Monday, November 13, 2006

In Response

So I was going to be done with the music thing for a while, but then I got these two comments in my email from anonymous people. For some reason they haven't showed up on the blog so here is what they said in response to my Killswitch Engage post.

"I am interested in a further dialogue concerning the incredible music of Killswitch engage. I feel as if I am willing to consider the merits of diverse artforms, especially those that are as of yet unfamiliar to me. After all if I am missing out on a great piece of art, it is my loss. I think i need a little bit of guidance though, as far as how to appreciate killswitch engage on a purely musical level."

I would say that on this point, it really comes down to a matter of taste. If you don't like Metal, then you'll always struggle to see it. For me from a purely musical point of view. There is some incredible guitar work, a blend of that old 80's metal solo stuff (sometimes I find it even a little reminiscent of Stryper) and then with that heavy grunge, chunky guitar of the late 90's. I think that it is something that is still fairly original and sounds beautiful. The other thing that really stands out to me is the drums. They have a great drummer who uses the double kick like it is some part of his body. And then they blend this so well together. All in all it is a great blend of different styles, crafted into great metal (in my opinion)

The other comment I got was this;
"I too am extremely curious about this band. Upon listening to them and reading their lyrics I was almost certain it was garbage. Yet you seem so certain that they are good. Please explain some more of their awesome atributes."

I wasn't really sure how to respond to this anymore than I did before. So here's my response to your comment. I was actually turned on to this band by plugged in magazine when they did an article called Metal in the Mainstream. This is what they said about Killswitch Engage...

"Not every band with positive things to say can be classified Christian, of course. One that rejects despair and fatalism goes by the ominous name Killswitch Engage. Given such a moniker, I thought this influential metalcore quintet from Westfield, Mass., would be morbidly focused on death. On the contrary, Killswitch's latest offering, The End of the Heartache, is saturated with obvious spiritual allusions.

For example, "A Bid Farewell" exhorts, "Turn from deceit, the love of self is death." Similarly, "Take This Oath" instructs listeners to let go of self-destructive ways and try for transcendence: "Let us forsake ... all the things that lead to our demise/Open your eyes, see the divine." And in a genre so short on hope, the song "Hope Is ..." offers a rallying cry to hold on: "Hope is not lost/Weep no more, we will prevail/Grieve no more, we will prevail/This is our moment/Will you stand with me?"

This album simply was not what I was expecting. A bit more research revealed that three of the five band members grew up in Christian homes—thus the Scripture-influenced themes on this album are no accident. Guitarist Joel Stroetzel said in a 2004 interview, "I myself, Adam and Howard were brought up Christian but [were] never really heavily religious or anything like that. I mean, [we] definitely don't try to be blatantly like a Christian band or spread that kind of message. But I think it's pretty obvious if you read into the lyrics that there's some of that stuff going on [and] coming from that kind of background." (if you are interested I can email you the whole article)

So I realize that plugged in is hardly the be all and end all, but it only takes a few minutes to read their reviews of music too see that they are VERY hard on everything that isn't "Christian" (Perhaps a topic for another post). As I have listened to Killswitch I would agree with the this article. It seems like their lyrics are heavily spiritual, and infused with hope. So I would have to disagree with the comment that their lyrics are garbage. But that’s just my two cents.

So While I'm on the music thing here is a very interesting article with Pete Stewart. Pete was the lead singer of Christian Grunge band Grammatrain for years while I was growing up. He also produced albums for such bands as Bleach, KJ-52, Tait. He played guitar for a while with DC Talk etc. Anyway if you were wondering what happened to this CCM powerhouse. He and former P.O.D. guitar player Marcos have a band that is called The Accident Experiment. Having looked into them a little I would have to say that they have seemingly walked away from the faith. But here is an interesting interview with Pete (Click Here) He has an interesting insiders take on the whole CCM world, here is a bit of what he says in the interview.

"I was going to ask about that, especially in light of you having spent a number of years in the Christian music scene. Has recording an album that's not steeped in Christian themes and the Christian arena produced more satisfying or honest results in your mind?
Well for me, yes. Because that's not really where I am anymore. The reason I quit doing records in that world and started producing is I felt like it wasn't really me. I had to go through a lot of soul searching and try to get to the core of what I was and what I wasn't. Because in that industry there's a tremendous amount of pressure to put off a certain image. An image of a Christian that matches the images of a Christian in people's minds who buy Christian records. That kind of pressure really messed with my head. "Am I saying this because it's what I feel or because I want someone to buy my t-shirt at the end of the night?" That's the kind of question you don't want to be constantly asking yourself if you're trying to be honest. Especially if you're afraid of the answer.
I grew up in such a hardcore, sheltered Christian environment and went right into the ccm world pretty much. I hadn't really gone through the soul searching and process of figuring out who I was that you need to if you're going to be an artist... or an individual for that matter."

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