Music Review: WISDOM CALL – Wisdom Call

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wisdom call - wisdom call
WISDOM CALL
Wisdom Call
CLC Music
2001

One of the many (it seems) bands of Christian Liljegren, normally of power metal band Narnia. Musically, Wisdom Call is tight and well-produced power metal, with some electronic elements peppered lightly throughout the disc. “Never Satisfied” is one of those ripping metal songs that, for some odd reason, goes kinda soft in the middle. But only for a few seconds. The guy’s vocals are as clean and powerful as ever, with some rather high-pitched background vocals sprinkled about, like on the song “One Way Out”. Lyrically, Wisdom Call is straight-on Christian lyrics, so this is one of those discs who want some serious heavy metal with some serious Christ-centric lyrics. For people who like their metal heavy, tight and melodic…

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Music Review: WISH FOR EDEN – Pet The Fish

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wish for eden - pet the fish
WISH FOR EDEN
Pet The Fish
Tooth & Nail
1993

Wish For Eden’s Pet The Fish was the first release the fledgling Seattle label Tooth & Nail released in 1993. a fairly solid release, but I admit I have a bit of trouble trying to label the sound (or was that the point?). Too heavy to be considered alternative, not chaotic enough to be considered hardcore, and not whiny enough to be considered emo. Whatever you call it, the CD’s full of basic three-chord guitar power riffing and plodding rhythms, with virtually nothing in the way of soloing. The same formula is used on almost every song, so much so that after the second or third track I started getting bored with the sheer repetition of the music. Lyrically, Wish For Eden does a little soul searching, a more reflective approach on songs like “Questions”, “Don’t Know”, “Fly” and “Blood”. In the end, I’ll refer to Wish For Eden as hardcore-lite. You get all the intensity with only half of the headache (and none of the talent). With the afore-mentioned repetition of the music on Pet The Fish, I only listen to this but once in a great while…

Music Review: WITH BLOOD COMES CLEANSING – Horror

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with blood comes cleansing - horror
WITH BLOOD COMES CLEANSING
Horror
Victory Records
2007

Metalcore seems to have come a long way since I was introduced to the style back in the mid-90s by certain friends who shall remain nameless. Far from sounding like an attempt by confused hardcore kids to play metal, the style has grown over the years, getting tighter and really embracing the “metal” side of things. There’s a lot of really great death and thrash metal built upon the core foundation of many modern bands that appeal to me greatly. Some say metalcore is a dead style; I say, like other metal genres, it just mutates after a time.

In any case, With Blood Comes Cleansing’s release Horror makes the case that metalcore isn’t dead, and is in fact mutating into something powerful and brutal. Grinding death metal riffs, pummeling rhythms, vocals that growl and shriek — none of that clean emo vox here — make for a fairly brutal, if not brief, slab of listening pleasure. I did, however find most of the songs blending together at times, which tended to lose focus for me. Overall, Horror is a decent listen, but nothing very revolutionary.

I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and it Gave Me Herpes

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broken-heartFor those of you too young to remember, back in 1997, there was something call a “courting movement” in the Evangelical Christian world. This was kicked off, more or less, by the release of a book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye, by one Joshua Harris. The gist of the book was that dating is bad because it can lead to premarital shenanigans, so as Christians we need to practice something called “courting”, which is totally not dating, but promotes wholesome relationships that will maybe one day lead to marriage. But, it’s not dating. Never could figure out the big difference, there. But, this lead to oodles and oodles of youth group kids suddenly jumping on the courting bandwagon, swearing that doing this would keep them from ultimately getting their hearts broken in the process.

I’m not writing this to give my thoughts on the whole Courting Vs. Dating debate. What I am going to attempt to explain is that, no matter how noble and pure your relationship is with whoever you’re dating/courting/giving your heart out to, you run the risk of having your heart broken.

You don’t have to have sex with someone to form a very strong bond. You don’t have to engage in physical pleasures to connect so closely to another person that, when the relationship ends, it can shatter the heart so badly that it feels like a significant part of yourself has been torn away, and you feel like Anakin Skywalker lying by the lava, his limbs sliced off and most of his skin burned away from the spontaneous combustion for being so close to molten lava.

I know this all too personally. I was engaged to the woman I was certain was to be my wife. During the time we were first dating, then engaged, we never engaged in anything more than a couple of smooches and hugging each other hello, goodbye, and just to say “I love you”. We were always fully clothed around each other, and I even went so far as putting a 9pm cut-off time of our nights together, just so there wasn’t any temptation presented. Mind you, I had a bit of an hour’s drive, otherwise I would have settled with 10pm, but that’s besides the point. There was no misbehavin’. We held hands, we put our arms around each other while watching movies or at church. That was the extent of our physical engagement. But, because we both prayed together, worshiped together, talked openly and honestly with each other, there was a bond that formed there on both the spiritual and mental levels that was solid and strong; and when it ended, my heart was shattered into a million pieces because of this. My motives were pure, we did everything right–you might say, “by the Book”–and yet I was still not spared the pain that I’m still recovering from a year after the fact.

Look, I’m not trying to say that you should give up trying to have integrity and have sex before it’s time; neither am I telling you that you should give up on any relationships that lead to something more than friendship. What I’m trying to put forth here, is that whether you’ve kissed dating goodbye, or have given dating a chance, understand that there is no perfect formula to emerge out of any outcome unscathed. The idea of the chance of your heart being broken is a scary one to face, I know. At this moment, I can’t really see myself in any kind of relationship beyond coffee time. But, rather than trying to find a way to keep your heart from being broken, sometimes I wonder if getting your heart broken isn’t a good thing. Sometimes you have to burn the forest to make it grow stronger.

Mind you, again I’m not advocating premarital sex; I’m all about the abstinence, and waiting for the wedding night to pretend to know what you’re doing. But, you don’t have to be sexually active to be vulnerable with someone.

All it takes, really, is to choose to love someone. No matter the outcome.

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Music Review: VAAKEVANDRING – Demo

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vaakevandring - demo
VAAKEVANDRING
Demo
Independent
1998

I tell you, sometimes a burger satisfies more than the full meal deal. In the same way, this three-song demo by Norwegian unblack metal act Vaakevandring is much more potent than, say, a full-length.

The sound, to go a bit further than just saying “unblack metal”, melds some very ethereal Viking metal, or forest metal- some would say doom metal- sounds like that of later Benzum records. The vocals, along with the general black metal shriek, utilizes a clear, opera-esq baritone voice in the mix. There are keyboards thrown in, along with some keyboard-generated instruments (such as the flute on “Fader Vaar”).

Those who complain that they don’t know what they’re saying in the music, well, you may actually have a valid argument here, as two of the three songs are sung in their native Norwegian. “Some Day” is the only one in English, and probably the best song on the disc. Not because it’s in English, mind you. The orchestration, piano and overall feel lend beautifully to the song’s topic of losing sight of Christ and asking for a second chance. “Og Sorgon Stilnet I Smertens Vann” (sure, easy for them to say) made me feel that there should be movie credits rolling to the song.

I wonder if the word “robust” comes into play here. Ah, well. Very good buy for the discerning black metal fan. . .

25 Signs You Listened To Christian Music Growing Up

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From the Blimey Cow You Tube channel (if you haven’t checked them out, you really should):

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Music Review: VATTEN – Plain Water

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vatten - plain water
VATTEN
Plain Water
Gutta Records
1981

Little-known Swedish band from the late 70s and early 80s. Vatten (which means “water”, natch) played a style of jazz-rock fusion that smacks of classic Steely Dan, with some rather interesting guitar solo jams. Basic but infectious sound…

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