At long last, the time has finally come. Three years after they showed the world that you don't need a big name record label to become one of Christian rock's most popular new bands, Thousand Foot Krutch returns with Phenomenon. To say this is one of the more anticipated releases of 2003 is a bold understatement. And now they've signed on Tooth & Nail Records, which gives them the production value they deserve. So, they have the hype; but is Phenomenon worth the wait?
Their previous effort Set it Off was much more rough around the edges, due mostly to subpar production; but now that TFK is partnered with Tooth & Nail, they have a much more solid sound. The hardcore edge is still very evident, but the whole disc has more of a party vibe to it. I hate to use the term, but at times it almost has a "pop" feel to it. This makes it a lot more accessible to the masses. Sure, they still rock out, just don't expect things to get too edgy (Remember "Puppet"?). They stay within set boundaries on Phenomenon it seems. And, I would most likely have a problem with this, except for the fact that their set boundaries are so well defined.
Lyrically, they talk about living God out in our daily lives and the difference He makes in our lives. Nothing particularly deep here, but the message is presented in a brighter light due to the explosive energy TFK brings to this record. The one track that they don't rock out on is perhaps the most poignant track on Phenomenon. "This Is The Call" talks about those hurting and their cry out to God. Its a beautiful piece that I wouldn't be surprised to see get airplay on CHR stations. What's interesting about the track is that it sounds disturbingly similar to "Crazy Mary" by lead vocalist Trevor McNevan and Steve Augustine's side project FM Static. Like "Crazy Mary," it's a more mellow offering about a person struggling through life. The only difference between the songs, musically is the catchy hook from "Crazy Mary" is absent as the melodies here help keep the mood on a more serious tone.
So, Phenomenon is a bit different for Thousand Foot Krutch, but was it worth the wait? In a word: Yes. This disc gets little wrong. It's only real fault would have to be its insistence on staying in the box. Sure some will say this is about as out-of-the-box as you can get, but for those of us who have followed TFK since they began, this may actually seem a bit toned down for the guys. That raw edge that made TFK that much more incredible seems to be missing, but that doesn't make this any less brilliant. Phenomenon is an absolutely incredible thirty-seven minutes of obnoxious rock. It will be awesome to see where Thousand Foot Krutch goes from here. Let's just hope it isn't a three year wait for another stellar effort.- Review date: 9/29/03, written by Josh Taylor
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