Thursday, April 03, 2008

For Today - Ekklesia CD Review

It’s always fun to read the fluff that labels or promoters provide to retailers and media outlets to hype up a band and get people to buy their releases. Reading the blurb Smartpunk has up about this album, you’d think it would be this year's metalcore masterpiece. “Music is a catalyst and For Today uses their August Burns Red meets Between the Buried and Me sound to spread their message across the nation.” Those are two pretty talented heavyweight bands to compare For Today to and, as you would suspect, they are no where in the same league as either of those groups. All that For Today provide the musical world is yet another dosage of faceless, competently executed, Jesus-centric, Hot Topic approved mallcore.

How bland can this band possibly get? For Today manage to combine together the most generic elements of some of the more boring bands in the metalcore realm. There’s the open chord chugging that is blatantly lifted from It Dies Today that appears in more than a few songs, “A Higher Standard” being the main offender. Then there are the strangled screams of Mattie Montgomery, which are some of the most forced screams to be heard in quite some time. The band’s growls are passable and the occasional quasi-melodic vocals are decent, however, but that's not saying much. Almost all of the breakdowns are standard chugga-chugga messes that seem to fill in parts of songs where the band seemed to run out of ideas. The melodic guitar leads feel like they simply aped Means or Life in Your Way while the few Gothenburg moments are totally uninspired.

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of positives for Ekklesia. In fact, there are even more negatives than those pointed out above. Try reading the lyrics without pissing your pants laughing. My favorite set of lyrics comes from the song “Never Lose Sight of the Goals”. Check them out: “I lift my prayers to you father / bring us to our knees / let me hear your voice in this time of need / and take this lust away from me / Ride ‘em cowboy!” What... The... Hell?!?! Where the wickity whack did “Ride ‘em cowboy” come from? Last time I checked Jesus was a carpenter, not a cowpoke on a dude ranch. Oh wait, there’s some even better Sunday morning praise lyrics to be found on “Words of Hope”. They go a little something like this, “For if we call on God, it’s clear / he has made it simple / his eternal power and divine nature is clearly seen.” Holy freakin’ Bible thumping, Batman. It’s such a comical dissonance to hear the Sunday school lyrics being growled out by a grown man. Being spiritual and Christian is fine, but being this outright preachy is just beyond annoying.

Ok, so as I was saying, not a lot of positives to note for this band. Let’s see, what can we find… ummm... as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the band competently executes what they’re playing. That’s something, right? And I’m sure these guys get the pit ninjas picking up change like nobody’s business, but then again, what metalcore band doesn’t nowadays? The members of For Today are probably great people… unfortunately, I’m reviewing their music instead of their moral character. *Sigh* I got nothing. This is generic junk. Sorry, I couldn’t hold it back any longer. It's the truth.

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