Jonah33's third album, The Heart of War, is their first release since parting ways with Ardent records and being signed to Ares Records, an independent label. The album has a very aggressive tone and war-like theme which represents the spiritual war in which we are constantly living in.
The first three songs off of the album, "Bullets," "Fire At Will," and "Scream," are very rock-driven, aggressive songs that are evident of the war theme that permeates the album. "Scream," the first single off of the album, is more of an anthem for a Christian crowd demanding them to "scream at the top your lungs if you're ready to die tonight, to die tonight, for what you believe." While it might be good for a concert scene, it is difficult to listen to with its extremely harsh vocals that drown out the music. More memorable songs include "Brand New Way To Live" and "Dying To Live" which are the softer songs on the album, and even though that isn't the band's proclaimed style, it works better than their edgier stuff. "Dying To Live" is actually the closer to the album, and includes a surprising, yet enjoyable piano solo that really adds a lot of quality to the song and a nice finishing touch.
The Heart of War's lyrics are pretty straightforward and simple, speaking of love, bravery, and standing up for one's beliefs. The messages are very positive and hopeful, which is good to see aimed at a young audience.
The overall sound of the album isn't very strong, in my opinion. The music is very edgy and Vince Lichlyter's vocals are clearly not the strongpoint of this band. It seems Lichlyter is trying too hard to sound harsh and, I'm going to say it, hardcore. However, the only person who can pull off a quality, raspy singing voice is the front man of the band's former label mate Skillet- John Cooper. It seems more of the focus is on the vocals rather than the actual music, almost sounding like a demo recording, not a studio produced album. If the vocals weren't so overpowering, maybe the music could have saved the album. However, even the music seems unstable at times without a distinct flow, which can be annoying to listen to because the song seems to go in every possible direction. It is most definitely not predictable. Some songs seem repetitive of one another, as well.
Even though I did not enjoy the unstable music and overpowering vocals, loyal Jonah33 fans might still have a field day with this aggressive-rock album.- Review date: 7/13/07, written by Lindsay Wiseman
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