Several new artists have made their way onto the Facedown Records line-up. Call To Preserve, My Epic and Hands, just to name a few. In addition, 2009 comes with the release of another debut album from Facedown, that of thrashers The Great Commission. Their album, And Every Knee Shall Bow, is a perfect fit with the rest of the Facedown family.
The album opens with a track appropriately titled "(Declaration) of War," as it actually is a declaration, the gist of which is basically summed up in these lines: "We will be a culture that is not imprisoned by four walls of a church or any religious doctrine. But we will stand with the authority of the Kingdom, walk in the authority of the Spirit." It's backed by some guitars and drums that fit very well, given that they sound like the opening riffs you would hear from a band gearing up for their set at a live show. It flows seamlessly into the first song, "Every Knee Shall Bow," where the listener discovers that it's nothing short of standard Facedown material: great guitar riffs and flawless drums (as in "A New Hope," which also contains another shorter declaration of sorts, and "In A Time Where Hope Was Lost," which features some very skilled drumming about halfway through the song, as well as at the end of it), some gang vocals here and there, and vocal growling -- the kind that sound like the vocalist is screaming from his stomach. The one exception on the entire album is the chorus of the album closer "Dawning of a New Day," where the line "Heed these words, it's the dawning of a new day, heed these words, it's the dawning of a new age" is actually sung, with some very nice harmony. One thing that The Great Commission does feature, and something that is quite a rarity nowadays (though not totally extinct) is that there are some female screams thrown in the mix. But unlike the late Still Breathing, the female vocals are not the dominant vocals. However, neither scream is too appealing unless you're an avid underground hardcore fan.
The positives on And Every Knee Shall Bow come within the lyrics. Most hardcore usually stays away from the poetic style of lyric-writing and focuses more on just saying what they want to say and belting out the words in an aggressive manner. With The Great Commission, the lyrics stay focused on God, redemption and forgiveness, and faith. The six and a half minute-long "Let Your Kingdom Come" takes a page from the hymnals and screams, "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood." And Justin Singh makes a statement in "Iron Sharpens Iron" when he says, "To live is to die, to die is to gain, the calling of my life to bring glory to Your name." TGC isn't fooling around. They know who they live for and they do it, and aren't afraid to tell others about it.
Facedown Records has a knack for finding fresh talent in the Christian hardcore scene. While the vocals sometimes aren't very quality, the music is usually hard to compete with. Though And Every Knee Shall Bow has its share of times where the music just seems to drag on slightly, for the most part it's very well written and performed. Again, it's the vocals (all of them, not just the leads) that mainly bring this album down. Still, this wouldn't be a bad choice of album for everyone. Fans of xDEATHSTARx, For Today or Sleeping Giant will be very pleased with the outcome of And Every Knee Shall Bow. But fans of heavy music who don't usually enjoy Facedown albums might not want to venture this way.- Review date: 2/11/09, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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