Remember when Wind Up Records kept signing CCM rock artists, one after another? Well another mainstream record label has done so recently (with slightly more talented Christian arists), and now has several on their roster. Victory Records claims bands like Corpus Christi, Amber Pacific and Comeback Kid, and has recently added Houston, TX, natives Before There Was Rosalyn. The boys claim to be a ministry first, and being on a label with some huge names in the scene will give them a great opportunity to minister. They do so by exploring man's sinful nature versus God's redemption on their new full-length album, and debut with Victory, The Führer: An Allegory of a History of Deception.
According to Wikipedia, an allegory is "a figurative mode of representation conveying a meaning other than the literal." In other words, it's a lesson (or a point) that is taught through symbolism. This allegory from Carlos Salazar (vocalist for Before There Was Rosalyn) is about living life, using the history of mankind to describe the tribulations and, ultimately, redemption and prize at the end. Album opener "The Architect" is about our turning our backs on God ("I know the first heart that breaks isn't mine, but Yours"). There's also the recognition that it's us that is at fault in these humble words: "How can I ask to know what forgiveness is while my hands are still tied with guilt and the filth of mistrust? My hands have built the cross." From there, "The Adversary" brings to mind that we're in the midst of a spiritual battle, and that we have the tendency to put not only Satan on the throne, but also ourselves. Eventually, Salazar gets to a place of worship in the seven-minute-long "The Prophet" ("This world means nothing without Christ at the crown, I can sing of Your love forever"), followed by the return of Christ, when He comes to take us home forever. Though the magnitude of it could not truly be expressed in words, Salazar attempts it by saying "The holy city ignites with a great noise, Heaven comes like a song that shakes the sun and the moon."
Musically, The Führer... doesn't go too far off the path of what you hear from many hardcore bands. But it's not bad or mediocre by any means. "The Architect" opens with pounding drums that change up a little bit, but remain a highlight throughout the song. You also have your classic chugga-chugga guitar riffs too, which, when used right, can make a metal song absolutely beautiful. Before There Was Rosalyn uses them just right, and no more than they should have. The guitars are also very skillfully played in "Der Männliche Führer," having somewhat of a southern metal feel at times, with some of the chugga-chugga riffs, and a nicely-played quasi-guitar-solo near the end. I'm not sure who the guys list as influences, but from what I hear, I would hazard to guess that Living Sacrifice would be among that list (some of the songs, at times, bring to mind stuff from Living Sacrifice's Conceived In Fire album), as well as Maylene and the Sons of Disaster (bits and pieces throughout The Führer...). And speaking of Maylene, listen closely to the chorus of "The Revealer" and you'll notice that it's Maylene's vocalist, Dallas Taylor, lending his trademark scream and southern drawl.
Before There Was Rosalyn got their start with Holdfast Records last year with an EP called As Far As The Moon From The Sun. Unfortunately for the band, it didn't get their name out there too well. With this jump to Victory, and a full-length album that isn't too shabby, these guys just might be able to get their music heard by a larger audience, and in doing so, spread their message of our need for Jesus. Victory Records has a lot of huge bands with mass fanbases, so I think this was a great move for them, and a pretty good album to get started with.- Review date: 12/29/09, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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