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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One of Tooth & Nail Records' newest artists, the pop rock four-piece Hyland, have posted a new video that gives you a chance to learn more about them, and about songs on their upcoming Weights & Measures, releasing on May 3rd. The tracklisting for the album can be found right here.
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Artist: Emery
Album: We Do What We Want
Release Date: March 29th, 2011
Label: Tooth & Nail/Solid State Records

A lot has changed since Emery's fourth album, ...In Shallow Seas We Sail, made its debut in June 2009. Vocalist/guitarist Devin Shelton has gone on indefinite hiatus from the band, and Emery have also signed to Solid State Records, Tooth & Nail's metal/hardcore sub-label. Now I know what you're thinking at this point, are all the melodies and harmonies gone from Emery, and have they gone metalcore? Well, the answer to that question is that the band has certainly gotten heavier, proving that with time, they are not slowing down yet, but they are certainly not metalcore. All the melodic aspects of Emery that we have come to love since their debut album are in fact not absent, but are still there, and sound even better than before, balancing out the heaviness.

"The Cheval Glass" begins with a brief synth intro, before moving into the classic screams from Emery, that even move into a breakdown, before Toby Morrell's familiar vocals come in to reassure listeners that the four-piece still have a good dose of melody left in store. The first ten seconds of "Scissors" serve as an all out assault on the ears, before transitioning into Morrell's singing, and he even utters "Here comes the breakdown," even though no actual breakdown follows. Some low tuned chugging guitars can also be heard lightly at parts in the song as well. "The Anchors" and "The Curse of Perfect Days" drift into classic Emery territory, where "You Wanted It" drifts back to more aggression. The song speaks of one not being satisfied with life, and becoming their own "god," rather than letting God be in control.

"I'm Not Here For Rage, I'm Here For Revenge" starts off sludgy and heavy, but changes into another classic Emery-like song, and then "Daddy's Little Peach" explores some new ground. A song looking into the dark aspects of quick love and false relationships, it maintains a gloomy sound, before breaking into resounding screams and yells heard behind Morrell's singing. The last section of the song builds up into a full on screaming of "Let's turn the lights on!" After the song ends, so does the heaviness, with "Addicted to Bad Decisions" featuring some of the album's best hooks, and really grasps Emery's ability to write high energy rock songs as well, with thick layers of guitars and synths heard in the intro, and driving guitars and drumming that fill the remainder of the song.

Next comes what fans have been wanting for a while now, acoustic songs, of which We Do What We Want boasts two of. The first, "I Never Got To See The West Coast," is somewhat lyrically depressing, dealing with the topic of suicide, and is one of the most mellow songs we have heard from the band. The song is not completely acoustic though, as drums and slow electric guitars slowly take their places behind a softly strummed acoustic. "Fix Me" finds Emery wearing their hearts and faith out on their sleeves, a song that pleas for healing. "Fix me/Jesus fix me/I've been waiting so long to feel this heart beat."

Overall: Some may miss the unforgettable harmonies that Emery have brought us in the past, but it is not to say that the now four-piece pack in a good deal of melody in their latest We Do What We Want. Lyrically, the album is not another typical album from the band, but takes a look on things like the band's faith, and on some darker aspects of life. We Do What We Want is an album that will be embraced warmly by old fans, and will be sure to expand their fan base as well, by mixing in some classic elements from the band's back catalogue, with new heavier elements, and even two acoustic songs, making for what may be in fact the best release that Emery has had yet to offer. This is an album that is undoubtedly worth your time, and that you plainly just need to give a listen to.

Rating: 9/10

  1. The Cheval Glass
  2. Scissors
  3. The Anchors
  4. The Curse of Perfect Days
  5. You Wanted It
  6. I'm Not Here For Rage, I'm Here For Revenge
  7. Daddy's Little Peach
  8. Addicted to Bad Decisions
  9. I Never Got To See The West Coast
  10. Fix Me

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Yearbook - March - EP

Artist: Sleeping At Last
Album: March EP
Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Label: Independent

March has been and is usually a big month for music, and the downside of that is that some bands don't get credit where credit is due. Sleeping At Last have been hard at work on their year-long Yearbook project, with six of the twelve EPs already released. This month's edition, the March EP released on the first day of the month, and is certainly worth the listen.

The calming indie music of Sleeping At Last is something that can be listened to, for reflecting on and enjoying life. The band's second instrumental to date on the project, "Pacific," begins and ends with piano, with strings added throughout the song. "Outlines" adds in some quiet electronic effects to go along with softly played guitar, that eventually breaks into an orchestrated section, and a vocal crescendo from singer Ryan O'Neal.

Of all of the guest artists on Yearbook thus far, whether it be many providing drums, string sections, or even guest vocals, the best guest appearance takes it's place on the ukulele-laden duet with Jon Foreman of Switchfoot. It's always great to hear Foreman in such a laid back setting, and him singing on "Birthright" makes it all the better, both when his voice mixes with O'Neal's, and when he sings the second verse himself.

Overall: One of their best EP's released so far, Sleeping At Last have added another chapter to their already impressive Yearbook series. With half the project done, there's a good chance SAL will be sure to try some new things, and continue to put out more quality music, like they've done on March.

  1. Pacific
  2. Outlines
  3. Birthright (feat. Jon Foreman of Switchfoot)
(Buy Here)

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Artist: Fallstar
Album: Reconciler. Refiner. Igniter.
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Label: Come&Live!

Two years ago, I made a great discovery of a new "missionary label" that was in its beginning stages, known as Come&Live! Since then, C&L! has gone on to partner with a wide array of bands, one of which are the Oregon-based melodic/post-hardcore band Fallstar. On their latest album, Reconciler. Refiner. Igniter., the band blends together gritty rock-like choruses, along with a barrage of intense yelling and a good amount of screaming. Vocalist Chris Ratzlaff shows off a great range as well, with anything from some very low growls, to higher screams reminiscent of Jimmy Ryan's (Haste The Day-era).

Reconciler. Refiner. Igniter. starts off with some swelling, ambient guitar work that sounds like something from Secret & Whisper's Teenage Fantasy, before switching into some driving riffs and double-bass on "Hunters." Some droning gang vocals chant "I will follow You always" and a spoken part both make appearances on "Black Clouds," while the title track contains some redemptive lyrics and a similar song structure as the opener. Other songs like "Horse Without A Rider," "Face The Floor" and "Lurchers" seem meant for a live setting, are full of energy, and the latter has a few breakdowns to go along with it.

"Saratoga Springs" takes on more of a rock-driven sound, with a chorus that for some reason brings to mind, Queens Club? The punk-natured drumming and tempo of the song is refreshing to hear, and makes the track a highlight of the album. In the breakdown, you can also hear Ratzlaff inhaling for breath after each scream, a technique not too far away from some of what The Chariot's Josh Scogin does. A testimony of some sort is told on "Drunkaholics Anonymous," but is hard to hear over the music that plays over it. The closing two songs, "Contortionist" and "Windows," close out the album on a surprisingly heavy note, rather than on a slower one.

While Reconciler... is not a bad album, it does suffer from a few things. One is the production quality. The drumming and guitar riffs come across as a bit raw, as well as some of the screams. As a partial result of that, the album is also one that will most likely not be one that you love at first listen, but instead takes some time to really sink in and make a good impression.

Overall: One of Come&Live!'s first albums of the year, Reconciler. Refiner. Igniter. from Fallstar is an interesting listen. Paired with strong lyrics is plenty of yelling, screaming and singing, but in unique song structures, that don't all revolve around the typical run of the mill scream-sing-scream-breakdown song format. I hear influences of a wide variety of bands on this album, that all come together for an album that is not an immediate favorite, but takes time to sink in. Although suffering from some less than great production, Fallstar get their music and message across in a way that is effective, whether it be in your face screaming, or melodic singing.

Rating: 7/10

  1. Hunters
  2. Black Clouds
  3. Reconciler
  4. Horse Without A Rider
  5. Saratoga Springs
  6. Lurchers
  7. Drunkaholics Anonymous
  8. Face the Floor
  9. Contortionist
  10. Windows
(Download Here)
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Rockford, IL—Red Cord Records is excited to announce the recent signing of Los Angeles’ metalcore band Phinehas (FEHN-ee-uhs). Above the ashes of a dry and thirsty scene, where towers of pride rise and fall, stands Phinehas. Formed in 2001 on the outskirts of Los Angeles, Phinehas is a band of Christians with the purpose of being a shining light amidst a dark scene. They recognize that a message is only perceived as good as the messenger, so music quality holds an equally important role in their ministry. What initially began as a thrashy hardcore band has flourished into a brand of metal that not many can emulate.

As with many bands, a few member changes were inevitable as touring life is not cut out for everyone; but through every transition, Phinehas has never lost momentum. Their intense and passionate live show is a hit everywhere. Largely influenced by the music of bands like As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage and Van Halen, Phinehas is a band who loves fast beats and guitar solos while never forgetting their roots by weaving in powerful breakdowns.

Following the release of their self-titled, self-produced EP, Phinehas toured throughout the West Coast and out to Cornerstone, growing a loyal fan base with their impressive live show. Through their endless work ethic, they sold out of their EP in a very short time. Through Phinehas’ never-ending assault, they gained acclaim in the strong music scene, which has brought recognition in publications such as Hails & Horns, and Indie Vision Music.

Now, having signed with indie label Red Cord Records, Phinehas is preparing to release their first full-length album, entitled “thegodmachine” on June 7, 2011. The band is set for an extensive North American touring schedule in support of their new record. “thegodmachine” will be packed full of aggressive songs to the tone of “I Am the Lion”. Phinehas will also slow it down a bit in a few tunes that are rhythmic and dissonant. This, along with the signature solos, riffs, breakdowns and double bass is certain to make the album extremely dynamic. The concept of the songs arc into a story about how humans always make gods for themselves (godmachines) in petty things and allow these things to grow and destroy their lives, but God is faithful even when we are not. His true love is there throughout and there to redeem us when we turn back to Him.

View thegodmachine album teaser here

Phinehas is:
Sean McCulloch – Vocals
Ryan Estrada – Bass
Lee Humerian – Drums
Jason Combs – Guitar
Dustin Saunders – Guitar

Follow Phinehas:

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The bands for the annual summer long touring music festival, the Vans Warped Tour, have all been announced. Among the hundred bands, headlining the festival on the main stage will be The Devil Wears Prada and August Burns Red. Other bands of interest for our readers playing are Relient k, Family Force 5, Windsor Drive and The Suit. More info about this year's festival can be found on the Warped Tour site.
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Adam Young

Owl City (Adam Young) has announced that his new album All Things Bright and Beautiful will be releasing on May 17th through Universal Republic. The album's first single "Alligator Sky" is available now on iTunes, and takes a bit of a new direction for Owl City. The new album can also be pre-ordered here. In addition to that, Owl City will be heading out on the All Things Bright and Beautiful tour this summer with Mat Kearney and Unwed Sailor, and the tour dates are up right here.
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Strike First Records welcomes LA's Dynasty to the family. You can get a sneak peek of their debut album here:

Playing music together for the past 6 years in Los Angeles has prepared Dynasty to bring a fresh dose of west coast hardcore to the Strike First roster. Dynasty has reached back into the hard music archives and honed a revival of classic, driving hardcore in the vein of Terror and Madball. 

The band will be releasing their Strike First debut Truer Living With a Youthful Vengeance,  mixed and mastered by Paul Miner (H2O, Terror, Ignite), on May 24. Dynasty will be out promoting the new album with Call To Preserve on CTP's farewell tour this summer, dates TBA. Until then, you can see them opening night two of Facedown Fest, April 9th.
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The War Within Us

Artist: Onward To Olympas
Album: The War Within Us
Release Date: 3/15/11
Label: Facedown Records

Early last year, Facedown Records released the debut release from Onward To Olympas, titled This World Is Not My Home, which was a solid, and underrated, album. Now, over a year later, after the addition of a new drummer and guitarist/clean vocalist, the band is back with their sophomore album, The War Within Us. Besides some lineup changes, vocalist Kramer Lowe's growls have also gotten much deeper and angrier, which give the album a heavier tone. New clean vocalist Andy Simmons brings a lot more to offer as well. At first, I'll admit I was a bit skeptical of his vocals, thinking them to sound a bit too "scene," sounding like every other band out there, but on further listen, I can say that he has a better range than former clean vocalist Justin Gage.

The War Within Us opens up with "The Continuance," an intro track that, as its namesake says, continues through the slow riff heard on the title track on This World Is Not My Home, but adds in a marching-snare for good measure, which quite literally explodes, with a bass drop, into "The War Within Us," which shows off Kramer's aforementioned angry growls, contrasted by Andy's cleans, which come across a bit whiny in this song, and this song only. The chorus of "Revealing" contains a bold statement of "Take a breath and realize, this world is falling from, the only One we need." Southern metal sounding guitars start off "Hidden Eyes," which sounds like it could have been placed on their previous album, while the intro of "Seeker" is a slow guitar line that quickly builds up.

Both "Seeker" and "Structures" boast some killer solos, that metalheads will be sure to love, something that Onward To Olympas does not incorporate much into The War Within Us, but when done, are very high quality. Two tracks later, the album takes a brief time to slow down, with the heartfelt, worshipful "The March," a song that reassures that God will provide for us in our times of pain. The album's two heaviest tracks coincidentally follow, "Accuser" and "From The Mouth." The former of the two features great guitar work and effects, while the latter may just be one of the band's heaviest songs to date, and maybe their heaviest. After a few seconds of slow double-bass drumming, "Rebuilt" breaks open with a distorted growl of "resurrection!" Much like the closer of This World Is Not My Home, the song follows the same formula, and slows down after two minutes of in your face growling, into atmospheric guitars and an array of voices joining together, before a familiar marching snare comes in to end the The War Within Us, much like it opened it.

Overall: Onward To Olympas are back with their sophomore release, The War Within Us, and it shows a lot of improvement from their debut album. An unprecedented heavy romp that mixes brutality with clean cut melody, the band have crafted an album that is a step up from their already well done sound. Well a lot of the songs stick with the same song formula, some are a step outside of the band's usual sound, adding in a slower, ballad-type song, and some great solos to go along with the expected bass drops and heavy dose of growling. From the sounds of The War Within Us, Onward To Olympas have done something right, and can only get better.

Rating: 8/10

  1. The Continuance
  2. The War Within Us
  3. Revealing
  4. Hidden Eyes
  5. Seeker
  6. Structures
  7. Unsuitable Patterns
  8. The March
  9. Accuser
  10. From The Mouth
  11. Rebuilt
(Buy Here)

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The good people who run the annual Pennsylvania music festival Purple Door have announced a good deal of artists who are playing this year, that can be viewed below. We did a review of last year's festival, and this year looks even better! The location of this year's festival has moved, and there are plenty of other great new features for this year as well.

Artists confirmed for Purple Door 2011:

Aaron Gillespie
Abandon Kansas
Ace Augustine
As Hell Retreats
Deas Vail
Denison Witmer
For Today
House of Heroes
Jonathan Acuff
Joy Ike
Kevin Young (of Disciple)
Mike Mains & The Branches
Oceans In Love
Project 86
River James
Sent By Ravens
Sleeping Giant
Sons & Daughters
Talain Rayne
Texas In July
The Chariot
War of Ages
Windsor Drive
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Facedown is launching the second Young and Wreckless tour this spring featuring Onward to Olympas, Your Memorial, and As Hell Retreats. They will be joining up with the newest addition to Facedown, Gideon. Tour dates below.

Fri April 8 - Facedown Fest
Sat April 9 - Facedown Fest
Mon April 11 - Las Vegas, NV @ The Sanctuary
Tue April 12 - Orangevale, CA @ The Boardwalk
Wed April 13 - Provo, UT @ TBA
Thur April 14 - Arvada, CO @ The Shelter
Fri April 15 - Sioux City, IA @ Morningside Lutheran
Sat April 16 - Willmar, MN @ First Street Warehouse

w/GIDEON (no YM)
Sun April 17 - Springfield, IL @ Blacksheep Cafe
Mon April 18 - Tulsa, OK @ The Marquee
Tue April 19 - Terre Haute, IN @ THMV The Venue
Wed April 20 - Nashville, TN @ Rocketown
Thur April 21 - Little Rock, AR @ Downtown Music Hall
Fri April 22 - Waco, TX @ TBA
Sat April 23 - Plano, TX @ Eisenbergs Skatepark
Sun April 24 - San Antonio, TX @ White Rabbit
Tue April 26 - Defuniak Springs, FL @ Woodlawn Community Center
Wed April 27 - Fayetteville, GA @ 11th Hour Venue
Thur April 28 - Macon, GA @ The 567
Wed May 4 - Crofton, MD @ Macc w/Becoming The Archetypte
Thur May 5 - Lemoyne, PA @ Championship
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Artist: Aaron Gillespie
Album: Anthem Song
Release Date: 3/8/11
Label: BEC Recordings/Tooth & Nail Records

The genre of worship music is something that not all too many seem to openly embrace, perhaps being one of the less-accessible genres. When Aaron Gillespie announced that he would be doing a solo worship album of his own, I was a bit unsure what to expect, and after listening, I was a bit surprised. Anthem Song, Gillespie's debut, did not sound much like his other project, rock band The Almost, but instead, was much more stripped down, at times taking on a lighter pop rock sound, and others, an acoustic one, mixed in with some smooth piano strokes here and there.

The pop rock vibes are immediately shown on the album's first two tracks, "All Things" and a cover of Brenton Brown's "Hosanna," the latter adding in some alternating guitars and keys. Although I really enjoy these songs, and the following "Washed Away," I really think the beauty of Anthem Song are the acoustic offerings, specifically the reinvented hymn "Earnestly I See Thee," which is simple, but urges to be sung along with. The sleek rocker "We Were Made For You" has an unforgettable chorus of "You are God, You are God, we were made for You, just for You." "I Will Worship You" reminds me of one of the acoustic songs that Aaron has done in The Almost, starting out with just a strumming of an acoustic, but eventually building up into a majestic "Hallelujah, our God reigns!" The album's title track takes on the sound of an energetic CCM rocker, adding in some strings with a fast beating drum beat.

The album takes a turn on "You Are Jesus," hitting off with an indie-type sound, and some folksy guitar work, which encompass the downbeat song. The energetic "You Are My Everything" seems quite The Almost-esque, and is the last energetic song, before moving onto the ballad "Your Song Goes On Forever," and then to the album closing, acoustic gem "I Am Your Cup," an honest song, that finds Aaron completely stripped down, with a raw sound, that gives off an intimate, live feel.

Overall: Aaron Gillespie's take on a worship album, Anthem Song, is something to not pass up. A very refreshing album at the least, with brutal honesty that shows our need for God, we should all take part in joining into His anthem that goes on forever, and Gillespie only helps us to realize that. If you are a fan of any of The Almost's slower songs and either energetic or laid back worship music, Anthem Song is certainly worth the listen, even if you aren't a huge fan of worship.

Rating: 8/10

  1. All Things
  2. Hosanna
  3. Washed Away
  4. Earnestly I Seek Thee
  5. We Were Made For You
  6. I Will Worship You
  7. Anthem Song
  8. You Are Jesus
  9. You Are My Everything
  10. Your Song Goes On Forever
  11. I Am Your Cup

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NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 7, 2011 - Connecticut's spirit-filled melodic hardcore band, Life In Your Way, recently announced its reunion and partnership with Come&Live! Now, they're back with even more exciting news. They've confirmed the lineup. The following members will be collaborating on Kingdoms, the new album to be released in 2011.
  • Joshua Kellam- Lead Vocals (1999-Present; Vocals on all Life In Your Way Albums)
  • James Allen- Clean Vocals/Guitar (2004-2007; Clean Vocals and Writer for Ignite and Rebuild & Waking Giants)
  • David Swanson- Guitar/BGV's/Writer (2004-2007; Writer for Ignite and Rebuild & Waking Giants)
  • Todd Mackey- Guitar/BGV's (1999-2003 & 2007-Present; Clean Vocals and Writer for The Sun Rises)
  • Jeremy Kellam- Bass (1999-Present; Bass on all Life In Your Way Albums)
  • Andy Nelson- Drums (Andy is a long time friend and formerly the drummer for CT's metal colossus 'Wrench in The Works'.  Wrench was signed to Facedown Records. Hear Andy's drumming at )
From the band:
We are sad to part ways with great drummer and friend, John Gaskill.  John wrote and recorded both 'Ignite and Rebuild' & 'Waking Giants'.  John's relocation to his home in Virginia and several other logistical issues played into this difficult decision.  LIYW is stepping into a new season with Andy taking drumming duties. We are on good terms with John and wish him the best in all he does. 
You can reach out to each band member at the emails below or, for general inquiries, please
Thanks Everyone for the support as we write Kingdoms!
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Ad Astra Per Aspera (Amazon Exclusive Version)

Artist: Abandon Kansas
Album: Ad Astra Per Aspera
Release Date: 3/8/11
Label: Gotee Records

Hard work and devotion are exactly what it takes to make quality and real music. Abandon Kansas are no strangers to that statement. After touring extensively for years and putting out both a full length album and two EPs, one EP being released through the band's current label, Gotee Records, all in their time as a band, Abandon Kansas have brought us Ad Astra Per Aspera, a recollective work that recounts their career thus far, both lyrically and musically. Regarding the music section, the album brings some top notch indie rock to the table, complete with grooving bass lines and fanciful guitar work, that is sometimes energetic, and at others, takes a calming route that goes along with their pondering lyrics, written mainly by lead vocalist and guitarist, Jeremy Spring.

"Heaven Comes My Way" starts off Ad Astra Per Aspera with a lot of the aforementioned elements of bass grooves and danceable guitar lines. "Liar," a redone version of the band's older song "Minutes," completely remakes the song, adding in swaying, pulsating guitars and a guest vocal spot from Tim Skipper of House of Heroes. "Like It or Not" utilizes the use of keys, for a very upbeat song, and moves onto the smooth, laid back rocker, "The Golden State." One of the album's most lyrically intriguing songs, "A Conversation With The Sky," with the standout phrase "Change with the times, and you'll get left behind," as well as the chorus, that ends with "Color to my ears and music to my eyes."

Due to being a bit slower, "Where Else Can We Go" tends to get lost in the mix a bit, but is followed up by some surprising synths and even includes some horns, that are heard on "Take My Lead." The soaring "Wings (Fear of Heights)" is another lyrical highlight, which ponders "Would I sing if no one heard me? Would I pray if no one asked me to? Could I love if no one loved?" Guitarist Brad Foster does some vocals of his own on "Learn," also written by him as well, and has some group vocals as well, fairly reminiscent of House of Heroes. "Give & Take" is a sad song that has a twangy, bluesy guitar solo in it, and pleads to God "Can You restore what's been taken."

Overall: With such hard work, Abandon Kansas have brought us Ad Astra Per Aspera, a truly remarkable album. Grooving indie rock at its best, listeners should not just take away and get into the the musical aspect of Abandon Kansas, but their very pondering and retrospective lyrics as well,  that have deep meaning that should not be overlooked. All in all, Ad Astra Per Aspera is one that you won't want to miss.

Rating: 9/10

  1. Heaven Come My Way
  2. Liar
  3. Like It or Not
  4. The Golden State
  5. A Conversation With The Sky
  6. Where Else Can We Go
  7. Take My Lead
  8. Wings (Fear of Heights)
  9. Learn
  10. Give & Take
(Buy Here)

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When attempting to describe Becoming The Archetype's upcoming release, Celestial Completion, one word that comes to mind would be epic. And the album is exactly that. It has parts that you would expect and love from the band, where Celestial Completion also sounds like nothing else ever made, or that should be expected, from BTA. Sure, there are a few breakdowns and hearty helpings of blast beats and double bass drumming, but also diverse instrumentation like no other. An interlude made up of a Middle-Eastern sitar, choir-like vocals that accompany operatic vocals, and interesting flavoring of ska are only a few elements of the unique and eclectic sound offered on the album.

Don't get me wrong, Celestial Completion is not a bad album to any extent, which it's not, but is also one that isn't a classic on first listen, and takes time to digest, and realize all that Becoming The Archetype have added to their great brand of metal. This is a release looking forward to.
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Haste The Day's Farewell Tour with Mychildren Mybride, The Chariot and A Plea For Purging
March 4th, 2011 at The Lost Horizon, Syracuse, NY

It was rather shocking when Haste The Day announced that they would be disbanding this past November, after a farewell tour in late winter/early spring. Starting at the end of January, the bands on the tour have been trekking all throughout the states and Canada on the tour, going through bad weather the whole way, and on Friday, March 4th, the Farewell Tour stopped in Syracuse, New York, at The Lost Horizon. After seeing both Haste The Day and Mychildren Mybride last year there, I was familiar with the smaller venue, and looked forward to a killer show.

After a good (two and a half hour) drive to The Lost Horizon, I finally arrived, about 20 minutes before the show was set to start. When I walked in, I heard what was a local band on their last song, with rapid double-bass and high, shrieking screams. Meanwhile, I realized that the venue had been renovated since I had been there going on a year ago, adding in a section of restaurant-like booths, that were located right next to the merch area, allowing for fans to hang out with the bands. I also noticed that among the band merch tables that were there, The Chariot was not one of them. I then talked to Robert from Mychildren Mybride, and found out that the axle on The Chariot's trailer had broken, and that they were still up in Canada, but had left about 20 minutes prior and were planning on making the show, but nothing was guaranteed. Soon after, A Plea For Purging took the stage.

This was technically my first time seeing A Plea For Purging, but I did catch the end of their set at Purple Door Festival this past summer, playing "Malevolence." The first thing that I took notice of were how heavy A Plea For Purging were. Their bass player John Wand had his bass up loud enough that it shook up the venue, and certainly my bones. They played a set of mainly songs from The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, such as "And Weep" and "The Fall," but closed with "Malevolence," off Depravity. They also incorporated a question and answer segment into their set, towards the end. The only downfall of the set, was that guitarist Blake Martin's clean vocals were barely audible on "The Fall," due to being drowned out by his heavy riffs and frontman Andy Atkins' growls. Nevertheless, they put on a good set.

At this point in the show, I was unsure of what was going to happen, as The Chariot were scheduled to play this slot of the tour, after A Plea For Purging and before Mychildren Mybride, but the band were not there. A few minutes later though, Mychildren Mybride started setting up, and I wondered if The Chariot would still make it. Soon after though, the opening sounds of McMb's "Terra Firma" started to swell, before finally bursting into a breakdown. The band then tore into one of their most noticeable songs from Unbreakable, "On Wings of Integrity," and then went onto "Crimson Grim." Lead vocalist Matt Hasting then at one point walked past the stage and onto the crowd, who remarkably held him up. He then said "This one's for all the metalheads out there," and then the opening riffs of "Faithless" became evident. The rest of their set was solid as well, playing more from their debut album on the second half of their nine songs, but included "Hooligans," before ending with "Verses" and "Headshot!," on which Hasting encouraged 50 stage dives, which was accomplished within the song. This was my third time seeing Mychildren Mybride, and I can honestly say that they are getting better each time, and put on a good show.

A good half an hour or more followed after Mychildren Mybride's set, allowing for many to hang out with the bands, and the wait paid off. Halfway through the wait, I was informed that The Chariot had indeed made it and would be playing for sure. Vocalist of The Chariot, Josh Scogin, stepped onto the stage, and proclaimed "This set is brought to you by the letters M.C.M.B.," as the band ended up using McMb's gear to play, because they left their trailer with their equipment up in Canada to make it to the show. Scogin then shouted out the name of the song they were about to open with, but I didn't catch it. As the first note was played, both Scogin, and bassist Jon "Wolf" Kindler immediately jumped into the crowd. It was amazing to watch them play with such energy and crazy antics, such as Kindler going through the crowd to a near-barren corner of the standing area and playing there on his own for a little while, and later, even dropping his bass into the crowd right in front of the stage. Another highlight of their set was when they played "The City," which was started with a slow screaming of "This is only a revolt," from the song's chorus, and then moved into the "rant" that is made up of the last half of the song, which was truly memorable to watch. The band also played another new one, "Calvin Makenzie," complete with the sampled '50s' country song bit about the band's home town, which they continued to let play even after the song was over. The Chariot lived up to their well-known live show for sure, and you really have to see them live to appreciate them, even if you are a fan of their recordings.

After a bit of a break, and time that I spent hanging out with some of A Plea For Purging and their merch guy, Haste The Day finally took their spot on stage and started with their usual opener, "68" from Dreamer, then ripped into the ferocious "The Place Where Most Deny." The classic "Blue 42" was played next, and had everyone screaming along to the song's main line, "burning bridges!". The band's great melodies were showcased on "The Minor Prophets," then "Mad Man." Front man Stephen Keech then asked the crowd to vote between them playing "Fallen" or "Walk On." To me, it sounded like nearly everyone voted for "Fallen," but they played "Walk On." A similar thing happened later, when asked to vote between the newer "Dog Like Vultures" or "Travesty," in which "Travesty" was chosen, over "Dog Like Vultures." The band played one of their bigger songs from Pressure The Hinges, "Stitches," another one that everyone sang along to, and then Stephen said, "This one's a slower one for the older people here to sway along to," before playing a favorite of mine of their latest Attack of the Wolf King, "White As Snow." Keech then went on to talk about the band's faith, and about Christians out there that don't love, and instead hate others, and that Haste The Day do not believe in that, but in the love that comes from Jesus Christ, and a lifestyle of loving others.

Right after, they played another classic, "American Love," which showed off some great harmonies between bassist Mike Murphy, Keech, and guitarist Scotty Whelan. After playing "Needles," they "closed" with "My Name Is Darkness," which was followed by a crowd chant of "One more song, one more song!" They came back out a minute after, and encored with "Chorus of Angels," on which Scotty Whelan's backup clean vocals were shown off, reaching a great range. The strong "When Everything Falls" was chosen to end on, and was quite a fitting way to end their set, and the last time I will ever see them live most likely.

With only this week left on their Farewell Tour, I would highly recommend you see Haste The Day, and their tour mates, if they are in your area, as it is one of the best shows I've been to in a while. Truly a memorable experience.

Set List:

A Plea For Purging:
  1. And Weep
  2. Sick Silent America
  3. The Eternal Female
  4. The Fall
  5. Shiver
  6. Malevolence
Mychildren Mybride:
  1. Terra Firma
  2. On Wings of Integrity
  3. Crimson Grim
  4. Faithless
  5. Lost Boys
  6. Boris The Blade
  7. Hooligans
  8. Versus
  9. Headshot!
The Chariot:
  1. Calvin Makenzie
  2. The Audience
  3. Teach:
  4. The City
  5. Daggers
(The Chariot played two others that I did not catch the name of, one being the opening track and the other coming in the middle of their set.)

Haste The Day:
  1. 68
  2. The Place Where Most Deny
  3. Blue 42
  4. The Minor Prophets
  5. Mad Man
  6. Stitches
  7. White As Snow
  8. American Love
  9. Needles
  10. My Name Is Darkness
  11. Chorus of Angels
  12. When Everything Falls
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Artist: Gideon
Album: Costs
Release Date: 3/1/11
Label: Facedown Records

Over the past few years, it has seemed as if Facedown Records has moved away from hardcore and more towards metalcore and deathcore oriented bands. I have heard this particular complaint quite a few times. A funny thing happened, somewhere along the way, the label managed to put out some great hardcore albums amidst the metalcore and deathcore releases. The latest of these albums, Costs, by Alabama-based band Gideon is perhaps one of the best hardcore releases of late.

Originally signed to Facedown's sub-label Strike First Records, the band was promoted to Facedown after the recording of Costs. This was a brilliant move, as Costs is pure hardcore heaven. At times, I hear similarities to more established bands such as Sleeping Giant, The Ghost Inside, Mychildren Mybride, Call To Preserve, and recently reunited legends Life In Your Way. Cheap, rip-off artists, Gideon are not, those similarities are just that, similarities. Gideon takes these similar sounds and incorporates them into a sound that is truly their own.

Lyrically, Gideon are a breath of fresh air. Their lyrics truly glorify our Lord Jesus and help build up believers. They are a pleasant surprise in a scene that more often than not has relied increasingly on righteous indignation. Some of my favorite tracks are "Unworthy," with a flawless combination of fast, heavy hardcore and excellent (non-whiny) clean vocals, "False Profits," with its speed and head bobbing induced groove, "Gutcheck," which is a hybrid of fast, old-school hardcore and the heavy breakdowns of modern hardcore, and "Brave New World," which features some great gang vocals and a deep death metal grunt.

Overall: With Costs, Gideon ride a fine line between faster, old-school hardcore and slower, heavier modern hardcore. They pull off the sound perfectly. It's no wonder that the band was promoted before the album was even released. To all of you pure hardcore fans out there, don't give up on Facedown just yet, because between Gideon, Call To Preserve, and Messengers, the label is still pumping out high quality hardcore. Suffice it to say, this band and this album are highly recommended.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by Matthew Alexander

  1. Costs
  2. Unworthy
  3. False Profits
  4. Gutcheck
  5. Foundation
  6. Brave New World
  7. Virtue
  8. Kingdom Minded
  9. Dreams
(Buy Here)