I have always wanted to review music. Well, maybe review is a bit too formal. More like talk about. People sit and talk about Star Wars for days on end, and I can do that about metal. In fact, all through high school and even until I moved to New Zealand, I have fond memories of gathering around a braai, putting some new music on and having a “Fact-off” with my mates. Sounds thrilling, I know. But it was a great way to spend the evening. We’d all go around and ask questions about metal trivia, punctuated with “just listen to this song” and “who wants another beer?”
None of my friends are big metal heads, and so the option to talk about it has diminished. And those that do are often asking for recommendations rather than talking about who replaced that drummer from that band on their 2016 tour and why and the fact that you can hear their distinct style… You get the idea right?
So in light of this, I am going to talk about an album or albums that are sticking with me for the month.
First up, this month we have two Christian Metal bands. Attalus – Into the Sea and Phinehas – Dark Flag.
We’ll start with Phinehas. These guys were introduced to me in a very off handed “hey, you should listen to” kind of way and at that stage, I could only find Thegodmachine album. To be honest, I didn’t like it. In fact, I still don’t really like it. Its too generic sounding and where it tries to be more, it just devolves to noise. Maybe I should give it a proper sit down and re-listen sometime? Dark Flag came out in November 2017, and appeared on my radar a few weeks before its release thanks to Solid State Records on Twitter. The hype on this album was building and some early reviews were saying how good it is. Ok, I’ll bite. I’ll give these guys another shot.
The first track I heard off this album that stood out was Break The Earth. Everything in this song speaks to me. The lyrics are powerful, the music fits so perfectly. This one song was the reason the album ended up on repeat for pretty much an entire month. In fact, Break The Earth remains in my top 10 listened to tracks every month. I mean, how awesome are these for powerful lyrics?
“If you reap what you’ve sown, so why has nothing grown?
Oh I pray for the day my words unleash the rain”
The rest of this album is amazing. They have really outdone themselves here. If you’re looking for some heavy Christian music, you will be hard pressed to find a new release that lives up to this.
Now moving onto the lighter side, but still staying heavy – Attalus. I knew nothing about this band before giving them a listen. Again, a few people I trust to give good reviews highlighted them to me on Twitter. And all I can say is wow. The album is called Into The Sea and every song makes you feel like you’re on the docks, or on an old wooden ship, or stranded on a rocky isle. I have never heard an album be so consistent in feeling and yet so diverse in sound.
The songs on this album that stand out to me are Step Out and Man, O Shipwreck. Both are really powerful lyrically. Now this may not be the heaviest band on the planet, but they have impressed me no end with this album. You can tell they really sat down and thought about what they wanted to say before even dreaming up the first note. And the most impressive thing is that this is their first studio album. I can’t believe this album slipped under my radar for so long, since it was released all the way back in 2015!
Right now I have Attalus blasting on my Sonos and loving every second of it. Grab a cup of tea, your trusty headphones and let them take you Into The Sea.
Those are my album choices for January, and I think I may have set the bar a bit high, choosing such amazing outfits. But we can only go up. Yell out to me on Twitter and let me know what you think.