Staple made quite an impression on the Christian hard rock scene last year with their self-titled release on Flicker Records. With a ferocity and sense of angst that appealed to fans of Project 86, Blindside, as well as mainstream acts like System Of A Down, Staple quickly earned a devoted following.
The band's sophomore release Of Truth And Reconciliation is a more melodic and raw outing for the rock quartet. "Do Or Die" gets things started with unbridled energy aided by Keim's wild vocal delivery. The songs possess more of a structure that was missing from the first record, but doesn't always mesh with Keim's approach. But it's the unpredictability of Staple's music that is indeed its charm. "Honor And Integrity" throws random harmonies into the mix, most notably near the song's end, that sound great in context. However, it'd be interesting to see such harmonizing explored further. "Gavels From Gun Barrels" serves as a sort of tragic metal anthem about a man who receives Christ later in his life and is still given grace from our Lord to enter Heaven.
"Black, Blue And Gold" is probably the highlight of Of Truth And Reconciliation. Inspired by how malicious kids can can be to their peers, the song is a delightfully dreary rock ballad that really showcases Keim's vocal talents and melodic range. "The Best Of Times" is another highlight, a passionate lament about the struggle of having to let go of things we hold dear. The biggest musical stretch for Staple, however, is the hidden track "The Corners I'll Stand On," a bluesy hard rock attack on the dating culture's casual view on sex outside of marriage.
Staple crafts a worthy follow-up to their strong debut with Of Truth And Reconciliation. The album marks a distinct growth in songwriting with more stylistic exploration. While some songs still come off a little rough around the edges, there's no getting around the fact that Of Truth And Reconciliation is still just a great rock record. Fans of their debut should indeed pick it up, while fans of Project 86, Blindside, and hard music in general may also want to take a look.- Review date: 8/27/05, written by John DiBiase
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