Those good old times; my brother in law with his greasy haircut was messing around with my sister and brought me and my brother music that we were always eager to hear. I’m left with the idea that I am probably the only one amongst my brother, brother in law and me who still listens to the music we were listening to back then. It’s hard to find friends nowadays that want to tag along in going to a moshpit concert. If I am unable to find someone to come with me I usually just go alone.
This year is going to be amazing with regards to concerts: in January I saw Touché Amoré (Dutch) live in an obscure German indoor skatepark, in May I will see Underoath (Dutch) in the Melkweg (Amsterdam) again after many years, in August metalcore giants August Burns Red (Dutch) will be performing in the Melkweg and last week I booked tickets for Loud & Proud in Daaden, Germany, where amongst others Demon Hunter (Dutch) and Project 86 (Dutch) will be performing live. Nice! Today, my 10 albums from the early zero’s (2000-2005), from when I was 15-20 years old. In March I turned 32 years.
It all started with this. Deservedly, it has a 5-star review on JFH, because this is an absolute iconic album! Powerful songs that are also good when listened to live which I had the pleasure of experiencing many times. Especially the first three songs, goosebumps. From hard opener Stein’s Theme to the more ‘radio-friendly’ song (and single) One-armed Man (Play On) to the catchy Me Against Me. Favorites of mine are Sad machines and Open Hand. The usual strong lyrics, heavy bass combined with the almost nasal singing of Andrew Schwab make this album a true trip down memory lane. I remember the text of the whole album nearly flawlessly. Project 86 created many more albums from which the newest album will be released in 2017. As stated, at the end of this year I will see them again live since many years. I’m already looking forward to it!
Well, who doesn’t know the hit Alive of P.O.D.? They were also able to release Boom and Youth of the Nation on radio in the times of Korn and Linkin Park, also named the ‘now-metal’. This album also contains strong hits, I’m able to listen to the complete album easily. Only the more hip-hop and reggae oriented songs are not for me. The striking front man Sonny Sandoval could create many albums with his band, but was never able to reach the level of this masterpiece. In my opinion at least. I think the main reason for this is that on the last two albums, the lyrics were shallow and bad, even to an embarrassing level. P.O.D. was always (consciously) an outsider in the Christian music scene and unfortunately I have never seen them live. Personal favorites are Set It Off, Ghetto and closer Portrait. 4/5 stars on JFH.
Man, how happy I was when years back I got the chance to see Blindside live during (again) a German music festival where I, together with my brother, saw Project 86 and other bands live. Just like Project 86 and P.O.D., Blindside can be described as a hard rock / now-metal with sometimes an edge of screaming. For a large part, Blindside got their fame thanks to P.O.D. The striking ‘emo’ frontman Christian Lindskog surprised me with his strong guest performance in the song ‘Speak’ of Everything in Slow Motion (Dutch). I recognized his singing immediately; from clean vocals that suddently turn to ‘screams’ in a nice way. It was only until 2011 when the level of Silence (4,5/5 on JFH) was matched with ‘With Shivering Hearts We Wait’. Regarding Silence my recommendation is: opener Caught A Glimpse, Sleepwalking and the modest closer Silence.
A stranger in our midst. I passed on the chance to see them live in Germany (unfortunately). Mark Solocom is no stranger in the Christian music world. Besides the fact that the album is rated 2 out of 5 stars on JFH, this album was (together with the Collective from 2001) my introduction to rock of Stavesacre. I have enjoyed it countless of times. Nowadays, Mark draws my attention with his Never Was Podcast and this year a new album will be brought out for the first time in the past 7 years, it’s called MCMXCV. The singing of Mark is very distinct (what is that?) to the level of you will either love or hate it. My favorite songs of this album are Witch Trial, Blind Hope and The Sad Parade. Just like P.O.D., Stavesacre already had a pretty big repertoire when I started listening to them. (Collective is a ‘best of’). Besides, Mark has been the front man of the band The Crucified since 1996. He’s getting old ;-)
Two thousand and four was the year in which albums were released like it was nothing. The genre itself was popular and lead by Tooth & Nail / Solid State Records, many hard bands (metal(core), hardcore) broke through following the punkrock hype. Suddenly, the band Showdown appeared with their debut album A Chorus of Obliteration (JFH 4/5). This was something else: undisturbed metal sang with many screams, growls & grunts. Opener ‘A Monument Encased in Ash’ gives a great peek into what awaits you on this strong album. Add this to a somewhat worrying cover and you get a doubting Christian teenager. Besides all this, luckily the lyrics were great and that’s why I kept playing this album over and over. Later, The Showdown started slowing down a bit more. I like playing their songs nowadays: Hell Can’t Stop Us Now, Epic – A Chorus of Obliteration and excellent closer Laid to Rest.
The ‘biggest’ band in this list definitely is Underoath (Dutch). Besides the fact that I didn’t like their first efforts, I like to listen to this album very much. In May, I will see them live and then they will play this album ‘front-to-back’ just like the later released ‘Define the Great Line’. Yes, that will certainly be a great concert. Years back I saw them at the same venue, the Melkweg, just before drummer Aaron Gillespie quit. That show is still in my top 3. The strong aspect of They’re Only Chasing Safety (4,5/5 on JFH) is the accessibility. After all, loud guitars and yelling guys do not appeal to everyone. However, with sing-along songs such as A Boy Brushed Red Living In Black and White, Reinventing your Exit and It’s Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door, this album can’t really do anything wrong. The combination of the vocals of Spencer and Aaron works very well. Addictive!
That was it! My top 10 and introduction to the heavier stuff in the Christian Music spectrum. Since my youth I have been stuck in it. Love it!