With the growing popularity of hardcore bands like P.O.D. and Project 86, it's no wonder that Flickerrecords.com jumped at the chance to sign the 'rising stars' Pillar. Their debut album Above shows what the band can do and lets you know where they stand in their ministry and walk with God.
Above opens with "Intro," an intriguingly haunting almost-industrial introduction to the album, before leading right into "Live for Him." The song starts with heavy guitars accompanied by a casual rap vocal standing out from the sound behind it. As the chorus nears, the vocals fade into a harmony more like that of a pop/rock band before falling into a more forceful rap in the heart of the chorus. Lead vocalist Rob Beckley's raps work but mostly when he's being more forceful. At times they seem to be too casual for the style and start feeling mildly uncomfortable, much like the brief intro to "You Should Know." When the song then sets the stage for an aggressive outting, the listener is presented with a pop chorus that seems a little out of place.
While much of Above works like this, accompanied by Spirit-filled pop lyrics, it isn't a bad thing that Pillar is like this. If P.O.D. or Project 86 were like high school kid bullies on a playground, Pillar, along with style-mates Pax 217, would probably be their younger brothers that look up to them and want to be just like their older, wiser siblings. Less angst and more love, Above fills a void for the need for 'super' Spirit-filled pop/hardcore. The album highlight is no doubt "Original Superman." Although the industry seems inundated these days with songs about Superman (Luna Halo, and secular artists Three Doors Down, as well as others), the song has the catchiest riffs and most solid arrangement. While the track drifts into a ska-like feel, it returns for a straight-up rock chorus. The only thing that would help the song along better would be more prominent guitars and more aggressive vocals.
An adequate debut but with nothing all too new and different to offer, Pillar's Above marks the entry of a new act into the Christian music scene that shows they have something to offer that we're bound to see down the road.- Review date: 10/23/00, written by John DiBiase
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