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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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: http://www.myspace.com/hopeforthedying

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.

Tracklisting:
  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.

Tracklisting:
  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 comeandlive.com 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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Atonement

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

Tracklisting:
  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.

Tracklisting:
  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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Revision:Revise

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.

Tracklisting:
  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

Tracklisting:
  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 Comeandlive.com 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 www.showbread.net
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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Anthems

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

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

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Artist: Underoath
Album: Ø (Disambiguation)
Release Date: 11/9/10
Label: Tooth & Nail/Solid State Records

Change can be a big word, especially regarding music. That being said, the anticipated new album from Underoath, Ø (Disambiguation), is not a complete change for the band's sound. However, with the departure of long time drummer and clean vocalist Aaron Gillespie, Underoath are certainly not the same band you once knew. With the addition of former Norma Jean drummer Daniel Davison, it is not a coincidence that the band now contain elements reminiscent to Norma Jean, while still keeping some of their overall sound, minus Gillespie's vocals, which have in turn have been manned by frontman Spencer Chamberlain, which have matured greatly since They're Only Chasing Safety, and have a very natural and smooth feel to them.

The driving opener "In Division" kicks off Ø (Disambiguation) on a high note, a driving track that is sure to get fans acquainted with what Underoath have to offer with the album. "Catch Myself Catching Myself" resonates with more of a chaotic sense, ringing with the standout line of "I'm not the same anymore." The dark and atmospheric "Paper Lung" represents a bit of a new direction for the band, filled mainly with Chamberlain's clean vocals, and a head on breakdown to conclude the track. The album then kicks back into full gear with the bass heavy, raw-sounding "Illuminator," a track that really boasts Davison's expertise drumming.

The ambient "Driftwood" is heavily layered with great programming and eerie synths from keyboardist Chris Dudley, followed by the explosive "A Divine Eradication," one of the album's heaviest tracks. The anthematic "Who Will Guard The Guardians" contains a great spoken part from Spencer about halfway through, and also some of his best clean vocals on Ø (Disambiguation). A brief interlude is taken with "Reversal", that gives you little time to catch your breath before leading into the fast paced "Vacant Mouth," containing rapid fire guitars that will have you wanting to move. "My Deteriorating Decline" serves as an assault on your ears, with punk like drumming, and yet another one of Underoath's heaviest tracks to date. The album slows down one last time for the concluding track, "In Completion." Lyrically, it continues a common theme of water and drowning that goes on throughout the album, and like "Paper Lung," sets an atmosphere that is both melodic and heavy at the same time, no doubt a fitting song to close out one of the year's best heavy releases.

Rating: 9/10 Their first album containing no original members, many may have expected Underoath not to come through with Ø (Disambiguation), but they certainly have come through, better than ever. Dark, heavy and melodic are just a few words to explain their album, filled with great drumming, driving riffs and frontman Spencer Chamberlain's deep, throaty screams to his smooth clean vocals, which contrast just right. Ø (Disambiguation) sits as one of the year's best releases in the heavy scene, and will certainly catch the attention of many who have doubted the band's ability in the past to make such an album of this caliber.

Tracklisting:
  1. In Division
  2. Catch Myself Catching Myself
  3. Paper Lung
  4. Illuminator
  5. Driftwood
  6. A Divine Eradication
  7. Who Will Guard The Guardians
  8. Reversal
  9. Vacant Mouth
  10. My Deteriorating Incline
  11. In Completion
(Buy Here)

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Abel

ABEL ANNOUNCES NOVEMBER TOUR DATES WITH ASCEND THE HILL

New York indie rockers Abel will be touring the East Coast this month alongside Come&Live! label-mates Ascend The Hill.  Abel will hit the road beginning November 12th and join up with Ascend The Hill for a run from Florida to Pennsylvania.  The band will be playing music off their recently released full-length album, Lesser Men.

Both Abel and Ascend The Hill’s new records can be downloaded for free right now at www.comeandlive.com.
Tour Dates:

Nov 12 - Lynchburg, VA @ Crosspoint Venue
Nov 13 - Jacksonville, FL @ Murray Hill Theatre
* Nov 14 - Tampa, FL @ The Crossing Church
* Nov 15 - Douglasville, GA @ ATL Revival Center
* Nov 16 - Burlington, NC @ ICC
* Nov 17 - Baltimore, MD @ The MACC
* Nov 18 - Harrisburg, PA @ Hold Fast Ministries
Nov 19 - Vestal, NY @ Binghamton University
Nov 20 - Dunellen, NJ @ The Cellar

* w/ Ascend The Hill

www.myspace.com/abeltheband
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Please join with us in welcoming Ace Augustine to the Strike First family.

Rising from the same fertile Pennsylvania grounds as August Burns Red and Once Nothing, Ace Augustine take their musical cues from the style they naturally grew into.  Ace Augustine play solid, technical metal mixed with hardcore elements influenced by not only their Lancaster, PA spearheads, but also by various indie acts.  

Ace Augustine are known for being some of the youngest artists to perform with such national acts as Sky Eats Airplane, Anberlin, and MyChildren MyBride.  This band is full of tenacious young talent, five promising musicians in their salad days turning their dreams into reality.

The band released their first EP The Glory of Trumpets in 2009, and are set to release their debut full length on Strike First Records in early 2011.