In 2000, Pillar was accepted into the Christian hard rock scene with very open arms. With their Spirit-filled, watered-down hardcore, they set out to reach an audience that had been waiting for a rapcore-influenced hard rock band like this. In 2002, Pillar kicks up the style a notch, rocking a little harder with their sophomore effort Fireproof.
The title track opens the record with an echoing guitar riff and a familiar voice, but it's already noticeable that the guitars rip a little harder and the beats pulse with a little more power. Has Pillar arrived? How much have they changed, though? Well, from the bold lyrics inspired by the famous Daniel 3 story, the boys make it clear where they stand. However, their vocal, lyrical, and musical approach has greatly matured from their first offering. Is it original? Well, I don't know if I can go that far...
OK, to get an idea of the album's sound, it's safe to say there's a heavy P.O.D. influence, with a mix of Linkin Park and (frightfully) a little Limp Bizkit. While it might seem sacrilegious to compare the Pillar boys to something as wretched as Fred Durst's Limp Bizkit tripe, Pillar's vocalist Rob Beckley does occasionally stray into a style slightly reminiscent of Durst.
"Just to Get By" serves as a chance for Pillar to kick the aggression up with Beckley including a frustrated scream to add to the changes. "Echelon" smells heavily of Linkin Park with Pillar flavor, while "Stay Up" serves as a bouncing album highlight. KJ-52 offers his hip-hop talents to aid Beckley's raps and liven up the mood. While the guitars could be a little crunchier, Pillar has something infectious going on here that makes this track stand out from the rest. "Behind Closed Doors" is another highlight, offering a similar feel in its opening as P.O.D.'s "Boom," while continuing on mixing harmonies and a driving guitar riff.
"Hindsight" serves as the perfect example of Beckley's vocals sounding hauntingly similar to Limp Bizkit before resting up on the chorus. "Light At My Feet" opens along the lines of Project 86 before offering more of a melodic approach. "Ashamed" offers an almost Disturbed-ish intro before quickly returning to more of a signature Pillar sound. The honest chorus boldly proclaims, "It's a shame to be ashamed/ to be ashamed of the One that we should Glorify." "Indivisible" uses some heavily Limp Bizkit influenced vocals to remind us that the slogan America claims, 'In God We Trust,' is more than just an over-used cliche in today's Godless society.
Maybe not innovative or anything all too original or new, Fireproof is still a leap in the right direction for this young group. For fans of Pillar's debut or secular acts Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit, Fireproof is certainly worth checking out on when it hits streets May 21st.- Review date: 5/13/02, written by John DiBiase
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