1 Kings 17 details the prophet Elijah's experience fleeing to the wilderness where he was to be fed by ravens. Tooth And Nail's recent acquisition, Sent By Ravens derived their band name from the historic narrative noting that even sinful humans can still do the work of the Father. The band's second independent project, The Effects Of Fashion And Prayer EP, reveals well their intense alternative rock as well as their many flaws.
The first four tracks introduces the core music style of Sent by Ravens which is a raw rock with a recurring emo theme similar to that of Ivoryline with some elements of Anberlin and a tamer Emery. However, Sent By Ravens disqualifies themselves from those elite ranks because of the lack of the band's polish concerning the inconsistencies of lead singer Zach Riner's vocals or the sometimes incoherent tune. The first track, "Trailer vs. Tornado," is the leader of the rock songs with a strong chorus which is backed by entertaining electric guitars. But the vocals randomly shift from Riner's normal intensity to screaming; a factor which blankets most of the EP. The diversity on proceeding tracks on the release is low as the following songs stick to the high-energy, low-refined rock formula.
However, "I Am" breaks the EP's repetitive rhythm with an outbreak of screeching, background guitars and haunting vocals which effectively captures the listener's attention long enough before the short song comes to an end. The most interesting song is then final one, "The Best In Me," which loses any hard rock influence and is a solid guitar-driven rock song which could be compared to Daughtry. The minor piano influence and duet at the end keep the lengthy song from dragging on too long.
While Sent By Ravens won't blow away listeners with their lyrics, the song writing isn't terrible either. At times it appears that the band is trying to be an overly dramatic rock group by writing complex, ambiguous lyrics, but they clearly and humbly cry out to God so much so that portions arguably sound cliché ("The Best In Me" says "at least You see me for who I am / so fragile"). The heavier songs echo angst, but also circle back to Christ as told in "This Battle Ship Won't Budge," where the singer honestly cries out "forgive me Father for I have sinned/ without You, I'm just flesh."
The Effects Of Fashion And Prayer EP succeeds in that it showcases Sent By Raven's potential. However, their hard rock formula isn't novel, and fine-tuning is necessary before a strong album is in order. Expect Tooth And Nail to refine Sent By Ravens raw talent in time for their debut release.- Review date: 2/8/10, written by Nathaniel Schexnayder of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: None
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