Look out everyone, here comes another hardcore band! A Hope For Home's new album The Everlasting Man is the third release on the recently-renewed Strike First Label. The five guys from Portland presume to bring a "story of mankind's fall and awaiting redemption," all in genuine hardcore/metalcore style.
Fair enough. After a brief instrumental intro, The Everlasting Man starts fairly ambitiously with "Iniquity: An Offering." Underoath influences are immediately apparent as the guitars grind, the vocalist screams, and the rhythm changes frequently. This is firmly within the established territory for current Christian hard bands, and it's a well-delivered sound. At this point in the album, anybody already acquainted with hardcore will be finding things to like about A Hope For Home.
Unfortunately, this does not last. Unexpectedly, the dynamic of the album changes. Beginning with "Babylon: The Insatiable Thirst," the pace slows down dramatically and the tracks grow excessively long. With the exception of the minute-long closing track, the remaining four songs are all at least five minutes long. These tracks all feature dreamy sections of smooth vocals interspersed with brief outbursts of screaming and stretches of simplistic instrumentals. It's not inherently a bad sound, but it drags more and more the longer you listen. In some cases, such as in "Masada: The Spiral Staircase" and "Restoration: The Return From Exile," the ethereal instrumentals become unbearably long and drawn-out.
There's no question that A Hope For Home has a lot to offer lyrically. This is nothing if not a dark album. "Iniquity: An Offering" addresses getting lost in today's culture and not living a fulfilled life for God. Noticeable lines are, "We've turned away from what we were meant to be, trading in conviction for a dollar's worth in dreams" and "Look how far we haven't come. We've been playing God." "Absolution: Of Flight and Failure" honestly looks at the desperation in trying to get back to God, as the band sings "These wings were built with purpose, but I have used them for my own. These hands were made to lift you up so high, instead they tear you down."
Unfortunately, it takes more than lyrical quality to make an album. The Everlasting Man would undoubtedly have been better as an EP with less of the six-minute-long drowsy meditations. Although initially strong, there is a great deal of unrealized potential here, and as a full length album it inevitably falls short of the mark.- Review date: 1/24/09, written by Timothy Estabrooks of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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