In 2004, Flicker Records released the tremendously successful album Where Do We Go From Here which took Pillar to the very top of Christian rock radio. The record was stylistically a derivative, hooky, hard hitting form of rock occasionally straying into pop or metal. The talent of Pillar's four musicians makes them worthy of the massive success they have experienced. But it is the fact that they rarely bring anything fresh to the genre that they've conquered which has hindered their past efforts from truly surpassing their Christian rock counterparts. However, Pillar has shown big steps of maturity between each of their past releases. The introduction of a larger dose of originality in their latest project will undoubtedly make it another strong step forward in Pillar's musical evolution. With expectations mounted, they release their fourth installment The Reckoning.
This one is indisputably Pillar's most diverse album to date. "Crossfire" and the title track take them into an even more aggressive metal sound that they pull off quite well. "Elysian" is a very enjoyable guitar driven instrumental track, and "Last Goodbye" takes Pillar to new places with its 5/4 time signature verse and slow melodic chorus. "Angel In Disguise" and "Wherever The Wind Blows" are two very simple pop songs. They lack creativity but do provide a respite from the other hard hitting songs, at the same time adding variation to the disc. Familiarity abounds as well with songs like "Awake" and "When Tomorrow Comes," which sound like they could fit right in on WDWGFH. The first single, "Everything," will make old and new fans smile and bob their heads with its hot drum and bass rhythm matched by great vocals.
I've always greatly appreciated Pillar's very bold and Christ-centered lyrics in contrast with the unhelpful ambiguousness offered by so many other Christian songwriters. The song "The Reckoning" speaks of every person's guilt and desire to blame rather than accept their imperfection. Many try to achieve heaven by perfection, but they will be judged guilty by God. It then explains that if we truly were perfect, then Jesus shed his blood for no reason. "Tragedy" conveys the frustration of losing a spiritual battle against your own desire. "When Tomorrow Comes" points out the importance of letting go of the grudges from your past that hold you back and "Wherever The Wind Blows" expresses a strong desire be in heaven with Jesus.
It's hard to say where this record will take Pillar. They seem too poppy to please the fans of their recent tourmates The Chariot, or The Showdown, and they are certainly too overall vivacious for the crowd that will only enjoy the gentle moments of the new album. Those who enjoy a variety of styles, however, will be refreshed by the disparity presented by The Reckoning. They have blended instances of unoriginality with other moments of complexity, creativity, and also simplicity.
In summary, Pillar remained near the style they presented on WDWGFH but also wasn't afraid to expand on their creativity and diversity a bit more than before. Any fan of Pillar and anyone who enjoys Christian rock will be drawn in by The Reckoning.- Review date: 9/25/06, written by Tim Harro
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