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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The Garden

Artist: sosaveme
Album: The Garden
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Label: None

So much music out there today lacks emotion, and instead is replaced with cookie-cutter lyrics and music, that some people eat up. And these days, it's great to see the creative band that breaks out of the norm and does something different. In fact, to say that indie rockers sosaveme thrive almost completely on honesty is no understatement. The band's new album The Garden really holds nothing back, and is full of no holds barred emotion, only found in the most genuine artists.

The Garden is a ten-track album, full of many different stories and introspection, analyzing different aspects of life, from lust to pain to grace. "Gentle Slope" kicks things off with a powerful and convicting indie rock energy infused with some post-hardcore charisma, and lyrics that talk of a man being tempted, while "Fall In Love" honestly pleas "my God, I want to find the end of me," accompanied by grooving percussion, guitars, and emotional vocals. While "Wolves" and "Wake Up" both pack in an aggressiveness, the title track, "The Garden," is a true shining point of the album. The song takes on somber tones, and a look on the garden of Eden, along with a crescendo that builds into a majestic gang vocal section of "You call me by Your name."

Two of The Garden's highlights are in fact the album's closing two tracks, the first being "Sender/Receiver." The song features a guest vocal spot from Mike Mains of Mike Mains & The Branches, who shows off his passionate vocal style, contrasting with Nicholas Pidek's soaring range. The closing "More in Us" is a slower song, with minimal instrumentation, only one guitar in fact backing Pidek's vocals, telling a story of hope amidst the pain of loss, a moving piece that will be sure to tug on the listener's heartstrings.

Overall: sosaveme are one band that you need to know. The emotions painted throughout The Garden are in hues of honesty, a pure yearning for hope and redemption among the broken-hearted. This indie rock four piece seem to have emerged out of seemingly nowhere, despite The Garden being their fifth album, and so skillfully capture the mind of the listener, and pull on emotions hidden deep inside. To simply put it, The Garden is one album you don't want to miss this year.

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by Brooks Ginnan

  1. Gentle Slope
  2. Fall in Love
  3. Wolves
  4. Wake Up
  5. Tides
  6. The Garden
  7. Wasteland
  8. Autumn Leaves
  9. Sender/Receiver (featuring Mike Mains)
  10. More in Us

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Come&Live! have just recently welcomed Levi The Poet into their community of musicianaries. Levi The Poet has been an underground spoken word poet over the past few years, touring with the White Collar Sideshow, appearing on numerous albums, such as In The Midst of Lions' The Heart of Man, and has also released a solo album as well, Werewolves. On November 22nd, Levi The Poet will be releasing his first new project in over two years, an EP titled Monologues, which can also be pre-ordered from Levi as a limited edition package, including a handmade EP, shirt, and poster, which can be found here.
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From Indian Lakes just recently released a brand new acoustic EP on their Bandcamp, which can be streamed and purchased here. The EP contains some old and new songs, done acoustically for this release. Joey Vannucchi, From Indian Lakes' vocalist, will also be going on tour shortly with Abandon Kansas' Jeremy Spring on The Living Room Tour 3, an acoustic tour of house shows all across the midwest and west coast. More info and tour dates for The Living Room Tour 3 can be found here.
Mychildren Mybride Post New Studio Video

Mychildren Mybride are currently in the studio with Zeuss, who produced Texas In July's new album, and they are recording a brand new self-titled release out early next year. The band's bassist Joe Lengson has been filming a series of short studio videos for the new album, and the newest one, titled "2," can be seen below. Mychildren Mybride are also heading out on a fall tour with Within The Ruins starting next month, and dates for that can be viewed here.

Haste the Day - Haste the Day vs. Haste the Day (DVD/CD)

Artist: Haste the Day
Album: Haste the Day vs. Haste the Day
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Label: Solid State Records

June 29, 2010 was a special day in Haste the Day history. Not only was it the release of their fifth (and what would become last) album Attack of the Wolf King, but it was also the day of their CD release show for said album at Rhino's in Bloomington, Indiana. However, this wasn't just any CD release show, this concert was Haste the Day vs Haste the Day, it would mark the first time that that original line-up played a show together since December 30, 2005. The show was recorded for a live DVD/CD combo.

There are some differences between the DVD and the CD portion of the album, one example is that the CD features a pre-recorded introduction whereas the DVD goes straight into the adrenalin pumping opening track "68". The place goes crazy as Stephen and the boys then follow it up with the crowd favorite "Pressure the Hinges". Stephen then asks the crowd if they want to hear Jimmy scream some stuff, and the crowd goes crazy. When the opening guitar riff of "Blue 42" starts and Jimmy walks out onto the stage the intensity is instantly cranked to 11. Fans were stage diving all over the place, and hanging from the rafters, the band actually had to stop so they could warn people not to hang from the rafters. The band and Jimmy sounded like they never stopped playing together, I was surprised at how tight they sounded. Stephen came out and helped finish off "Fallen" because Jimmy was lost amongst the fans. Stephen keeps the intensity going with "The Minor Prophets" before a hauntingly beautiful acoustic rendition of "Autumn". Jimmy comes back and sings "The Closest Thing to Closure" and "Walk On", and then Stephen takes over. Stephen settles into his role and shreds through the songs "White Collar", and "Needles".

One of the biggest differences between the DVD and CD is about 46 minutes into the DVD new drummer, Giuseppe Capolupo has a killer 90 second drum solo, which is not heard on the CD. Following this the new line-up plays two new songs from Attack of the Wolf King called "Travesty" and "Dogs like Vultures". Jimmy comes back out and talks about the history of Haste the Day and their love of our Lord. The original line-up plays "American Love" before Mike Murphy, the only original member left in the band, screams "Substance". The final track is "When Everything Falls" which Jimmy and Stephen scream the entire song together, it's a fitting end to such a special show and still gives me goosebumps.

Overall: The show was more-or-less a greatest hits showcase featuring four songs each from Burning Bridges and Pressure the Hinges, three songs from When Everything Falls, and two songs each from Dreamer and Attack of the Wolf King. The DVD quality was hit-or-miss, the three or four main camera views were pretty good, but the handheld views were blurry, out of focus, and kind of annoying, The sound quality of the DVD was very good for a low budget live album, except my constant complaint of too much fan interference, and providing of their own vocals. Also, the CD quality seems to be a touch lower than the DVD. With the hindsight that Haste the Day will never play a show together again this is a good way to relive it. Having been at the show, the combo pack doesn't do it justice, but do they ever? This was also my first time ever seeing the band with Stephen and he blew me away. His stage presence and interaction with the fans was phenomenal. This will get a higher rating just because the original songs are so awesome, and the live performances raised their intensity another notch.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewed by: Michael Small

1. 68
2. Pressure the Hinges
3. Blue 42
4. Fallen
5. The Minor Prophets
6. Autumn
7. The Closest Thing to Closure
8. Walk On
9. White Collar
10. Needles
11. Travesty
12. Dogs like Vultures
13. American Love
14. Substance
15. When Everything Falls

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A Plea For Purging are a real hardcore band, in the purest sense. Always connecting with fans, touring hard, and releasing a new album year after year, the band just continue to mature and grow with each release. Now, their upcoming album, The Life and Death of A Plea For Purging is on the horizon (with a November 8th release date), but despite the title, A Plea For Purging are not slowing down anytime soon. Below is our conversation with guitarist/clean vocalist Blake Martin, which took place at this year's iMatter Festival, where we discussed the new album, touring, and why the band aren't done yet, despite the new album's title. (Interview took place on September 3rd, 2011)

 Interview with Blake of A Plea For Purging (Pt. 1) by Christian Rock Rocks 

 Interview with Blake of A Plea For Purging (Pt. 2) by Christian Rock Rocks 
Close Your Eyes Release "Valleys" Video

Close Your Eyes are currently premiering their new music video for their new single "Valleys," which comes off of their sophomore release, Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts, out this week via Victory Records. The video can be seen below.

Immortal Souls - IV: The Requiem for the Art of Death

Artist: Immortal Souls
Album: IV: The Requiem for the Art of Death
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Label: Facedown Records

Christianity and European death metal don't mix. Well if you're Immortal Souls you disagree. The band mixes traditional death metal with a creepy winter vibe to it to make what they call "winter metal". As the title suggest this is the fourth full-length album by the band, and is full of technical guitar work, and some amazing death metal screams.

Musically, the album is so technical in nature with some amazing guitar work. The band uses the instruments to give of the winter-esque atmosphere that would constitute as winter metal. The album starts with Act I of a three act musical number entitled "Art of Death Act I: Soulbells" as the title suggest there is a lot of Gothic church bells ringing with a guitar riff playing behind it, the same riff will be featured in the other two acts as well. The album immediately kicks into a face-paced, guitar driven track, "Evil Believer", which also features some killer drumming throughout. Aki uses his signature deep death metal growls throughout. About 2:00 into the song there is a very nice guitar solo, and then the song dies a little and Aki whispers something before the song kicks back into gear. The album continues on this chaotically rapid pace through the lead single "Nuclear Winter" which is an iconic death metal song, with the drummer going crazy at the beginning, and Aki's slow growls and then kicking into his more traditional style. The pace doesn't let up until "Art of Death Act II: The Last Journey", which features the same guitar piece heard at the end of Act I, this time without the bells. Then comes the track "Reek of Rotting Rye" which starts with a super heavy guitar riff, before the guitarist just starts to shred away, and the rapid pace of the album is back. "The Last Day on Earth" has a nice guitar riff in it, mixed with some super heavy drum beat, which makes it more like a deathcore song, than death metal but it still works so well with the rest of the album. The album finishes with "Art of Death Act III: The Requiem of the Funeral Eve" which once again has that same guitar piece in it, but this time it doesn't stop there the music picks up into this very melodic dark and heavy piece, and then it stops and there's this soft music playing again, the song becomes a bit of a roller coaster or more like a whirling snowstorm of slower melodic sections and chaotic metal sections before ending with the same bells that started the album.

The lyrics of IV use several elements of the wintry feel to bring the emotions of a dark time, like a cold winter's day. One example of the wintry elements being used as metaphorically to convey a much deeper message would be in the song "Nuclear Winter"; "After the fall where do you crawl when lights are dim/After the sin nuclear winter bleak is the and the end is nigh/After the fall a new winter dawn" it symbolizes the dark times of a sin-filled life, and how bleak it is for a person trapped in that dark, cold lifestyle. Aki's vocals are classic death metal vocals, but they sound so good nonetheless. His voice adds another atmospheric depth to the dark, cold, miserable feelings of a long winter.

Overall: This is a very good album from the best Christian European death metal band around. The technicality, and tightness of the album is superb. If you love guitar solos, you'll love almost every song on this album. I went into IV thinking it was going to be another Wintereich type album, but there is a whole new level to the talent on this album, thus making IV Immortal Souls best album to date.

Rating: 8/10

Recommended Tracks: "Nuclear Winter", "Last Day on Earth", and "Reek of Rotting Rye"

Reviewed by: Michael Small

1. Art of Death Act I: Soulbells
2. Evil Believer
3. Nuclear Winter
4. I Wept
5. Absolution
6. Art of Death Act II: The Last Journey
7. Reek of Rotting Rye
8. Last Day on Earth
9. Hypnotic Atrocity
10. Thoughts of Desolation
11. One Last Withering Rose
12. Art of Death Act III: The Requiem of the Funeral Eve

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October 17 - Glam metal buzz band BLESSED BY A BROKEN HEART are back with their first new material since 2008's Pedal to the Metal (Century Media), a pulse-raising, headband-inducing, '80s-influenced rock assault entitled Feel The Power, available in stores and online January 24th from Tooth and Nail Records.

Today, starting at 5pm EST, the band is excited to give fans a chance to feel the power of Feel The Power by offering a free download of lead track 'Deathwish' in exchange for a tweet. Fans simply need to retweet a message about the song, and in return they'll receive a free download of the track.
Fans can visit here to spread the word after 5pm EST:

"'Deathwish' is a runaway train on full steam," explains guitarist and British newcomer Sam Ryder. "It's a full metal juggernaut of rapid fire riffs, mental baselines and supermassive vocals courtesy of [vocalist] Tony Gambino and myself. The song is the story of a mother's struggle with substance abuse - locked in the vortex with her life in the balance."
BBABH drummer Slater will appear on TVU Live's RadioU from 4:30-5:00pm EST to debut the single just ahead of when fans can get ahold of it. Fans can listen in at:

Formed in 2003 in Montreal, Canada, BBABH released its first album - All is Fair in Love And War - a year after its inception. 2008 saw the release of Pedal To The Metal on Century Media Records, which was followed by years of incessant touring throughout the US, UK, Europe, Japan and Australia alongside the likes of JUDAS PRIEST, A DAY TO REMEMBER, BRING ME THE HORIZON, MEGADETH, STEEL PANTHER and more. 

Like any artist with a notable body of work, BLESSED has experienced a near constant evolution over the past eight years, in some part due to lineup changes, but mostly due to a stylistic progression away from pure metalcore in favor of more traditional metal and hard rock. One listen to Feel The Power will confirm that not only is this not the same band that recorded All Is Fair, but that that very fact is their saving grace. Staying ahead of the curve and distancing themselves from the pack is the key to BLESSED BY A BROKEN HEART's longevity, and the reason the new album will resonate with even the most veteran headbangers.

"'Deathwish' is a deep song to come out of the gate with, but it's gonna turn heads for the right reasons," says Ryder. "The record may not come out until January 24th, 2012, but starting today everyone will begin to 'Feel the Power'..."
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Check out Ryan Shelley, an indie/folk worship artist from Florida, who has shared the stage with such artists as Aaron Gillespie, The Ember Days and Ascend The Hill. Ryan has recently released a new full-length album, Sights & Sounds, on iTunes, and you can preview some new songs at his website or Facebook page, which also contains tour dates and more info on Ryan's music.
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Your Memorial will be heading out with Sovereign Strength, Fall In Archaea, and As Hell Retreats this November for a tour that will span the US.

Your Memorial will be touring in support of their 2010 release "Atonement." Partial proceeds of the Hope for the Nations tour dates will benefit Hello Somebody to help feed starving children.

Hope for the Nations tour

w/ Sovereign Strength (Mediaskare), As Hell Retreats (ANGR), Fall In Archaea (Mediaskare)
Nov 11 - JohnstownNY @ Anthony's Pizza
Nov 12 - BuffaloNY @ Broadway Joe's
Nov 13 -  DaytonOH @ The Attic
Nov 14 - LouisvilleKY @ Sanctuary Music Venue
Nov 15 - St. LouisMO @ TBA
Nov 16 - SalinasKS @ Indian Rock
Nov 17 - DenverCO @ The Marquis
Nov 18 - OgdenUT @ Mojo's Gallery
Nov 19 - St. GeorgeUT @ TBA
Nov 20 - Canoga ParkCA @ The Cobalt CafeTurkey Fest
Nov 21 - BakersfieldCA @ The Dome
Nov 22 - FullertonCA @ TBA
Nov 23 - MesaAZ @ The Underground
Nov 25 - AlbuquerqueNM @ El Rey Theater
Nov 26 - LubbockTX @ TBA
Nov 27 - San AntonioTX @ The White Rabbit
Nov 28 - HoustonTX @ Caines Ashes
Nov 29 - MetairieLA @ The Cypress
Nov 30 - JacksonMS @ The Safehouse
Dec 1 - MobileAL @ TBA
Dec 2 - West Palm BeachFL @ The Speakeasy
Dec 3 - TampaFL @ Transitions Art Gallery
Dec 4 - JacksonvilleFL @ Murray Hill Theater
Dec 5 - ColumbusGA @ TBA
Dec 6 - DouglasvilleGA @ The 7 Venue
w/ Fall In Archaea, Mercy Screams (Red Cord)
Dec 7 - CharlestonSC @ TBA
Dec 8 - Wilimington/Jacksonville, NC @ TBA
Dec 9 - FredericksburgVA @ The Refuge
Dec 10 - LynchburgVA @ Crosspoint Venue
Dec 11 - ToledoOH @ Frankie's Inner City
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Artist: Blessthefall
Album: Awakening
Release Date: October 4, 2011
Label: Fearless Records

In 2009 Blessthefall proclaimed “We’re not dead!” and I believed them, replacing a lead vocalist is hard to do but they pulled it off. Here it is 2011, and they’re calling their new album Awakening, and this time I’m not buying it. The band has been the same for it’s entire career except Beau replacing Craig on the last album and the new rhythm guitarist on this album. Just like the members haven’t really changed, neither has the band.

The album opens with another little track much like the last album did, with the same four lines or so repeated a few times before kicking into the body of the album. Musically this album is about the same as the last album. It’s good, generic metalcore music. There’s nothing really special or stand-out about the music, they play what most scene bands play, and they do it well. Not saying the bands not talented, just that there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of originality in the music. Regardless, the music still does what it’s primary purpose is, and that’s get the listener pumped. Their breakdowns are very good, as they’ve always been. The band has also lost some of the keyboards/synthesizers from the first two albums, which in my opinion shows some of the weaknesses in the rest of the bands instrumental material. If you go the digital iTunes route you get the dubstep remix of “Promised Ones” by Big Chocolate. If you like dubstep, check this out, it’s a pretty cool dubstep remix of one of the better songs on the album.

Lyrically, the band has made improvements. They’ve gone back towards more faith based lyrics, which is a very good thing. The song “Promised Ones” to me shows some of this movement “Don't you know/We are the promised ones and nothing's in our way/They can try but/They'll never stop us/Tell all our enemies we're ready for the war/We've been here and we'll never die.” What it says to me is that tell all of those who oppose us who live under God’s law that we won’t back down from our beliefs and we will never die, because we've been granted eternal life. The band even touches on the fact they strayed away from what they once stood for on the song “The Reign”; “I swear that this time it's real/I promise that I will keep true/My heart belongs to you/My heart belongs to you!” Beau’s vocals aren't the greatest on this album, but they’re not horrible either. The clean vocals sound like every other band signed to one of the major metalcore labels out there. I enjoy the lyrics, but other than that the vocals are just average, and Beau seems to have lost a little something on his screams.

Overall: This album is a step down from their previous album, which was incidentally enough a step down from their debut album. There’s nothing special about this album, and it is easily forgettable. In the three and a half years since Beau has joined the band, they haven’t shown any real signs of growing as a band, they’re comfortable with the sound they have, and it seems don’t want to see it change from that too much if at all. It’s sad to see once a band gets some national attention that they fall into making the same album as before, and I feel this is what’s happened to Blessthefall. However, the album was better the second and third time around than it was the first, so maybe it’s one of those albums that will grow on you over time but I doubt it.

Rating: 6/10

Recommended Tracks: “Promised Ones”, and “The Reign”

Reviewed by: Michael Small

1. Awakening
2. Promised Ones
3. Bottomfeeder
4. I'm Bad News, in the Best Way
5. The Reign
6. 40 Days...
7. Bone Crew
8. Don't Say Goodbye
9. Undefeated
10. 'til the Death of Me
11. Flatline
12. Meet Me at the Gates
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Artist: Switchfoot

Album: Vice Verses

Release Date: September 27, 2011
Label: lowercase people records

It’s amazing what independence can do for a band. Since forming their own label, lowercase people, Switchfoot released the Grammy award winning Hello Hurricane in 2009, and just released what many people are considering its companion album, Vice Verses. Whilst recording their previous album the band mentioned they had four albums worth of music, they wanted to release. Instead they went back into the studio and recorded their eighth studio album, and focused on each individual song until it was what they considered perfect.

Vice Verses is more of a drum/bass driven album than Hello Hurricane, but at the same time it contains the overall vibe from that album. It’s refreshing to see such a huge band like Switchfoot not make the same album over and over again. Where Hello Hurricane was more laid back on most tracks, Vice Verses is the opposite, it’s more of a rock album with brief breaks for the Switchfoot staple softer song. You get both sides of what the band has become in recent years, and then they throw you a curveball. The band experiments with some Beck vibes on songs like “The War Within” and especially the super-raw, amazing song “Selling the News”. The music on Vice Verses is quite diverse and possibly some of the best playing I’ve heard from the band in their fifteen year career. From the opening riffs of “Afterlife” you know you’re in for a big rock song. The song takes on an almost Bon Jovi-esque stadium rock feel, it’s just such a big sounding song. The next song takes on a more upbeat tone to it with awesome musicality, and another dimension of Jon’s vocals. From the opening of the third track, you know this song is going to be like nothing you’ve heard from the band, and it really shows off the focus on the rhythm section of the band. It’s also one of the strongest tracks on the album. ”Blinding Light” starts off with this funky little riff and then it disappears and shows up a few other sections of the song, but the song turns out to be a soft song that reminds of The Fray meets One Republic. Then comes the climax of the album, the track “Selling the News”, on this track the band experiments with those Beck sounds, and they nail it! The song is probably the best Switchfoot song I’ve heard, and sure to be one fans talk about for years to come. Most of the rest of the album settles into the Hello Hurricane sound with the softer songs, with the exception of the lead single “Dark Horses” which a radio-friendly mainstream song, not that that’s a bad thing, but for once the lead single isn’t the strongest/best song on the album.

What can you say about Jon Foreman’s vocals after all these years, they’re always about the same right? Wrong! Granted many of the songs, feature the vocal style we’ve all come accustomed to with the band, but there are several songs where he pushes the boundaries of what he can do with is voice, and almost every time it pays off. “Selling the News” features Jon almost rapping his lyrics, which may be some of the most powerful I’ve heard, his voice is just so raw with the emotions he’s conveying through the lyrics. It’s simply amazing. He kind of does the same on “The War Within” which features a vocal style which is hard to explain, other than just listen to it, and you’ll love it. As far as lyrics go they’re what you’d expect from the band. They’re good but nothing really spectacular. There are however some lines that really stick out to me, for example the opening song “Afterlife” has the lines “I've tasted fire/I'm ready to come alive/I can't just shut it up and fake that I'm alright /I'm ready now /I'm not waiting for the afterlife”. I love how it’s basically saying that there is no better time to make right with God and accept Him as he accepts us, don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t wait until the afterlife. The lyrics of the entire song “Selling the News” really speak to me with the raw emotion, and critique of what America has really become but the one line that really hit me like a ton of bricks is “suspicion is the new religion”, because a lot of Americans have become like that during recent times and events.

Overall: I didn’t think Switchfoot could do better than Hello Hurricane, and I’m still not 100% sold that this album is better than that album, but is definitely tied at least. If you put Hello Hurricane and Vice Verses together you have a masterpiece. The more I listen to the album the more I fall in love with it as a whole. The focus on the bass/drum section is refreshing and makes for a very good and solid rock album. The experimentation with some other vocal styles was a very welcome aspect of the album, not only did the band try something new but they blew it out of the water. The lyrics for the most part are ok, but there are some exceptions like I said. “Selling the News” should go down in history as the best Switchfoot song of all-time. Vice Verses will absolutely make several apperences in my CD player, as well as a much deserved place on my top albums of 2011. Do yourself a favor, and go buy both Hello Hurricane and this new album, Vice Verses because they’re the perfect compliments to each other.

Rating: 8/10

Recommended Tracks: "Afterlife", "The War Within", "Selling the News", and "Dark Horses"

Reviewed by: Michael Small

1. Afterlife
2. The Original
3. The War Within
4. Restless
5. Blinding Light
6. Selling the News
7. Thrive
8. Dark Horses
9. Souvenirs
10. Rise Above It
11. Vice Verses
12. Where I Belong

A Plea For Purging Post "room for the dead"

A Plea For Purging have posted another new song from their upcoming album, The Life and Death of A Plea For Purging, titled "room for the dead," which can be seen below in the form of a lyric video. Their new album is out November 8th through Facedown Records, and can currently be pre-ordered here.

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Children Of Fire

Artist: Oh, Sleeper
Album: Children of Fire
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Label: Solid State Records

The most compelling bands can always create music that really grabs the listener's attention. It's a fact. Oh, Sleeper are one band that have always proven true to that statement. In a world of unoriginal music that lacks substance, Oh, Sleeper just can not resist making metal that really shakes things up. Like on prior albums, frontman Micah Kinard's brutality shows, both vocally and especially in his honest lyrics. In fact, Children of Fire is another concept driven album, and like Son of the Morning, is driven through highs and lows in different musical fashion. Children of Fire is not just an album, but also a gripping story, of a darkened world with no apparent hope, with two main characters: one a so-called "religious zealot" and his daughter, an athiest, both of which who go through life-changing times in their life, one on a hopeful path, and the other not as bright (but I won't spoil the story for you).

On the musical side of things, Children of Fire is easily Oh, Sleeper's most dynamic album yet. Besides the highly technical guitar work and heavy breakdowns that we've grown used to from the band, this album also shows great diversity in its melodic parts, with two acoustic tracks, and plenty of great clean vocals from guitarist Shane Blay. Blay's vocals have gotten even stronger since Son of the Morning, and really shine this time around, working cohesively with Micah Kinard's commanding, ferocious growls.

To highlight only a few songs on Children of Fire is somewhat hard to do, but some of its strongest points come on these four songs: "Endseekers," "Hush Yael," "In The Wake of Pigs," and "Chewing The Stitch." "Endseekers" opens up the album quite literally with a bang (on the drums), leading into a breakdown, and even some gang vocals, which should make the song a live favorite. "Hush Yael" is a chilling song to accompany a dark story, and has dueling vocals between Shane and Micah. The album's two strongest songs however are "In The Wake of Pigs" and "Chewing The Stitch." The chorus of "In The Wake of Pigs" features a resounding "You are not alone in the eye of the darkest storm," which really carries the song. The guitar work of "Chewing The Stitch" is very melodic and technical, encompassing the powerful lyrics of "You are the new sign of proof, a calloused heart can still be reached. Stand and believe that it's true, you hold the voice to change the sea."

Overall: In a great year of heavy music, Oh, Sleeper only contribute to the list of quality releases with Children of Fire. One of the best metalcore releases I've heard in a while, the album is no doubt the band's most dynamic work to date, with a gripping concept, and music that accompanies the story's highs and lows. Children of Fire is one solid album that you don't want to miss, and hopefully you've heard it by now, but if not, do so.

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by Brooks Ginnan

  1. Endseekers
  2. Shed Your Soul
  3. The Marriage of Steel and Skin
  4. Hush Yael
  5. The Conscious Speaks
  6. Dealers of Fame
  7. Means To Believe
  8. In The Wake of Pigs
  9. Claws of A God
  10. The Family Ruin
  11. Chewing The Stitch
  12. Children of Fire
(Buy Here)

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Mat Kearney

Mat Kearney recently recorded a new Daytrotter session, which can be listened to and downloaded for free right here, which features his hit single "Hey Mama." Kearney is currently on a headlining tour with support from Thad Cockrell's new band, Leagues, and the tour dates for that can be viewed at this location. Young Love, Mat Kearney's new album, is in stores and online now.
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House of Heroes are debuting their new Halloween-themed love song, "Lovesick Zombie," right now at Alt Press, in the form of a lyrics video. "Lovesick Zombie" will be available on iTunes and AmazonMP3 starting October 18th from Gotee Records.
Abandon Kansas Debut "Like It Or Not" Video

Abandon Kansas have just posted their brand new music video for the song "Like It Or Not," which was filmed by In The Boat Productions (members of Showbread), which can be viewed below. The song comes off of the band's album which released back in March, Ad Astra Per Aspera, which is in stores and online now via Gotee Records.

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Florida's post-hardcore act Holding Onto Hope return this week with a new album after two years, a self-titled release, that will be sure to tug on the listener's heartstrings. The band's vocalist Anton Kellner took the time to go in depth about the album's ten songs, and the concept of the self-titled album. Be sure to check out Holding Onto Hope, and download their brand new album as a free gift from Come&Live! today.

Old Voids: This track pretty much is where the story begins. The target is at the darkest state in life, not knowing God or caring to. This target is particularly drifting along the lines of atheism, and conjuring so much hate for the world around him. He is the "carrier of poison" so to speak.

Hollow Vessel: "Hollow Vessel" is about being trapped in literally a self-made "hollow vessel." It's about feeling empty, feeling that there is no hope. No matter what scripture, words of encouragement, or positive advice are thrown at him, he refuses to let it affect him (in a good way that is).

Low: In this track, the target's brain is starting to take control of his body. He starts struggling with nostalgia and being haunted by his past.

Mediums: As we continue on the journey, the target just keeps getting darker and darker. This track is about the target blaming God for all things bad. This is sort of an "if there is a God, he's doing a terrible job" type mock up. This is an almighty refusal to anything named holy.

Ourselves: This track hints out hope. The target wakes up during a melancholic dream and for some reason cannot move his body. He starts to feel rushes of goodness throughout his entire body, yet does not know why. As the track comes to an end, the target's "eyes finally open" and starts to realize that this so called "god" was not to blame... it was himself.

Forsaken: Take I: This track is the divider between the bad and the good. Throughout this entire song, the target is hearing God's voice and it's simply saying "let me carry you."

The Indication: This is where the target starts to fight against what he now realizes was the devil.

A Momentum: In this track, God is telling the target to focus on letting go. The target still has some "poison" in him, so the healing is not yet complete.

Forsaken: Take II: This is God's voice speaking in metaphor, telling the target to "leave this town," and let go of everything that he has ever known bad.

Don't Grieve For Me, For Now I Am Free: Nothing bad breathes forever. This track is where evil reaches a cessation. This is the conclusion to the story. In this song, the target has released every last drop of "poison" for the ghosts and all things dead. Light starts to fill his eyes and he sees God's physical being. He is now a believer.
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A Plea For Purging have announced their first headlining tour of 2011 "The Life and Tour of A Plea For Purging." They will be touring in support of their new album The Life and Death of A Plea For Purging which will be released November 8. You can pre-order the new album now.

Oct 29 - Nashville, TN @ Rocketown
Oct 30 - Chattanooga, TN @ The Warehouse
Oct 31 - Memphis, TN @ Escape Alley
Nov 1 - Raleigh, NC @ Tremont Music Hall
Nov 2 - Virginia Beach, VA @ Club Relevant
Nov 3 - Annapolis, MD @ Knights of Columbus
Nov 4 - Lemoyne, PA @ The Championship
Nov 5 - Dayton, OH @ The Attic
Nov 6 - Louisville, KY @ Encounter Church
Nov 7 - Evansville, IN @ The Hatch
Nov 8 - Goshen, IN @ Goshen Theater
Nov 9 - St Paul, MN @ Station 4
Nov 10 - Sioux City, IA @ The Underground
Nov 11 - Wichita, KS @ TBA
Nov 12 - Little Rock, AR @ Downtown Music Hall
Nov 13 - Tulsa, OK @ Marquee
Nov 14 - San Antonio, TX @ White Rabbit
Nov 15 - Waco, TX @ Art Ambush
Nov 16 - Fort Worth, TX @ Tomcats
Nov 17 - Mobile, AL @ The Indie Spot
Nov 18 - Savannah, GA @ City Church
Nov 19 - Douglasville, GA @ The 7 Venue
Nov 20 - Jacksonville, FL @ Murray Hill Theatre
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Sinai Vessel is an indie rock project, mainly driven by Caleb Cordes, with a mission: to make deeply personal music with a goal of  touching the listener. A passion for God is knitted into Sinai Vessels lyrics, intertwined with the joys and pains of life, shown on their upcoming full length release, Labor Pains, which will be out on October 4th. Labor Pains can currently be streamed at the band's Bandcamp, and the first single from the album, "Vows," is also available for free download. Give Sinai Vessel a listen, check out Labor Pains, and take in the beauty found in its music and lyrics; you may just find something special.
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Our friends over at Indie Vision Music have just released a new compilation, which is a bit different than their usual free downloads. It is titled Passionate Hope Vol. 1:  Songs of Worship and features some great worship music from artists such as Cool Hand Luke, Esterlyn, My Epic, and The Ember Days, in addition to new music from upcoming bands such as Oceans & Vessels, Standing Small, and Sinai Vessel to name a few. Passionate Hope is available now as a completely free download right here. Give it a listen, and let us and IVM know what you think.