When one thinks of Christian rock stalwarts, a few bands come to mind, each for their own reasons. Petra for their longevity, Disciple for the consistent strength of each subsequent album, and Skillet for their breaking the barrier that is the secular/sacred dichotomy. The Nashville, Tennessee band Red has found itself consistently falling in each category over their twenty-one year, seven studio album career. Three years removed from their first independent release, 2020's heavy Declaration, Red looks to continue the consistent output with their eighth album, Rated R.
Typically, my initial interaction with a release is to consider the packaging and title of said album, admittedly my first thought upon hearing the title was to wonder out loud...
Blanca's remarkable 22-track album, The Heartbreak and the Healing (Deluxe), takes us on a deeply soul-stirring musical voyage. It's a journey that not only showcases her extraordinary talent, but also lays bare her willingness to embrace vulnerability and delve into her profound relationship with God amidst life's tumultuous seas. This expanded album, with an additional 10 tracks from last year's previously released The Heartbreak and The Healing, serves as a testament to the enduring notion that, regardless of the trials we endure, God's steadfast presence offers solace and renewal. From the very outset, with the opening track "Start Over," Blanca's courage to bare her soul through her music becomes strikingly evident...
It's rare and refreshing to see a band as consistent as Pennsylvania's hardcore outfit, War of Ages. Since 2003, they've been writing in-your-face metal, with even more upfront lyrics. What's even more impressive is seeing them subtly grow in every facet throughout the years, whether it be in technical aptitude, or lyrical depth. When JFH recently honored the 25th anniversary of Facedown Records, (which you can read here), War of Ages was the name consistently mentioned by all participants. And for good reason, as they are almost certainly the most notable band in the record label's history. That's high praise for a rather nuts and bolts band. But there's a lot to be said for consistency, especially in the constantly turning over world of music. With War of Ages, you know what you're gonna get, and there's a certain comfort to that, especially when the products keep coming in better than the last. Though they never disappoint, the last few albums, Void, and most recently, 2019's Rhema EP, have shown the band ever increasing in songwriting depth. Enter Dominon, a concept album based on the book of Revelation, which acts as a perfect pallet for the label juggernaut to prove they're still atop the field...
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