Imagine strolling into a bar for a Saturday night metal show and witnessing the band on stage proclaiming the venue to be God's house for the evening and leading the circle of scene kids in prayer, worship, and even bible study! Such was my special experience when I attended The Brewery in Raleigh, NC on the night they were featuring Facedown Records newcomers For Today. So I find it extremely fitting that the band has titled their debut album Ekklesia (an ancient Greek word for an assembly of Christians) as it represents their meaningful mission on the road. And the ministry was not the only impressive characteristic of the group. Even as front man Mattie Montgomery screamed scripture with stellar dynamic, the strings and rhythm sections flared with the metal expertise which is now translated into a magnificent track list on this studio recording.
The project opens with a nicely done instrumental number that sets off the heavy grooves which dominate its duration, but before long, the vocals come slicing through with the message of "Infantry" declaring "we'll fight back with all we have / making a difference for our God." Mark 12:30 is presented in "Agape" with the unforgettable chant, "love the Lord your God / with all your heart / all your soul / all your mind / all your strength," and "Never Lose Sight Of the Goals" serves to remind us that, "God has his own plans for us / it's not ours, it's His." The gentle instrumental wedged in the album's halfway point could have been a nice thought but its lack of development renders it as a worthless interruption of the steady flow of pit shaking riffage which soon continues to chug on through the second half of the LP and persist for over 40 minutes despite the presence of only 8 real songs.
Although not a groundbreaking release in the metal world, Ekklesia is certainly valid as a debut. For Today is a sincerely spiritual and committed band with tight skills and limitless potential. Anyone interested in a respectable new metal album to move the body and the soul should be pleased with Ekklesia.- Review date: 10/12/08, written by Tim Harro of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Facedown Records
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