When I have the chance, I write music reviews for Indie Vision’s website. Here is a compilation of what I have done so far…
The Echoing Green – This review is in response to a Facebook post I had made a month or so ago on a review I had done on here. The gentleman I had spoke with & I have a lot in common, including our passion for Christian EDM. Joey Belville & company IMHO brought the fledgling Christian electronic/synthpop rock genre to fruition. Several other artists involved in the genre ie Painted Orange, Sheltershed, LZ7, Capital Kings & World Wide Message Tribe, etc… I remember owning Scott Blackwell’s Myx Records release Defend Your Joy back in the mid 90s & I was ecstatic. Dance music could rock & be prayerful at the same time! I selected Suffer per the lyrics & I used to play this when I DJ’d live at events back in the day. BTW, the band name is in reference to a poem by William Blake.
Shiloh is my absolutely fave dance/DJ band of all time. Forming under Shilotrance probably in the late 90’s, the Canadian Moreh brothers have an extensive catalog which a good chunk of it can be found on Beatport’s website. Their music can mostly be found as MP3 singles/vinyl, but they ended up releasing 2 physical LPs: Bleed & Elements which are very worth checking out if you are into this musical genre. I have had the privilege of conversing with Justin over the years through social media & he sent me Shilohtrance’s whole back extremely rare back catalog which had been released on the old mp3.com days. Their actual genre realms in mostly progressive house, but originated obviously in trance. They mostly delve in originals, but are very well known for their remixes as well. The SOTD is one of those as they have collaborated with Luke Chable several times. Out of the close to 150 songs I have from them, this is the one that has stuck as my fave over the years. It’s a great driving song & surpasses all others (but not by much) in my humble opinion. You can check out them & other EDM/Urban Christian music on my 24/7 station www.castingsuchathinshadow.com from 4-7pm CST. Here’s to hoping the brothers release more music in time. Time to chill
Flight 180 – Does anyone remember the swing revival back in the early 2000s? Bands such as The Deluxtone Rockets, The Dingees & Denver & the Mile High Orchestra were very common on alternative/rock Christian radio stations. Flight 180 was one such band who went by a couple name derivatives including several lineup changes over the years they were in existence. I think this is another genre that Tooth & Nail innovated in the Christian music industry. I’m pretty sure they took their name from the Final Destination first film. Their style was a mash up of swing, punk & ska. Their one & only music video Tick Tock made me wish they had done more in that arena. They also featured 2 female vocalists that was uncommon. The SOTD is a fun energetic song that speaks of love & hoping to keep the relationship going & relying on God for help.
Sanctified Sister – This review is in response to a Facebook post that I was following on Christian bands that others may have not heard of. This is one of those rare hard to find any info on the web bands that I bring to the IVM table. They seem to have been a side project of x-Deliverance members Jim Calvert & Justin DeTie which makes sense considering the release date & Jimmy P Brown producing. I waited for many years before dishing out the funds to buy the Hybrid release on Hour House Records (which from memory was one that dealt with dance music). Anyways, the music is basically grunge on the softer side of things with some industrial influences. Enjoy
The Devil Wears Prada – This review is in response to one of my fave metalcore bands that I just noticed having reached enough popularity to find themselves on Radio & Records Mainstream Rock chart. Other bands who have started in the Christian arena & found their way on the same chart are Underoath, Beartooth, Wolves At The Gate, Love & Death, Chevelle & Skillet to name a few. There are many valid arguments on Christian vs mainstream routes, but my take & honest opinion is that I like the exposure. The aforementioned bands had been in their respected scene for years before they found this much recognition. Granted, rock music is not all that popular anymore (just take a listen to any Top 40 station). TDWP quickly rose to my top 10 metalcore bands when they released Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord with their raw energy & funny Youtube videos (random people making lyric videos on what they think the singer is saying instead of the actual lyrics!) They are also a great live band so catch them if you get the chance. It’s also nice to see Solid State Records getting the much deserved exposure. My dream job would have been to work with Tooth & Nail since the 90s when Wish For Eden’s cassette tape came out!
Children of the Consuming Fire appear to have risen from the southern California Vineyard ministry with their record label housing alt-rock bands such as Asight Unseen & The Violet Burning. This SOTD has a live video you can find on Youtube as well, but was hard to catch the music atmosphere. The band did not catch much airplay that I remember, but with the cool bass line and the driving music, I really dig the band & song name. I think the band had a fun time on this track. Hope you do also! But, for a disclaimer, the band sound is not speed metal (at least for the rest of the tracks), but is more akin to 90s modern rock.
Choo Choo Pye (a la The Wait) may have a funny sounding band & album name, but their music reminisces this reviewer of greats such as Midnight Oil, The Call, or Cloud Merchants. Composed of 3 members, the band seems to have hailed from California. The early 90s vibes are definitely there & they achieved Christian radio history by having the highest debut entry by an unsigned artist on the most awesome Pure Rock Report Multi-Format chart. They have a music video for their song U.S. Plan, but today’s SOTD is extremely catchy & is an anti-racism anthem.
Calibretto 13 – Cowpunk (punk music w/ acoustic guitars instead of electric) is such a thing & Calibretto 13 did it well if I might say so. Green Day was probably the most popular band that dabbled in the genre, but MxPx & Officer Negative’s side project Zippy Josh & the Ragtag Band also played it in the quasi-Christian arena. Tooth & Nail Records’ Calibretto has some great songs with their most famous being High Five which featured quirky lyrics about being friends even if people do not agree. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Christian Hate Mail whose lyrics serve as a stark reminder that we are the body of Christ & should act as such.
Forfeit Thee Untrue: South Africa’s Forfeit Thee Untrue is a metalcore hybrid with clean & unclean vocals that have their own unique sound. I like many South African bands including The Awakening, Neshamah & Tree63, but FTU (as opposed to TFU-Training for Utopia-catch the reference?!) has quickly risen to my top 5 for that country. Originally started as a 2 piece, they have evolved into 3 as 4 others have come & gone. They are currently signed to Rottweiler Records & this review is in hopes that their new album will be released soon I was going to review the Pantera-esque Halo Crippled (released in October 2019), but looks like one was already done last year. Anyways, Cradles is a great song that plods along with metalcore riffage & a melodic chorus. Check out the lyrics video below.
Our Eternity: Fit For A King vocalist Ryan Kirby (band whom is on my bucket list to see live) & Currents guitarist Chris Wiseman (whom I have seen live last year) have teamed up for this new band Our Eternity. Starting with a keyboard intro then crescendoing into almost a black metal scream before erupting into a metalcore verse complete with clean & unclean vocals is how this barnburner rolls. To hear this & other loud music, tune in to the Castingsuchathinshadow radio show on Ripper Radio from 6-7 pm CST. Below are the lyrics
Tragedy Ann: Much like the song Hey Gene by The Choir, this song is an homage to the late Gene Eugene who fronted mainly Adam Again, but also conspired on various other projects. Tragedy Ann’s band members have risen from the ashes of one of my fave 90s bands Sometime Sunday (especially their Stone release) & then went to start a rock ‘n roll worship band literally called The Rock & Roll Worship Circus. This song reminds us to be humble no matter what our profession is and inspire others to look to our Saviour Jesus.
Re: Zound Formed under the name Switch in 1997, Arizona’s Re:zound switched their name after finding another band w/ the same name. Ironically, there is a current pop/synth Christian band also called Switch! Well, Re:zound is one of those rock bands that turned into primary worship music before most had. Their second LP Re:Worship was released a couple times w/ new tracks added & is actually really good w/ great tracks such as Majesty, Great I Am, & one of my fave worship songs of all time In This Place. Their first release sported a few singles including Angel & this featured one called Breathe which housed a version where the vocalist growled!
Temple Of The Times Blacklight Records Californian Temple of the Times was a 2 man fare that released an EP & several remixes of the song featured here. Anthony Roberts & Bikos have created an industrial EBM laden hybrid which will surely be enjoyed by those into the softer industrial/darkwave genre. I actually played a track of their EP on my latest Ripper Radio show. Beware, the song is different from my normal spectrum & will appeal to fans of Skinny Puppy, Circle Of Dust, Argyle Park, etc…
Silverstar was a 4 man band that released one LP. The electronic influence is surefire & the guy who provided it ended up starting another one-off project titled Gathering Of Souls. The song featured here has a Smashing Pumpkins vibe & has been featured on a Ballistic Test Productions comp & even a HM compilation. I love the lyrical portion where the vocalist sings “I Stand free in Jesus’ name!” at 3:03. It can be pretty hard to find information on many of these older releases so feel free to chime in if you know more about them. BTW, There Are Angels Among Us is the name of the compilation, not the song itself.
Underoath It was inevitable for me to write the review on one of my fave songs of all time. This band brings back so many memories for me. I first heard of them through an indie Christian online radio website out of Florida (no wonder I know!). I was stationed as an active duty soldier in South Carolina, Back in those days, they were dabbling in unblack metal with great full lengths/EPs Act of Depression & Cries of the Past. I bought a drum set shortly afterwards! I have seen them live multiple times & crowd surfed, but was stuck on duty once & actually spoke to guitarist Timmy before one of their shows in my old stomping grounds Columbia, SC once. There was a venue called New Brookland Tavern that I was at probably at least every other weekend for 3 years & hung with many various band members over the years. Well, those days are long gone & the band went & changed genres stylistically & lyrically. Today is my 43rd birthday & I still miss the old days with Dallas & Aaron’s solo worship music, but Spencer has done an excellent job as the band forayed into the more mainstream. It was very weird seeing Underoath on the secular music rock charts let me tell you! If there ever was a band I would join, Underoath would have been it. Maybe i should look for band members in rural Bloomington/Normal Illinois who actually listen to this genre & play instruments to start an Underoath homage band! The live video here sounds great sonically & showcases my fave drummer of all time Aaron!
Eternal Decision had gotten some flack about sounding too much like early Metallica (a la ED’s song Hunger) just like another metal band, Jesus Freaks. I don’t mind because a lot of music sounds like so & so. This song, pulled from their 1997 Godfather Records S/T, in particular was destined to be a fave of mine because of the Scooby Doo intro! I’ve even had some Facebook conversations with vocalist Joe Chambless & drummer Bill Meeks some years ago. Some other bands the members were in worth checking out are Awake which does 2 greats More Like You & Carry Me along with a more laid band rock band Veehr that has the catchy Everyone. Love the lyrics “Jesus took my place on the cross”.
Veni Domine I admit, in spite of my wide voray into the annals of endless genres of Christian music, I did not familiarize myself with the progressive, doom or power metal genres until recently. Yes, I liked some songs from what I would later come to realize as these styles such as Fourth Estate’s instrumental Poet’s Lament & Paramecium’s I’m Not To Blame. I have since grown fond of greats such as Theocracy (my personal fave), Narnia, ReinXeed (who do fantastic covers), Golden Resurrection, etc… Sweden’s Veni Domine (Latin for Hear My Prayer, O Lord) plays a mix of the aforementioned genres & there is no denying lead vocalist Fredrik Sjöholm can sing. Eli Lema Sabachtani has always struck a chord with me, perhaps the sonic sounds of the swirly guitars or his powerhouse vocals & remains my fave. Check it out & these insightful lyrics as they seem to mirror my own thoughts on my life: I’m addicted To the stress on this planet So much I need to know I’m addicted To just scratching the surface Emotions put on hold Deep dark eyes are surfing the net It’s not me, it’s my silhouette Spirit’s shy I wonder why Eli lema sabachtani Wind will cry as we deny Eli lema sabachtani I’m addicted To be seen as a winner An infection in the brain I’m addicted To the news that delivers Hell and massive pain A feast for evil, mankind sleeping Far beyond our walls they’re weeping
Chaotic Resemblance Oklahoma’s Chaotic Resemblance plays music reminiscent of 80s hard rock/glam metal. This review is in high expectations of their upcoming release which will probably sport their most current single Unto The Lamb which features Stryper’s very own Oz Fox who has undergone some health issues recently but is recovering. Plus, they just have a cool name & my buddy Kelly & I got the chance to see them live a couple years back before this whole Covid hit. They have new pretty cool t-shirts as well on their site: https://chaoticresemblance.com/collections/all Check out these partial lyrics to my fave from them thus far. This Is The Sound, This Is The Sound
This Is The Sound Of The Saints Can You Hear, Can You Hear This Is The Sound Of The Saints I Will Live For You I’ll Never Retreat No Matter The Battle No Foe I Will Flee I Will Live For You I’ll Never Retreat Not Matter The Battle I Will Not Flee And Where Is The Body That Slaughters Their Sheep
Children Go Hungry No Shoes On Their Feet Spirit Of Addiction, Depression, And Strife I Bind You In The Name That Brings Healing And Life
The Beautiful Mistake California’s The Beautiful Mistake is one of my faves from The Militia Group label which sports greats such as The Rocket Summer (whom I’ve seen live!), Copeland, Brandtson (whom I’ve also seen live!) & Acceptance, just to name a few. Their most recent 2020 release, EP You’re Not Broken, I Am, continued the post hardcore/emo trend they became known for. They have played a few Christian fests including TomFest back in 2002. The following is my fave from them and I dare say dabbled in the math rock genre. Check out these profound lyrics: I never said I’d prove it, I only said I’d show it
I gave you my all, but you wanted more Lost on the inside, filling up the score I remember playing that one. It’s stuck in my head Over and Over. I took and you bled I never said I’d prove it, I only said I’d show it I gave you my all, but you wanted more Lost on the inside, filling up the score I am impatient. Misunderstood What ever it is, I’ve got what it cured To your arms I run. My own life, it crumbles No longer am I damned. No longer do I stumble I remember playing that one. It’s stuck in my head Over and Over. I took and you bled
Massivivid Ever heard of Deitiphobia? Massivivid is what became of Wally Shaw’s (founder of Deitiphobia) musical endeavours. Likened to Nine Inch Nails, the music is more guitar driven than his previous. I remember hearing Wally’s music back in the mid 90s & loved the song Red Society when industrial was at its peak in the mainstream. My email address back then was even industrial_remixx! Well time has progressed & Massivivid even won a Dove award in the Christian market with 1998s Hard music Album of the Year. This release’s record label, Tattoo, also brought us B.U.C.K which I wrote a review a few weeks ago. Several C.S. Lewis inspired quotes are included on the album as well. Their follow-up reminded me of Marilyn Manson (musically) to a degree & had greats such as Boomerang & All The Rage. I chose this song because of its heartfelt lyrics. Jesus paid the way & did it all. Nuff said. Check it out This world crucifies you again and again
I’m trying hard to escape the influence of sin You offered your blood and i ran with your pain
Though i rejected you, You’d do it all the same if i asked you to Your hand has always been upon my head You’ve always been there just like you said It hurts less to live when i give in And in you arms tonight i’m forgiven Forgiven because your grace says I don’t need to wonder why You destroyed the walls i built by giving up your life Consuming fire come quickly For i long to see your face I know i need you now I don’t understand it Why your love just will not die I will seek your face Receive your grace I know you’ll draw nigh If i ask you to I can’t comprehend your generosity You don’t owe me anything yet You give it all to me if i ask you to
Mortification So this review is partially due to a music review veteran Kevin Crothers’ latest top 10 video for Mortification on his YouTube channel in lieu of his White Throne Metal Radio show. I myself, have been a die-hard Morty fan since probably circa 1996 when a friend of mine in high school gave me ripped copies of Circle of Dust S/T, Mortification-Best of 5 Years & Sixpence’s This Beautiful Mess. I know, a rather all over the place in genres! I really dug Morty’s sound. At the time, the heaviest stuff I had ever heard (& still pretty darn heavy) was from Living Sacrifice’s Darkened & Crimson Thorn’s Your Carcass. This cassette tape opened my ears to what Christian heavy Godly music could be. I’ve been hooked even since & will defend to this day that there is a lot of Godly Christian metal music out there with great lyrics. Standing is probably my fave due to the personal lyrics from Steve Rowe & the bass line. I had learned to play this & was stoked to learn how to play this heavy of a tune. Influence is also fun to play! Steve is a fantastic bass player & vocalist. He smiles a lot during his performances also! The other interesting tidbit on this specific release is it was put out by Nuclear Blast which released unblack Horde’s release on a label that was known for satanic releases. Have a listen & crank it up!
With Open Eyes I dig most “core” music genres, & there are tons of them (metalcore, screamo, nintendocore, etc…). One of my faves is electronicore which fuses unclean (growled or screamed vocals) with clean & double bass pedals & a lone keyboardist (which this song has the perfect mix of imho. Formed in Rock Hill, SC, at a pentecostal church, WOE i one of my friends son’s band. My friend Paul Gaskin is the youth & children’s pastor of the church which is also known for a Helloween event that showcases a “haunted house scenario”, but shows how life’s end can be very scary without our Saviour Jesus. During college I studied to be a television reporter & actually did a story on the yearly event which you can find on my YouTube page. Anyways, hope you like this video and song. It was filmed at the Upper Room Chapel which is a replica of the one in Jerusalem. I also happened to be on set when this video was shot. Be prepared to have a new fave heavy song & check out their LP To Start Again.
Miss Angie Turner is the given name for soloist Miss Angie who has been releasing music since 1997. She was married to Oran from Johnny Q Public (whom I saw back in probably circa in their hometown of Springfield, MO). 2 LPs were released in the 90s that went to the Christian market. Consisting of what I would consider 60s esque/bubblegum/hard alternative rock music, the music was hip & akin to Veruca Salt or what I think Avril Lavigne would have made if in the Christian market. Angie’s backing band at that time consisted of a guy whom I went to church with growing up: Chris Shandrow (Simple Mystery, The Frantics, Goodbye Audio). Over the years, she has changed her hair color & style, but still releases music with a pop rock flair & appears (according to YouTube) to be gearing up for another release. Here is the song & video for my fave: Lift My Eyes
Jaded Thorns were a grunge band that hailed from New York . Releasing 2 LPs & disbanding, this was a band that I wished for more of. It is hard to find much on them as their record label did not last long. Both Epiphany & Things My Father Taught Me were on Word of Mouth (The Roosevelts, Sides of the North, Mending Point, Poor Man’s Riches). A few songs hit radio: Epiphany, Remnants, Lie Awake & Lost In The Moment & the one featured. The lyrics come straight from Psalm 130 verse 1: “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” Hope you enjoy as much as I have over the years.
B.U.C.K Starting this new year off right with some fun ska music from B.U.C.K. (building Up Christ’s Kingdom) aka Buck Enterprises. This Detroit, MI six piece band released a few albums before disbanding. I remember writing a college paper on ska & B.U.C.K would be classified as 3rd wave ska. Their 1998 self-titled release featured more horns than the second & featured a cartoon character which appeared to be skanking in a raincoat while holding up a checkered black & white ball which are the normal colors for ska music. Their record label at the time, Tattoo Records, was home to awesome bands such as Common Children, The Choir, Between Thieves & Massivivid (Deitiphobia). With so many ska bands around at the time, this one fared better than many. With songs like Why Won’t Josh Dance & Samaritan, one can tell that this band is a mix between fun & faith. The song Next from their S/T has some provocative lyrics that I’ve pondered since the day I first heard it. Lately I’ve been thinking about the games I play And how He gave Himself away And what it means to me Lately I’ve been dreaming about the way He loved And the way He suffered for A wounded world that won’t believe Sometimes I’m ashamed about the things I say And the things I see me do
And how they seem so far removed Sometimes I hang my head like the walking dead When I dare to ask myself What would Jesus really do He is alive in us Jesus loves the hurting ones What’s next? Reaching hands out to the helpless Fill pockets of the poor What’s next? Giving mercy to the sinner Forgiving a little more What’s next? Touching those untouchable Healing the leper’s sore
What’s next? Loving those unlovable Or what is love good for