edgy rocker "Myth Of A Christian Nation" serves as somewhat of a protest, fit into the shortest track on the album, immediately transitioning right into "You're Like A Taxi." "You're Like A Taxi" starts with crashing drums, layered by synths that don't sound too far away from the intro of "Shepard, No Sheep," and talks about Jesus conquering death's dominion over those that follow Him. The hauntingly beautiful "Time To Go" takes its place as somewhat of a piano-driven ballad that contain some of the best lyrics I have heard from the band. The epic closer (that is in fact 11 and a half minutes long), "The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things," takes on many different sounds throughout the song, from interesting electronic clicks in the beginning, progressing through to a darker rock sound, and then closing piano-laden. The most interesting closer I have heard in a while if I do say so myself.

    Rating: 9/10 The anticipation has paid off for Showbread's new album, Who Can Know It?. The album is full of a bit more mellow, but beautiful, raw rock that fans have come to love, minus the craziness and screaming heard on past albums. The album thrives lyrically as well, with some of the best lyrics that vocalist Josh Dies has penned for the band. One of the best albums, if not the best, that Showbread has released to date, it comes as no surprise that Who Can Know It? will stand as one of the best albums to come out of this big year of music.

    1. A Man With A Hammer
    2. I Never Liked Anyone And I'm Afraid Of People
    3. Dear Music
    4. Deliverance
    5. The Prison Comes Undone
    6. Hydra
    7. Myth Of A Christian Nation
    8. You're Like A Taxi
    9. Time To Go
    10. The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things
    (Download Here)
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    The Frozen Ocean's IN EXILE Releases November 30th

    Come&Live! is excited to announce the November 30th release of In Exile. This is the latest EP from The Frozen Ocean and will be available on as a free download.
    Connecticut-based singer and songwriter Dave Swanson is The Frozen Ocean.  He says that, “I wrote the new songs with more focus and direction and a clearer sense of what I wanted musically and lyrically. I feel like I’m still trying to find my unique voice as an artist. But with this record, I’m a big step closer to where I will be the rest of my musical career. I always hope to improve my ability as a songwriter, musician and engineer with every project and to inspire and intellectually stimulate others who enjoy the music.”
    Because he is the only official member of the band, he’s able to choose musicians he truly admires for each recording process. This time around he enlisted the help of Matt Griener (August Burns Red) and Andy Nelson (Wrench in the Works). Lyrically, the majority of the songs are rather introspective and allow listeners to peek into Dave’s life. For example, “Phantoms,” explains the loss of his father-in-law and baby nephew and how he and his wife dealt with and are still processing such devastating losses. He sings about how people who rest their hopes and dreams in people and materialistic items are repeatedly let down in “Promised Land.”  He shares, "Though some of the lyrics come from dark and broken places, I want people to see hope in those circumstances. I believe very strongly that God is able to take everything in our lives and reconcile it into something beautiful."
    ABOUT The Frozen Ocean:
    Formerly in bands such as Life In Your Way and Play Radio Play, Dave started The Frozen Ocean to satisfy a personal creative interest. Since then he released a self titled album in 2008, and now 2010’s In Exile. From Connecticut, he plays shows mainly in the New England area. For more information, logon to his Web site.
    ABOUT Come&Live!
    Come&Live! is a 501(c)3 non-profit community dedicated to proclaiming the good news of Jesus.
    By joining hands with artists , we provide them with guidance, direction and accountability to model a life of genuine faith. Our focus is in promoting the only true enduring treasure - loving others and living like Jesus. We choose to share music and profit as a humble example of radical generosity. We live simply to give generously, encouraging others to do the same. Our prayer is that God would use us to Give. Love. Share. and Revive.
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    Artist: Your Memorial
    Album: Atonement
    Release Date: 11/23/10
    Label: Facedown Records

    Wow! That one word pretty much sums up Facedown Records' newest find Your Memorial. Their debut Atonement is most definitely a tale of two paradigms that quite frankly co-exist to create a gorgeous, yet crushing album. The main thing that stands out to me is how melodic the guitar riffs are throughout the album. Monotonous, down-tuned chugging, these songs are not, although when implemented they create a crushing effect that adds depth to Your Memorial's sound.

    At times, the melodic, ambient guitars remind me more of experimental post-hardcore bands, A Hope For Home and Holding Onto Hope, than they do any metalcore band. Their beauty is in full effect on the two instrumentals, "Desolation," which has an almost sad Starflyer 59 feel, and "Surrender," which would fit right along with anything created by labelmates Hands and the aforementioned A Hope For Home.

    On the other side of their musical "coin" are some of the heaviest breakdowns in the most unexpected spots. Those, along with vocalist Blake's unrelenting screams and the heavy, chugging guitar riffs create an effect that I'm sure would turn concrete into gravel. The first two songs, "Endeavor For Purpose" and "Hope Era," are examples of their heavier side and are by far the two heaviest tracks on the album.

    Some of my favorite tracks are the ones that combine these two very different sounds into one cohesive unit. I believe this is where Your Memorial is at their best. Those songs would be the title track, "Not Fallen," "Unseen" and my personal favorite, "Surface," which adds hauntingly moody clean vocals by Karl Schubach of Misery Signals.

    Rating: 8/10 As alluded to above, Your Memorial has a very diverse sound. Attributes of everything from ambient, post-hardcore to crushing deathcore can be heard at any given time. What is even more jaw-dropping than their diversity, is their way of crafting these different influences into cohesive, well written songs. I am definitely looking forward to any future releases from Your Memorial.

    Reviewed by Matthew Alexander

    1. Endeavor For Purpose
    2. Hope Era
    3. Desolation
    4. Atonement
    5. Surface
    6. Not Fallen
    7. My Path Is Set
    8. Unseen
    9. Surrender
    10. Immaculate Design
    (Buy Here)

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    As Hell Retreats

    As Hell Retreats has just signed with Facedown Records!  

    After releasing their first full length album Revival with Strike First Records in mid 2010, the band has moved up to Facedown and is getting ready to record their new album Volition.  Vocalist Jackson Greene had this to say about the move:

    We are more than excited to be moving to Facedown Records. We've appreciated this label for what it has done for its bands and we are more than grateful for getting that opportunity. We've been working so hard touring and promoting our record 'Revival' off of Strike First Records and we want to work even harder with writing our new Facedown Release titled 'Volition,' making it our most passionate material yet.

    As Hell Retreats will be heading into the studio to record Volition with Brian Hood (A Plea For Purging, MyChildren MyBride) in January.  Look for Volition in Spring 2011.

    Tour Dates
    Dec 3 - East Ridge, TN @ The Warehouse 
    Dec 4 - Sylacauga, AL @ St. Andrews Church  
    Dec 5 - Douglasville, GA @ The 7 Venue 
    Dec 6 - Augusta, GA @ Sector 7 G 
    Dec 7 - Mcdounough, GA @ The Armory 
    Dec 8 - Fayetteville, GA @ 11th Hour Venue 
    Dec 10 - Greenville, SC @ The Channel 

    Twitter - @ashellretreats
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    With the release of Showbread's new album Who Can Know It? on Come&Live!, Josh Dies, vocalist of Showbread, shares his insights on each track of the album. I highly recommend that you check out the album now for free here.

    A Man With A Hammer: I thought it would be great to just write a traditional worship song about how big the love Jesus has for his people is. When I sat down to write the first verse, it described a man killing his wife and kids with a hammer. Then I was writing about a woman who aborts her baby so that it won't interfere with her career and a man who rapes a woman who refuses to show him affection. It was all so tremendously dark and bleak, and this amazing light shines on all these grotesque circumstances when we celebrate the fact that for each of these "bad" individuals, the love of Jesus is as strong and beautiful and as all encompassing even in the midst of these terrible things they do, as it is for any other person. It's wonderful to just sing about God's love being great, but when we actually examine how big it is and how deep it runs even for the kind of people we aren't willing to love ourselves, we start to scratch the surface on how wonderful that love truly is.

    I Never Liked Anyone And I'm Afraid Of People: The title of this song is not of my own design; those are not my words. The song was inspired by the novel Imperial Bedrooms, which I certainly would not recommend to young or easily offended readers. The novel tells the story of a sort of vacant individual living this streamlined Hollywood lifestyle. Throughout the story, the character is just perpetually descending into his own capacity for amoral behavior until he becomes something of a monster. I thought that it was a very compelling exploration of any person's evil potential and the tangle of sin. So the character in the song has reached this point where he's examining how far he's traveled in the wrong direction and wondering who he is.

    Dear Music: As the title implies, it's a letter to music in general. For the last nine years I've been a full-time writing, recording and touring musician and during that time I lost my love for the world of music. This creates an inner-conflict for someone who feels called to be a musician. I believe in what Showbread does, I love the music we make, but as soon as we take it out into the world of the industry or the music community I feel lost and out of place. My refuge lies in the calling I've been given and to whom it comes from and why. So this bitter sounding letter takes a turn and becomes a hymn of worship.

    Deliverance: It's a kind of worship/protest song. We didn't want to just rail against the traditional, American political church ideas without saying why. So "Deliverance" isn't just a few verses of complaints, it celebrates a better way after raising the objections. There is a lot of grief expressed with the way we behave as Christians and at the same time the rejoicing that we will be delivered from these shortcomings.

    The Prison Comes Undone: I wrote the song after some petty argument I was having with my wife. I went to be alone and speak with God about my frustration and felt this burden of being myself and being subject to my imperfections that affect others. So the song became a sort of apology based on that experience, but on a larger scale a candid and somber statement about being unhappy with oneself and open with it.

    Hydra: "Hydra" was written for an estranged friend who got close to a girl and then slowly slipped away. There was a lot of bitterness and unresolved feelings there until they were stifled by the realization of my own imperfections. That's why the song quickly abandons its accusations; "You're like a man that has two heads and I have three or four." Even though this aggravating circumstance has cost us our friendship, I myself am constantly at fault for my own shortcomings, what makes yours any worse than mine? The song ends with a reference to Peter and a hopeful note of rectification for both parties. We might be screwing everything up, but nothing is beyond hope.

    Myth Of A Christian Nation: The title was inspired by Greg Boyd's excellent book of the same name. It's pretty self-explanatory: a very explicit rant against the idea that America is "God's kingdom" or that the nation is noble and admirable as opposed to just another fallen worldly kingdom. Our idea of freedom has nothing to do with any nation. Jesus' call to love and die for our enemies is in no way exemplified by a ruthless powerhouse that stands for blowing your enemies away, and we've come to resent the false connection of America to Christ that confuses people the world over.

    You're Like A Taxi: It's a song about dying. The work that Jesus accomplished on the cross has stripped death of His dominion and demoted him to little more than a taxi driver taking the deceased from point A to point B. To me, that's a beautiful thing to be celebrated, not an occasion for grief and remorse.

    Time To Go: This is a very simple and basic love letter to Jesus in the same vein as a husband who might write to his wife on their 50th wedding anniversary. "After all these years you're still the one that I thought You would be."

    The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things: The last and longest song on the record is a story set up in several chapters. The story describes someone raised with a flimsy understanding of faith, God and the bible. Eventually this person grows older and begins to struggle with the ideas they once took for granted and then frustration and anger both set in.When this person takes their misgivings to the religious community, they're condemned for asking the questions in the first place and they decide to separate themselves completely from that world. Years go by and there's this lingering unanswered question and presence being felt and this person finds that they've come to the end of the road, no longer content to have no answers. They reexamine their ideas of Jesus for the first time in a completely different way, separated completely from the religious world and met on a personal level they finally begin to uncover the beginnings of real truth. It was important that, musically, the song appropriately takes the listener through each chapter in this individual's life and when we finally begin to climax to that epiphany we resist the urge to just open it up into an outright worship song, because that person isn't there yet. They've only just begun to grasp the truth: their own worth in the eyes of Jesus, and that, in and of itself, is a beautiful thing.
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    Once A Year

    Artist: Poema
    Album: Once A Year
    Release Date: 11/16/10
    Label: Tooth & Nail Records

    It's been a big year for the girls in Poema, releasing their debut EP in March, Sing It Now, and venturing out on the summer-long Warped Tour, which now brings us to the release of their new five-song holiday offering, Once A Year. Something that is immediately recognizable is that as opposed to their earlier release this year, the EP takes on more of a downbeat, indie flair, that works very well for them. Composed of three covers and two original Christmas tunes, Once A Year is certainly a treat to listen to.

    "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" opens Once A Year on more of a mellow note, but a nice rendition for sure, with a compelling string section to accompany the soft vocals, guitar and piano that echo throughout the song. The next track is an original, "Wool Coats," more of a simplistic track filled with ringing piano and drums, showing off Poema's ability to write a good Christmas song as well. Another more toned down track comes with "Santa Will Find You," which contains guest vocals from producer Aaron Marsh, the former front man of Copeland, which go well with the song, and accompany Elle and Shealeen (Puckett)'s vocals warmly. "So Much More," another original, is the catchiest song on Once A Year and shows off some soothing piano-driven melodies and more great songwriting. The closer comes a bit too fast, being a bit of a different version of "Little Drummer Boy" that I have heard, filled with strings and a guitar to close Poema's EP for this Christmas season.

    Rating: 7/10 After a long year, Poema return with Once A Year to spread some joy for the holiday season. The five-song EP is for you if you like your Christmas music with an indie flair and a bit more toned down, but certainly recommended for anyone.

    1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
    2. Wool Coats
    3. Santa Will Find You
    4. So Much More
    5. Little Drummer Boy
    (Buy Here)

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    Artist: A Bullet For Pretty Boy
    Album: Revision:Revise
    Release Date: 11/9/10
    Label: Artery Recordings

    With only one prior EP under their belt, the Texas-based A Bullet For Pretty Boy are making a splash into the metal scene with their debut full length effort, Revision:Revise. Moving away from their prior ambient hardcore sound, they have replaced it with a catchy metalcore sound, not too far away from the likes of The Devil Wears Prada and perhaps a bit better, and full of brutal screams and some great clean vocals to accompany them. Also, there are many great orchestrated sections as well that only add to the sound that A Bullet For Pretty Boy have to offer on the album.

    The starting track, "The Deceiver," does exactly what an opener should do, which is to represent what's in store upon further listen into the album. Full of quick double-bass, heavy riffs, perfectly placed clean vocals, and a brutal breakdown, that proclaims "Oh God, take what is left of me," the track stands out on the album as a highlight. Songs such as "Only Time Will Tell" and "Tides" really show off the clean vocals on the album, which are done to a good extent, but do reach a near whiny point at times, which are then taken over by screams and an attack of instrumentation. The most unique song on Revision:Revise is "Windows," which besides many of the previous mentioned elements the album holds in store, also sports some interesting electronic effects and samples throughout, adding a lot of depth to the track. "I Will Destroy the Wisdom of the Wise" ends the album, which starts off a bit slower, and is for the most part song, until the song resorts to screaming to close it out.

    Lyrically, A Bullet For Pretty Boy have a lot to offer, not at all covering up their faith, which shows strongly throughout the uplifting lyrics on Revision:Revise. For me, the only downfall of the album was that some of the tracks seemed very similar, not showing much variation, but were backed by an array of strong songs as well.

    Rating: 7/10 A Bullet For Pretty Boy have gotten off to a good start with their solid Artery Recordings debut, Revision:Revise. Throughout the album, listeners find a good variety of clean vocals, muscular riffs and screamed verses and breakdowns, thrown in with positive lyrics that undoubtedly show their faith. Besides a few songs sounding similar, I expect to see some big things come out of this band.

    1. The Deceiver
    2. Revision:Revise
    3. Decisions
    4. Patterns
    5. Only Time Will Tell
    6. Voices & Vessels
    7. Tides
    8. Windows
    9. Vita Nova
    10. I Will Destroy the Wisdom of the Wise
    (Buy Here)

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    Underoath with A Day To Remember, The Word Alive and Close Your Eyes
    11/8/10 at Northern Lights, Clifton Park, NY

    I honestly never expected to wake up the day of the show and be met with snow. In fact, it snowed all day, but relentless of that, I braved my way to see Underoath and Close Your Eyes at a big local venue in my area, named Northern Lights. I've missed a lot of shows at the venue before, and this was my first time there.

    As I walked to the door, unfortunately a few minutes late, I heard Victory Records' Close Your Eyes playing the end of "The Body," off their debut album We Will Overcome that released earlier this year. I must say, I was very excited to see them, as they are one of the best up and coming hardcore/pop punk bands out there today. I then entered the venue, which was indeed packed with many more than I expected, but then again, the show was sold out. Close Your Eyes then moved into "Something Needs To Change," one of my favorites off their album, which sounded great live. They closed out their set with "Song for the Broken," the first single off of their album, which really had some kids moving.

    After Close Your Eyes, I went to check out the merch tables from the bands, and picked up the deluxe edition of Underoath's new record Ø (Disambiguation) a day early, which was certainly a good buy.

    Shortly after, metalcore act The Word Alive started, who played a pretty typical form of the genre, with heavy riffs, breakdowns, and electronic synth parts heavily placed throughout their set. They played a few songs off their new album Deceiver, but it wasn't really my thing. I do know that they had interesting stage presence, and a good crowd response, but their set made me even more anticipated for the following act, Underoath.

    A 20 minute break in between sets, Underoath finally came out, with a very bright backdrop behind them of pulsating lights to go along with their high energy set. They opened with "Illuminator" off of Ø (Disambiguation), which was set to release the next day. I was very impressed with Spencer's clean vocals, proving that he can really pull them off live, along with his brutal screams. After then introducing myself, they ripped into "In Regards To Myself," and another heavy song that I unfortunately didn't recognize. Spencer then talked about their new album, and said the next song just had a video released for it, which was "In Division." I'd have to say that I was very impressed with Chris Dudley's programming and synths on the song, which were done very well, adding a haunting layer to the song, as they emanated through the whole song, especially the intro. The stage then went dark, and I noticed that "The Blue Note" from They're Only Chasing Safety was being played, of course leading into fan favorite "It's Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door," performed amazing live, and met with a huge crowd reaction. Slowing down their set was the atmospheric "Paper Lung," which Spencer was really getting into on stage, despite being a bit slower, building up for a crushing breakdown. "Desperate Times, Desperate Measures" followed, with clean vocals done surprisingly well by Spencer and guitarist Tim McTague. Their set started to draw to a close with one last new song, "A Divine Eradication," followed by Chamberlain talking about their beliefs in Jesus Christ, refreshing to hear in front of a crowd mainly there for the headliners, A Day To Remember. "Writing On The Walls" closed out Underoath's very high energy and somewhat chaotic set.

    I left after Underoath, due partially to the weather. I must say though, I was very impressed by their Underoath's live show, as well as Close Your Eyes', and would recommend that if this tour comes close, you should go see it.
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    Artist: As They Sleep
    Album: Dynasty
    Release Date: 11/23/10
    Label: Solid State Records

    With the cross-pollination of metal and hardcore, bands are finding new, but also very limiting ways to express themselves musically. Somewhere along the line, bands have seemed to forget how to craft great metal, trading in technical proficiency for simplistic, mindless bludgeoning, all the while trying to be heavier, faster, and have more breakdowns than the next guy. There is a thin line between doing something and doing it right. As They Sleep, on their Solid State Records debut Dynasty, do it right.

    As They Sleep play a brutally fast, yet technically proficient brand of death metal similar to label mates Becoming The Archetype and The Famine. At times, As They Sleep are also reminiscent of Impending Doom, but even more technical and without all the breakdowns. Every song, with the exception of the perfectly placed instrumental "Ritual," is extremely fast, full of shredding guitars, rapid-fire double bass, and blast beats. All of the songs are also very high quality and not one could be called a "filler".

    Some of the highlights for me are the aforementioned "Ritual" which provides a nice breath of fresh air in the midst of the brutality. "Oracle of the Dead," "The Third Reich," and "Bedlam at the Nile" are all brutally fast and heavy with great vocal dynamics. "Poseidon" has a nice melodic guitar riff throughout and a cool solo. My favorite track is "Attila" which is extremely fast and heavy, before slowing down for the best guitar solo on Dynasty.

    Rating: 9/10 With Dynasty, As They Sleep has seemingly come out of nowhere and hit me like a ton of bricks. This is easily one of the best metal albums of the year. In fact, I have it as my number two album, behind the latest Living Sacrifice album. As They Sleep certainly has a bright future ahead.

    Reviewed by Matthew Alexander

    1. Oracle of the Dead
    2. To The Republic
    3. The Third Reich
    4. Bedlam at the Nile
    5. The Darkest Ages
    6. Ritual
    7. The Offering
    8. Attila
    9. Poseidon
    10. God of War
    11. The Unseen
    (Buy Here)

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    Showbread Release New Album on November 16th
    NASHVILLE, TN - Showbread harbors some strange tendencies when it comes to music and art. Hardcore punk, pop, alternative and industrial are only a few of the genres that make up the bizarre amalgamation that is Showbread’s self described “Raw Rock” sound. Stranger still is the way one genre devours another on each new Showbread record, jarring and dividing their fan base every time. On the band’s sixth album Who Can Know It?, which releases as a free C&L! download on November 16th, 2010, Showbread showcases their most grandiose stylistic shift like a badge;  and rightfully so, because it’s the best the band has ever sounded.

    Earlier this year Showbread announced both their departure from longtime home Tooth & Nail records and their intentions to partner with Come&Live! to offer their subsequent album and its supporting tour as gifts completely free of charge. Who would fund the album? The fans. Within one week of Showbread’s 90 day fundraiser, the band had raised the entire album budget by offering special pre-order gifts to donors. Before the 90 days ended they had raised several times as much. With absolutely no mainstream popularity and no record label, Showbread raised more money than most independent record labels can offer a band of their size to record an album. Times have certainly changed. Singer Josh Dies acknowledges the crumbling state of the music industry but insists that Showbread’s new model wasn’t in the same spirit as, say, Radiohead or Trent Reznor.

    “Even considering the sorry state the industry is in, the move wasn’t about reinventing the wheel, it was about believing in a message of hope so sincerely that you’d much rather hand it out as a gift than charge someone for it.”

    The message in question comes to full flower both sonically and lyrically on Who Can Know It? It is arguably the band’s most sincere and developed effort to date. Teaming once again with long-time production collaborators Sylvia Massy (Prince, Tool, Johnny Cash) and Rich Veltrop (Phantom Planet, Slayer) familiar listeners have come to expect the unexpected - but will they expect a record this unexpected?

    Those expecting traces of Showbread’s blistering Refused and Nine Inch Nails influences will be surprised to find the latest change has the band sounding like a Raw Rock version of The Eagles and R.E.M. If those same listeners can recover from the initial shock they will then go on to find the most expanded, earnest, heartbreaking and original music of Showbread’s career. Piano driven ballads, haunting vocal melodies, simultaneously dark and uplifting lyrics, dense layers of instrumentation and a notable lack of power chords or screaming vocals are hewn throughout the record. It seems that Raw Rock has developed to a completely unexpected full maturity. Raw Rock is all grown up.

    Who Can Know It? will be released as a free download on and to traditional online media outlets on November 16th, 2010. Showbread will begin their first completely free tour in early 2011.

    ABOUT Showbread:
    Showbread has been a band for over 12 years. Their 5th full length, Who Can Know It?, is met with much anticipation from both fans and critics. While touring around the world, writing and recording, Showbread's goal has remained constant: To spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ with every available resource, specifically using their uninhibited God-given creativity. The new record and subsequent free tour will only further advance this goal. For more information, log on to
    The Chariot Show Review

    The Chariot at The Ridglea Theater 10/23/10
    Fort Worth, TX

    Let me preface this by saying that I was never a Chariot fanboy or even a fan, for that matter. That is, until I saw them live. I have seen them twice now and look very much forward to future shows. If you are not a fan of The Chariot, I ask you to give them a chance when they come to your town. I guarantee that you will see them in a new light.

    I was blessed with the opportunity to see The Chariot for my second time at a huge festival (Rocktober Fest) at The Ridglea Theater in Fort Worth, Texas on October 23rd. In truth, I was going to see The Ghost Inside and Hundredth on their tour when I ended up getting lucky with what amounted to about three different tour packages converging onto the same venue for one night only. The Chariot were one of those "extras".

    There was upwards of 20 bands on this specific bill. Not to be lost in the shuffle was The Chariot. Often times with large shows like this bands can sometime blend together. You will never find The Chariot to be one of those bands. From the instant they hit the stage, there was a buzz about the crowd and it wasn't just the huge amount of feedback emanating from The Chariot's amps. They played a mix of songs and for a solid 30-40 minutes, and I do mean solid.

    When their set started, the energy was high and unrelenting. Within the first 10 minutes alone, Josh Scogin (vocals) had climbed a huge stack of PA speakers, Jon, their bassist, leaped into the crowd (with his bass), as did Josh. They switched that duty for a time. I cannot express how when seeing The Chariot, you are not just simply watching a musical act, but you are participating in an all around entertaining show. Guitarists Stephen and Jon are less active than Josh, Jon, and David (drums), but in no way are they taking it "easy". Stephen whips his dreads around as he plays and sings backup, while Jon keeps his back to the crowd and stays close to his amp, in what I assume is an attempt to build feedback. I'm not sure that Josh, bassist Jon, or drummer David ever stop moving. At some points of the set, Josh would even take David's tom and beat it on himself. I love this stuff. It's beautiful chaos.

    To end the show, David played drums over a recorded track while slowly, members of the band carried bits and pieces of his drum set away until only he was left. I thought it was such a unique (and fitting) way to finish their set. Even their "tear down" is part of the set.

    In closing, I just want to implore anyone that has not seen The Chariot live to use every opportunity to do so. I hope this review gives even a small glimpse into how exciting a Chariot show can be. It's hard to capture their performance with words. It really is indescribable. Thanks, Chariot, for another amazing show. You always make me feel like I got the most out of my ticket and I'll always be at the closest show, God willing.

    Written by Gary Mark Peterson

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    Artist: Messengers
    Album: Anthems
    Release Date: 11/9/10
    Label: Strike First Records

    What is old is new again. The cool thing about the music industry is how things tend to come and go in cycles. Falling out of fashion? Don't worry, you'll be back in sooner than you think. Metal is no exception, big in the 1980's, it died down in the 1990's, before making a resurgence in the 2000's, and being back on top in 2010.  That leads me to Anthems, the debut seven-song EP from Dallas area, thrash influenced hardcore band Messengers.

    Anthems is reminiscent of the days when "cross-over thrash" was huge. A time when hardcore bands wanted to be thrash and thrash bands wanted to be hardcore. Fans of bands such as D.R.I., Corrosion Of Conformity, and The Cro-Mags will have a lot to like here.

    In this scene infested with too many deathcore and melodic metalcore clones, Messengers' brand of thrashy hardcore is a breath of fresh air. Some of the highlights of the album are "Shipwrecked," with its cool guitar solo and speed, as well as being the perfect choice for the opener, "Creation" with its old-school NY hardcore feel, "Pale Rose," with some incredibly fast guitar and drums, and "Anthems," which is the perfect closer, leaving you wanting more.

    Rating: 7/10 Though not being "pure thrash" as some may claim, Messengers is definitely closer to that than they are to the other end of their musical spectrum of pure hardcore. Either way, thrash and hardcore fans, as well as fans of southern metal and metalcore, will have a lot to like in this small sample from Facedown/Strike First's latest find.

    Reviewed by Matthew Alexander

    1. Shipwrecked
    2. Creation
    3. Domicile
    4. Weight
    5. Judge
    6. Pale Rose
    7. Anthems
    (Buy Here)