May 2001 introduced us to the power hitting moody sounds of The Benjamin Gate. Straight from South Africa, the quintet quickly became known for their more unique sound and presence. Their debut album ["untitled"] became a favorite of the year's new artists and the CCM scene welcomed the group with open arms. In just a little more than a year since their debut release, The Benjamin Gate offers a second helping of Gate goodness with Contact.
At first listen it's clear the band is already headed in a slightly different direction. Not exactly the leap that Skillet made from their self-titled grunge record to the electronic rock of Hey You - I Love Your Soul, Contact introduces a less aggressive approach than their debut. This is evident in more radio friendly pop opener "Lift Me Up." "Need" and "Do What You Say" are two tight rock songs reflecting similar sounds to previous Gate recordings, and serving as significant album highlights. The addictive twist known as "Overkill" uses an infectious bass beat to break open the track forming another highlight as lead vocalist Adrienne's soft vocals glide through the song's opening. The relevant and all too easy to relate to message of worrying too much will hit home with the listener making "Overkill" all that much easier to listen to.
"The Way You Are" is a good praise song that has thankfully been updated from its six minute plus long length to a more listening friendly, less repetitive pop rock song. Unfortunately, not all the songs made a smooth transition from the prerelease to the final and regretfully "The Calling" is Contact's greatest casualty. It's original guitar-driven intro has been replaced by a watered down radio friendly opener. However, in an attempt for redemption, the original version has been tacked onto the end of the record tucked away behind "Fall Away."
The Benjamin Gate release an even stronger album with Contact than their impressive debut. Although not perfect, Contact is one of the best modern rock albums of 2002. Don't miss this one on July 2nd.- Review date: 6/12/02 (updated 6/25/02), written by John DiBiase of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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