Christian rock music suffered a severe blow when Seven Day Jesus decided to call it quits in the late 90's. After an amazing debut album entitled The Hunger in 1996 and a complete one-eighty stylistically with their 1997 self-titled follow-up, it seemed way too premature for the band to go their separate ways when they did. From the ashes of Seven Day arose lead vocalist Brian McSweeney's latest venture, Matthew. Matthew was a departure from the Christian industry that soon seemed to turn into a challenge for McSweeney to distance himself as far as possible from the Christian scene. To the surprise of many, Seven Day Jesus reunited in 2004 at rock band Bleach's final live performance. At that show, the band announced a new live record that was finished but not available at the show due to a shipping error. Shortly after the show, the record was sent out to those who preordered it, with only 100 copies pressed.
So the question immediately rises, if the band broke up in the late 90's, when in the world was this recorded? And to the treat of the Seven Day enthusiasts, this question has two answers. The first six tracks of this untitled Seven Day Jesus live record were recorded in Texas in 1998. Showcasing more of the favorites from their late 1997 release, this set begins, appropriately with their song "Down With The Ship". When the song begins, you get the uneasy feeling that someone had recorded the show with a mini tape recorder hidden in their pocket from somewhere in the back of the venue. But as the music slowly becomes more audible through the screams of the crowd, and the song goes into full swing, we realize the distortion was mostly intended. From here till the end of the first set of tracks, the sound quality is mostly somewhat distant. With an echo overpowering most of the songs and vocals, it gives the recording an undeniably live feel, but sadly a poorly produced one at that. Regardless, it's a fan's dream to hear these songs once again. Following the strong "Flybye" from their debut, we learn that the first set of songs were ironically recorded while the band was opening for Bleach on tour together six years ago. The set ends powerfully with "Ashamed", one of the most memorable songs Seven Day ever put on a record. The song concludes with an extended ending that makes this a real gem for fans.
Most original Seven Day Jesus fans will stand by the fact that the band's debut record, The Hunger, was indisputably their best. So they will undoubtedly adore the latter half of the album, recorded in Florida in 1996, a time when the band first debuted many of these songs. The first song, "A Time To Heal," offers a much more clear and vibrant sound for a more up close and personal live show experience. The clean and sharp mix do these songs the justice they deserve, but they will assuredly make you wish the earlier half of the record sounded this good. After a solid selection of songs including "Strength," "Pavement," and "The Hunger," the album ends with the dark and aggressive "Forgive You." A song inspired by a tragic incident when a friend of McSweeney's had been raped, the live version of "Forgive You" opens with various sound bites from films that add a somewhat disturbing and thought-provoking introduction to the already intense song.
So while this live record from Seven Day Jesus may seem a little late, it's a wonderful stroll
down memory lane.
Although certainly not the best live record you'll find, this is one a Seven Day Jesus fan will be sorry to miss.
- Review date: 10/16/04, written by John DiBiase
Artist Info: Discography
Record Label: (independent)
Album length: 12 tracks
Street Date: September, 2004
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