As one who hadn't listened to much of Sanctus Real's music as of about six months ago, the Pieces of Our Past anthology was certainly a favorable option for me after finally listening to (and absolutely loving) some of their recent hits, like "Forgiven" and "The Redeemer." The price was right at $20 for three albums, and I wasn't disappointed in the slightest by these three fantastic recordings. Each one is great in its own distinct way, and listening to the three records clearly shows the band's growth over the years from album to album.
Sanctus' 2004 release, Fight the Tide, is the first to be featured on this anthology, showing the band at their heavy rocking finest. Though the other two albums on this record are musically stronger and more diverse, Fight the Tide is probably the most fun to listen to. "Everything About You" and "Closer" are fantastic, worshipful rockers, "The Fight Song" and "Things Like You (Everyone's Everything)" make great points about how we should live as believers, "Deeds" cleverly covers the concept of salvation by faith, and just about every song on the album is just plain fun to listen to. Fight the Tide serves as a strong and entertaining, though not especially diverse, start to the anthology.
The Face of Love is next, showing some remarkable musical growth and lyrical transparency from the band. Album opener "I'm Not Alright" might still be the band's best song with its incredibly honest lyrics and tight musical execution. A higher level of musical diversity characterizes the record with quieter gems, like the moving closer "Benjamin" and the title track, finding a home alongside more rockers, like "Possibilities" and "We're Trying." Overall, The Face of Love is rock solid and a great indicator of the band's growth.
Finally, the excellent We Need Each Other closes out the collection with some of the strongest songs of the lot. Matt Hammitt shows his vocal versatility more than ever before with his well-executed pseudo-screams in the infectious rocker "Turn On the Lights," contrasted by the softer, more touching moments of songs like "Whatever You're Doing (Something Heavenly)" and "Lay Down My Guns." Furthermore, "Sing" is a wonderful worship tune, the title track is catchy and makes a great point about how we do indeed need each other, and "Legacy" ends the album well with a strong sense of determination to show Christ to the world.
Longtime Sanctus Real fans probably have no reason to purchase Pieces of Our Past, seeing as it doesn't offer any bonus tracks that weren't previously available in some form (even the included alternate version of "Everything About You" is on the regular iTunes release of Fight the Tide). However, if you are unfamiliar with Sanctus Real's work before their most recent release and all the attention they've garnered from songs like "Lead Me" and "Forgiven," then you really should invest in this wonderful anthology. You get three fantastic albums for just $20 when they are most certainly worth full price, and for that reason this release is more than welcome in the end.JFH Reader Review: Review date: 10/23/11, written by Joe Zamolo for Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Sparrow Records
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