2021 IVM Reviews – January-September

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…

Moral Support were an Irish new wave band that brought the genre to Christian rock in a more open manner around the world. This song is a bit quirky to me (imagine that when we’re listening to new wave!). Hope ya like it

Cry Mercy was a groove metal band hailing from Australia signed to Steve Rowe’s record label. I remember hearing them on a compilation put out by Rowe Productions & loved this song. The album didn’t fare well, but might have done a lot better if it came out back in the early 90s instead of 1996 like it did.  Also check out D.A.M.

Shade was a post grunge band in the same vein as 12 Stones, Day of Fire, etc… I can’t find much about them, but also check out their amazing song Case from their first LP Middle of Somewhere.

Microskapic (also seen listed as Microscopic) was a quirky Christian rock/reggae/ska/punk hybrid band that started on Travis Wyrick’s Rugged Records label. They seemed to have only released 2 LPs before disbanding. Other than that, good luck on finding much about them.

Beekin was a rap/modern rock hybrid that hailed from Tennessee. They released one full length 2009’s All That’s Left Behind which sported the single Take Everything, but also has a decent cover of Mister Mister’s Broken Wings.

Kronicles was a nu-metal/modern rock band that changed their style to dubstep rock. I dig the change & hope you like this one also.

My Epic is great live. They are also an emotional post hardcore band that hails from North Carolina whose lyrics seem to pour from a longing to understand Jesus. I am not going to write much on this epic band as IVM already did an interview that you can check out here https://www.indievisionmusic.com/interviews/my-epic-3/

Akeldama is a Christian arena rock band that released their self-titled release in 1996. Think Warrior, Blood & Fire, Krush or Laudamus to get a feeling. Anyways, had a really hard time finding their music, but was able to speak with the bassist/vocalist on social media who subsequently sent me a few of their songs. “Akeldama” is actually the Aramaic name for field of blood which is where Judas hung himself after betraying Jesus. Anyways, this song speaks of a girl who is going the wrong direction away from YHWH & the singer is crying out for her to wake up & come back to Jesus.

Point of Recognition was a metalcore/spirit filled hardcore band that changed their sound after their Admiration of a Son LP.  The band came onto the scene when Underoath was still in their early days & No Innocent Victim was huge. TBH I never did care for their muddy hardcore sound after Admiration. This SOTD was chosen due to its sound & great lyrics, but also check out Return to Strength, A Path Unknown & Unlawful Burden.

Broomtree is a modern rock band from a small record labelled called Rustproof that brought us Polarboy, Send the Beggar & a few others. Vocalist Kylie has a distinct voice that sill reminds of a few 90s female fronted bands. Reckless is from their 2nd LP which has a more polished sound to it & contains some thought provoking lyrics.

Hope Kills Fear hails from New York City & started in the mainstream when a few members came from another band. The band’s name comes from a fan of the band when their vocalist saw the phrase on the fan’s Myspace page. Although they have shared the stages with mainstream artists, the band is most definitely Christian based. Besides this inspirational SOTD about surrendering to YHWH & to “destroy the thing you’re running after”, check out Save Me

Fight the Fade is a modern rock band from Tulsa, Oklahoma that remind me of a harder edge 7eventh Time Down for some reason.  The band has released 5 albums thus far & several catchy singles including some amazing songs including Rise, Seasons, Lanterns, Falling & some great covers from Adella, Linkin Park & this SOTD from Echosmith.

White Heart -Is there something that you’re holding onto that you need to let go?  I think we all have felt that from time to time as Christians as YHWH continuously works on us. White Heart was an amazing rock band that had a plethora of members & albums. I actually worked with Rick Florian’s son a few years ago! Anyways, today’s SOTD was chosen as a reminder of the joy of letting go of what hurts us/holds us back from the potential that YHWH wants for us. The band has an outstanding discography, but never won a Dove award which is basically the Christian equivalent of a Grammy & it’s a shame so be sure to check out the rest of their discography.

AsFireFalls formed as a electronicore band with a softer edge. Hailing from Idaho, the 3 piece (which apparently started out as 4 members) has released an EP & numerous singles that have aired on Christian rock radio stations/shows. Branson is so darn catchy that it was just itching to be a SOTD. Also included is a live video & their website.

Eight28 is the band that formed after the modern rock Human disbanded. From what I understand, their original singer Randy sang vocals on many of the songs that would become the full length Systems Down released on Cul De Sac Records in 2001, but left the band shortly thereafter. Another singer whom I have spoken to a few times on social media, Marshall Mcluhan, ended up singing for a short time & the N.A.G song is on his 2017 album. It also seemed appropriate to run this SOTD on August 28 (catch my drift lol)!

Officer Negative is hxc punk at its finest imho. The Californian band even recently re-released some stuff last year from my recollection& I was able to buy a JCHC t-shirt! I am still stoked lol!. Anyways JCHC stands for Jesus Christ Hardcore & is an in your face about such. After the band disbanded, they formed a couple of other bands including hxc Hit the Deck metalcore The Death Campaign Project & cowpunk Zippy Josh. Below are its lyrics as well as a live video:

Altar Boys are a long running (formed in 1982) (punk) band whose very existence is a huge force in how our Christian punk subgenre has come to be. Mike Stand & company have done a wide variety of genres including modern rock (see my Clash of Symbols review) & rockabilly. There is a plethora of AB’s songs that I could have done for this SOTD, but 1000 Miles is about how Jesus loves us & is patiently waiting for us to turn to Him no matter how far we feel or seem to have gotten from Him.

Big Methuselah is the Texan Christian rock band from North Carolinian Ted Pearce who has done a few different genres including world & trance goind under such monikers as Phatdawg & also hung out with Joel Chernoff of the epic Messianic Jewish group Lamb. Nuff said lol! Anyways, this song is about the fight we have with ourselves & our sin nature. The video is hilarious imo but it is grainy & feels like it was amateurly made. This song actually made it into the Guinness Book of World Records on a compilation cd that was the longest of all time. It also appears that a couple of the band members played in Dan Phillips church who himself was a member of  CCM group Philips, Craig & dean (who does an awesome song called I Want To Be Just Like You).

Kenny Marks is an epic singer/songwriter IMHO & I have owned several of his heartfelt discography over the years. He first came to my recognition with his song The Party’s Over back when my generation had cassette tapes. Then he came out with the phenomenal LP Another Friday Night. Every single last song on it was mind blowing & I was hooked. Today’s SOTD is actually the 3rd part of a 4 part song series on a relationship that started with Growing Up Too Fast & ends with Fire of Forgiveness which is what his story is all about. Kenny was a friend on my social media accounts for many years & tragically passed in 2018.

Goodnight Fear is an indie alt-rock pop band from Ohio. For the longest time I thought the band’s name was Ex-Nihilio which was actually the name of their debut EP. This is one catchy song that makes you want to sing-a-long & generally puts me in a good mood. Although this song released in 2016, they came out with a new one this past May called You Got Me ( I Got You).  Hopefully you dig it!

When Hearts Fail was a metalcore band that was signed by Red Cord Records which seemed to be the “Christian” subsidiary of Victory Records. I have always liked this song & it means a lot to me when I am going through things with the reminder that it will be alright because I know my Saviour Jesus is bigger than my problems. The band seems to have disbanded with members joining another band called Arcomplex. Riyl: any clean metalcore band.

With Shaking Hands is a Texan electronicore band sounding akin to Aviadora, Aliens Ate My Setlist or mainstream bands Attack Attack or Sky Eats Airplane. The genre incorporates electronics to make metalcore songs sounds poppy lol! This SOTD was released as a signal but be sure to also check out their songs Sons & Daughters and Arma Lucis. Be prepared to dance while headbanging!

Awake is the 2nd reincarnation of the heavy metal band Eternal Decision with an alternative rock band Veehr being the third. I looked for this & another called More Like You for years when I ended up having a conversation with one of the band members. The awesome dude sent me the mp3s of the whole album & I was stoked! A Few years later it appears YouTube has finally gained a couple fan made videos of the song listed here today. Anyways check out this one & More Like You which was a really hard choice to come to between the 2. Also check my SOTD for Eternal Decision also which I wrote circa 6 months ago or so.

Circle of Dust, aka Brainchild, aka Scott Albert, aka Klayton, aka Celldweller, aka a plethora of other names has been around since the early 90s. I have been following Scott’s music career since then & receive emails from him at least bi-weekly. The guy is a mastermind, but a jack of all trades, master of none (if you catch my reference!). Currently he works a lot with FixT records which basically does a lot of “industrial” artists & makes tons of video games soundtracks. This reincarnation was I believe his foray into the secular industry as was using the Brainchild moniker when it was released as the disc titled Mindwarp on R.E.X. Records & re-released recently. I am pretty sure most know of Scott’s perfectionism & you can follow his remasters of his first S/T album on his Bandcamp page.  Also be sure to check out the Telltale Crime video & remix & also Deviate which found its way onto TV. 

Blackball is the reincarnation of Precious Death which was a funk alternative grunge band that had a decent following back in the 90’s. Their first LP 1996’s Blackball is the reincarnation of Precious Death which was a funk alternative grunge band that had a decent following back in the 90’s. Their first LP 1996’s Super Heavy Dreamscape was a very appropriate name for the album as was a lot heavier in tone than their follow-up. Vocalist Chris Scott has a very distinct voice that seemed to crossover from grunge to funk very easily. Hope you like this song as it remains one of my faves to this day. And happy birthday to my sister who is an outstanding wedding photographer!

Wage War is a newer band in my collection. Disclaimer-They seem to be a quasi-Christian band as has had not too much recognition in the Christian market, but I have seen their videos that hint at the subject. Other bands that fall in the quasi category are Memphis May Fire, The Devil Wears Prada, Gideon, etc… Anyways, this song is so darn catchy & just happens to be one I can relate to. Just know that in Jesus, anyone can change if they let the Holy Sprit lead. I am pretty sure most have known someone who seemed to be beyond reach, but Jesus has touched their heart & we can see the change found only in giving the issue(s) to HIm.

Fireflight is one of the bands that each cd they have come out out with, there is always one that stands out the most to me. Dawn Michell’s voice is just so Today’s SOTD is just that coming from 2009’s For Those Who Wait. Also, check out the original version of Serenity The Call, You Decide, Stay Close, We Are Alive. I have not heard much of their latest so I will be checking it out soon. This song is literally the one on my Facebook page it is so good. Check out the lyrics & the video which gives a deeper look into the band’s meaning behind the song.

The Call – I never did listen to this band when they were around, but caught up to them much later sad to say. This song has an awesome groove & is basically a worship song as shown by the lyrics below. The band got some mainstream success ban in the day when their song I Still Believe (which was also covered by Russ Taff) was in the vampire movie The Lost Boys Listed also is a live version just because 80s live videos are always a treat!

Dimestore Prophets – I remember seeing this band in Missouri I believe back in 1994 era.  The band signed my t-shirt which was the Love Is Against The Grain cd cover. The band released a few songs on Christian modern rock radio back in the 90’s, but today’s SOTD stood out for obvious reasons.

These 5 Down was an amazing nu-metal band that sounded akin to Korn. Their first cd was played so many times when I was stationed in the military. I even ran into a guy one time wearing the band’s t-shirt & we have been friends ever since. For like 20 some years now. The band members have stories to on their coming to Jesus so be sure to do a search on it sometime. This song Hymn was chosen simply because of its music & lyrical content as “All in the name of Jesus I bind you up” you don’t find everyday. Close contenders was Low(which has a video on it) & Forgiveness from their 2nd LP. And here’s to waiting in anticipation for a full length that was teased by the Second Coming single a year or so ago.

Vengeance Rising – Today’s SOTD recollects a simpler time when the Christian metal industry were not overrun with way to many artists to find the time to listen to. I think I bought Released Upon The Earth & Tourniquet’s Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance & Galactic Cowboys’ Space In Your Face the same day at a used record store in my hometown. I have heard of the band’s breakup & all the stories about Roger Martinez & I was one of the one whom he contacted with his play script that he wrote that was very unchristian, but this SOTD lyrics read like a worship song which is what we need to hear.

Secret & Whisper – Formed from the ashes of another Canadian band, Stutterfly, this band released 2 LPs that anyone who is into modern rock should own. Point blank. This band separates itself from the myriad of a modern rock band due its guitar tones & vocalist Charles Finn vocal stylings. Every single song they have done I like so don’t miss this way too short-lived band.

Between Thieves – A rock song about baptism is what this SOTD is referencing. And you can’t go wrong with that. Between Thieves were on the same record label as Common Children. It was hard to choose between this one & Kindle so hope you like this one.

Love Coma – Chris Taylor is a mainstay in the music industry. He started off on vocals for this band that also consisted of Matt Slocum who would go on to work with Sixpence None The Richer. Texan Love Coma was indeed an alternative rock band when the term meant something. They released 2 LPs (Soul Rash & Language Of Fools) in the 90s before Chris went solo. They ended up releasing another back last year in 2020, but I did not see much recognition from the release. If you like this song check out my other faves Heart Wide Open & Entertainment Tonight. Sorry about the grainy music video.

X-Sinner This is one of my favorite rock songs of the 80s. X-Sinner’s sound was akin to ACDC or Def Leppard soundalike, but that doesn’t mean they were a clone of either mainstream band. They had an area rock sound w/ a blues twist. Check out others by them that are a must have for any classic Christian rock playlist: Medicine, Walking Evil, Don’t Go, Lift Him Up or Accountable. TBH I did not care much for their later stuff after their first 2 LPs. To me this somber SOTD hits with a punch & probably always will.

Number One Gun California’s Number One Gun started as a full band, but over the years became a solo project for vocalist Jeff Schneeweis. I remember their songs On & On & You Fail Sometimes back in the day & knew this was good music. Bands like Anberlin & Project 86 ruled the Christian “radio” waves back then. Jeff also does some catchy solo stuff so check him out. This song is so darn catchy & reminds me of a yearning to get back right. Also added a live version.

Fever Fever Catchy indie rock is what this band is all about and they hail from Columbus, Ohio which is the home of many amazing artists.. Another great one from them is Hypnotized which has a music video so be sure to check it out. They haven’t released anything since 2014 , but their website is still up & running. Here’s to hearing new stuff from this band.

Last Day Rising is an actual rock band from LA whose 4 band members released one S/T EP back in 2015. This SOTD is very catchy & IU had the chance to communicate with one of the band members on social media right when this song was released. The lyrics below remind me of a person’s desperate cry to God for help to change from sin & their need for YHWH’s help. Very encouraging at least to me.

The Clergy Pulling from the archives, Oregon’s The Clergy had a sound that was a cross between the Go-Gos & old skool punk rawk. With only one album under their belt & songs on several compilations, this seemed to be a one-off in Christian music. One of the band members even went on to start the quirky art rock band Yum Yum Children who found themselves eventually on 5 Minute Walk records. I remember this song on an indie college rock station that played Christian music every once in a while & has stuck with me as memorable over the years.

3 Days Under With the band name pulling from Matthew 12: 40, 3 Days Under is a hard rock band from Kentucky that is not ashamed of the Gospel. Today’s SOTD is my fave from them, but their song Mended comes in at a close second. They also just released a new single called Bleeding Through on March 21st, 2021.

The Calicoes are a fun rockabilly/psychobilly/surf rock band with a sound akin to Ruby Joe & mainstream band Social Distortion. Hailing from Texas, one can find their one full length, EP & single through Velvet Blue Music. As far as lyrics, they are atypical of the love lost variety. Hope you like the sound & if you do check out the instrumental Rice Burner.

Ravenhill is a soulful blues rock tinged band hailing originally from southern Illinois. Nearest mainstream bands would be The Black Keys or The Ranconteurs. My son Tyler & I had the pleasure of chilling with vocalist Joshua Clifton a few times locally at a music festival called Audiofeed & seeing them live.  To be honest, there are several great songs I could have chosen with this band, but another album review was done on Soul & Midnight Gold deserves some recognition! Anyways have fun with this rocker that eludes to our freedom in Jesus as only He has the cure for our sin-His forgiveness by His death burial & resurrection.

Rich Mullins Indiana’s Richard Wayne Mullins is a vital part of the Christian music industry. Besides penning & performing one of the best worship songs of all time, “Awesome God”, he also was a very talented musician who was proficient with the piano & the dulcimer which can be heard on many of his songs. His first couple albums did not gather much radio play, but The World As Best As I Remember It Vol 1 & 2 garnished many songs heard all over the radio at the time. My first cd was actually his Winds of Heaven Stuff of Earth. His lyrics were provocative & focused on his faith (he grew up as a Quaker”. This review is also long coming as his death occurred about 10 miles from where I live. I was in the military at the time & missed his funeral, but his impact lasted on me for my lifetime. I also cannot leave out the Ragamuffin concept that I first heard of from Rich. Although he has many songs which I would consider as some of the best in CCM, today’s SOTD was picked partially due to its Resurrection day lyrics & how we don’t have to worry about this world’s fighting’s & struggles. No matter how it appears, Jesus still is alive & all will face Him one day & His love needs to shine bright in this darkened world.

Common Children Arkansas’ Common Children reminded me plainly of a cross between The Prayer Chain & Skillet. Why, might you ask? Well, CC has some serious ethereal atmospheric music akin to The Prayer Chain. And Skillet due to the obvious grunge influences and the three male band members when they first formed. Skywire came out in 1996 as did Skillet’s S/T. As far as the band’s name, well Jesus Freak Hideout’s site interview vocalist Marc & it is “because we are all common children in the sense that we all live together, in a broken world, in need of grace—beggars attempting to tell other beggars where to get bread.” I love this SOTD due to its calming sound and its very alternative lyrics: Check it out!

Must Build Jacuzzi – Peoria, Illinois’ Must Build Jacuzzi are a throwback to 90s era ska music. Having seen them multiple times, I can say they are most def a fun band to catch live. My son had fun the last time back in 2019 when he learned how to crowd surf at 12 years old! They also released a 2018 album right here on our own IVM. Check this SOTD & try to stop you head from bobbin’.

Aaron Sprinkle – The Sprinkle brothers are very talented & have been very busy in the music world. Just think about all the bands the 2 of them have played in: Poor Old Lu, Demon Hunter, Rose Blossom Punch, Fair, Blank Books, The World Inside, The Wrong Mind, Serene, A Cold Vein & Transparent, amongst many others. Although most projects Aaron has worked on lean to the alt-rock genres, 2017’s Escaping Light had a synthpop indie flair. Elle Puckett from Poema & Eisley guest vocals on this SOTD.

Ballydowse – Celtic punk-now that’s a genre one doesn’t hear much of!  But, Chi-town’s Ballydowse does it well. along with other genres such as oi, folk, klezmer & aboriginal. The band rose from the ashes of one of the best hard punk bands ever Crashdog & released 2 LPS produced by Steve Albini. Their lyrics dealt with many social issues that were taboo in the “Christian” music industry. They used many instruments besides the normal guitar, bass, drums including the mandolin, didgeridoo, moorhen, bodhran, whirligig, concertina, fiddle, bagpipes & bullroarer. Try to pronounce all those names & know what they even look like is most definitely a task & this comes from a guy who was attached to an army band back in the day. The most closely related Christian band would be imho The Psalters. Check this SOTD out. & the rest of the Grrr records catalog while you’re at it.

L.S.U. has been around since the mid 80’s & have had several monikers including Lifesavers, Lifesavers Underground & L.S. Underground. They have also attacked several genres including, alternative, new wave, indie rock, surf rock & a tad being goth tinged with Michael Knott being the mainstay. Freedom is the first I heard from them from 1994’s Grace Shaker & the lyrics portray an homage to the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus. Hopefully you will like this song as much as I have over the years.

Then It Ends – Rising from the ashes of 2 other bands (one of which A Past Unknown has been played on a few Christian radio shows, including Ohio’s RadioU), Iowa’s Then It Ends is a metalcore band that has some great melodic stuff. Besides their most awesome energetic Kingdom which has profound lyrics (Someone else already beat me to a quasi review on July 3, 2014!), their rendition of Bethel’s It Is Well is worship music with a metalcore twist. Be prepared to raise your hands in worship to our Saviour Jesus with this one.

Fit For A King – Bam-this is hands down one of my fave songs of all time from a band that hails from the same town as another great (softer) band Eisley. This ballad just has some type of energy with its musical prowess & soaring vocals & provocative lyrics that makes me contemplate my life & relationship with YHWH. FFAK also still keeps releasing more music it seems like very year & vocalist Ryan has recently joined forces with Chris Wiseman from Currents on the metalcore project Our Eternity (see my review on that January 27, 2021). Check out the lyrics below.

Laing – Now here is a rarety from a Texan industrial rock artist known as Laing. His given name is Trevor (Laing) & his music falls somewhere in between Circle Of Dust & Mortal or even Skillet’s Hey You, I Love Your Soul release. He released 2 LPs 2001’s Groove & 2005’s Ashes. If you like this SOTD, check out my other fave from him the similar The Finish Line.

David Meece is a classic singer/songwriter hands down. Known primarily for his piano skills & his many Christian contemporary radio hits, he was also a subtle rocker. I think I remember seeing him on Trinity Broadcast Network’s Fire By Night hosted by Blaine Bartel back in the day.  Today’s SOTD is a bittersweet story of his life growing up & how Jesus was there all along. I think we all can understand that still small voice of Jesus calling for us while we were yet sinners.

Trust Divided – This band reminds me so much of mainstream’s 5 Finger Death Punch. Hailing from Kentucky, the band incorporates melodic hard rock from a Christian perspective. The band formed in 2009 with 2 members meeting due to the military bringing them to the same area. Being prior military for close to 8 years, this resonated with this reviewer. They have toured with mainstream & Christian bands alike & have great songs such as From The Inside Out (Not the worship song cover) & Still Standing. Check out my fave from them.

White Collar Sideshow – This Arkansas macabre husband/wife team has finally crossovered to mainstream with their catchy song Bring Out The Dead. Their musical talents seem to have many influences as heard in their many great songs including Try The Swine & Black Heart Hearse (alt-rock) & I Didn’t Come Here To Die (alt-country). This band is on my bucket list (to see live In person that is!). They seem to have high energy shows & wear various masks through them & their music videos. Check out the SOTD (which is in homage to my fascination of arachnids) & also a live quarantined concert below! Also, check out TD Benton’s various freestyle drumming skill videos.

Kiros (Greek for a moment of divine time) was a Canadian punk influenced modern rock band that had an 11 year career ending in 2013.  It also appears a review was made on their release prior to today’s SOTD on this very website! Today’s SOTD is extremely catchy so check out these lyrics & hilarious video!

Veio is a crossover Oregon band that has a progressive metal sound akin to Tool & Deftones & being a fan of Maynard’s voice, I was happy when I found about this band on another Christian online radio site. Their mainstream song was Flare of Defiance & they have toured with other crossover bands Red & Starset . They formed in 2010 through Craigslist when the 2 originating brothers decided to start a band with their name being inspired by a Da Vinci sketch. Today’s SOTD is in prep for the new album that they are starting to write, but also, check out their cool cover of Filter’s Hey Man, Nice Shot. There are also some lyrics easily Google searched for this song, but they are incorrect.

Harvest – Pulling from the way back archives, Harvest was an original ministry oriented band from Texas. Comprised of Jerry Williams & Ed Kerr & Paul Wilbur when I first heard of them, their releases appealed to Christian radio big time. Mostly an 80’s band, their discography entailed many early Christian radio hits ranging from the worshipful All That I Am to the rocker We’re Gonna Take Hell.  I always dug Jerry’s voice & his charismatic way of leading the audience to see Jesus. A Few years I did communicate w/ Ed on social media. This title track SOTD was selected due to its big sound & guitar solo & lyrics that reference 2 Samuel 22:29-51. The 2nd video appears to be a muddy live video. Also, check out harvest777.com for their bios & discography.

Plankeye – There are so many songs I could have chosen from this Californian band that are top notch such as Struck By The Chord, Step Away, The Meaning Of It All, etc… I remember being at Central Bible College) in Springfield, MO during a college days back circa 1995 when I first heard the Spill album. I was amazed point blank. I dug their raw sound especially Open House & Free Me. The band split into 2 different bands by the time this song was released. So why did I choose this one? Because, there are so many times in life that the grass seems greener on the other side & life seems hard & I get overwhelmed just like most. We have this hope in Heaven & for that we cannot complain as Christians. We are sinners save by His grace.

Jonah33 – Today’s SOTD from Arkansas’ rock band Jonah33 was a single released during a 2004 campaign called Redeem The Vote that in essence was shooting to let Christian voices be heard during voter registration aimed for youths. This has always been my fave song due to the lyrics which remind me of 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Willet – Another holy themed SOTD that belongs in my top 20 worship releases! Formerly known as Clearview, this hard rock band had some great songs such as Disaster, Wineskin & We’re Not Keeping This Quiet. Also check out the video for Searchlight which features American Sign Language. Hailing from Maryland, the 3 Willet brothers have since disbanded circa 2019. Members are still in the industry leading worship & filing & editing music videos. Check out these worshipful lyrics & the live video.

Daniel Band – Canadian’s hard rock Daniel Band found its way to my collection via a local pawn shop in my hometown in Illinois back in the early 90s I would guesstimate. My mother used to buy these old totally illegal rips of bands on cassette tape. It seems so weird now that these arena rock bands we thought of as heavy metal back then! My fave bands back then was Petra, Harvest & White Heart & Whitecross & so this band made sense. Between the lyrics & the rocking music, this song has a special place in my top songs ever. Check out these poignant lyrics as they mean a lot to me.

Addison Road is a pop/rock Texan band that had a 10 year span of releases. I was drawn to their singer’s (Jenny Chisholm) vocals that stood out among many female fronted bands. The rockier flair is not present though on today’s SOTD which is the last track to their 2008 S/T release. This is in my top 20 worship songs of all time. Check out these worshipful lyrics.

Trouble – Doom Metallers Trouble’s debut Psalm 9 release has been out for 30+ years. Imagine that!  Signed by Metal Blade Records, the 1984 album is commonly known as one of, if not the first doom metal releases. They were given the “white metal” moniker because of the obvious Biblical references.  I had a friend who passed recently who hung out with the band back in the day & it was nice to actually meet someone who listened to my “Christian music.” Guitarist Bruce Franklin would go on & join Supershine w/ Dug from King’s X & also release an outstanding industrial album generation-Brutal Reality. Check out some great reviews of their releases on Scott Waters’ Nolifetilmetal site. Here is my fave from them live.

Everdown is one of those bands that I heard back in the 90s that quickly rose to the top of my bands that never got old. Their sounds closest mainstream counterpart would be Helmet. The vocalist did not growl or give any guttural sounds & in essence the lyrics are easily understood. Forming in 1992, 1995’s Sicken’s grunge/sludge sound housed personal faves such as Sufferman, Crush & Nation while 1996’s Straining sounded much cleaner w/ greats Unleaded, Flown, One Knuckle Shy, & Seasons In Doubt. This is in the days before Solid State Records when punk, hardcore & alternative bands where thrown in under the Tooth & Nail Records label. Times were great! The band released another song called Easy & called it quits, until 2009 when they released a 2-song single. There is another one that was unreleased per their guitarist John Helmig. Today’s SOTD comes from their 2nd LP.

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