A Plea For Purging returns a year after their last release with their newest effort, The Life and Death of A Plea For Purging. At first listen I was a little disappointed, that is, until "Room for the Dead" kicked in seven tracks into the album.
The dissonance in the guitar was exactly what I was waiting for. While there was a little of it early in the album, it really stepped up for this track. To top off the best music on the album came lyrics that absolutely made me smile as Andrew Atkins screams out, "There's a battle for my soul between God, the devil, and rock 'n' roll." As a musician who has been in a few bands myself, I get it. As Christians, we all fight a battle between God and the devil as each desire to be the center of our lives, but it is interesting, and worthy of consideration, to throw music into the mix, especially when it's your career. This amazing piece of music could probably carry the album to a three star rating on its own if the rest of the album was weak. Thankfully, it is not.
Going back to the beginning with a new look, the album started falling into place as a logical progression from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and is possibly the band's best work to date. It is probably their least "metal" album so far. I will explain by saying it is still metal, but the music is more diverse and softer at times, the guttural growls are gone (aside from a brief section in "Heart of a Child"), there are clean vocals throughout the entire album, and there are three completely clean, and mostly acoustic, tracks. Atkins' vocals are predominately deeper screamed vocals that are easily understood throughout most of the album.
The album may be disappointing for those who like a lot of growls and grunts, but for those who tend to stay away from metal because they like their music sans the lyric sheet, this may be right up your alley. While on the topic of lyrics: This isn't the most spiritual album you will find from the Facedown family, but it isn't devoid either. It is, however, dark and angry at times, especially in "My Song." Atkins screams, "In the winter of 2010 I lost my mother to the barrel of her loaded gun. Two weeks later my dad lost the battle of his lifelong suicidal run." and, "If there's one thing I've learned, we're all put here to die." In contrast, the acoustic, "Hands and Feet" gives some hope as Atkins sings, "There's healing in His voice and freedom in The Name."
The Life and Death Of... is most definitely another solid musical foray for one of Facedown's most notable bands. While some may feel slighted with an overall softer album, I'm intrigued and looking forward to see where they go next. It's always good to see a band progress, and A Plea For Purging is doing just that. Even if you're not a big metal fan, this one is worthy of your time.- Review date: 11/3/11, written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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